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Environments
Branch Banking and the Power of Place
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by GINA BLEEDORN

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The top-four principles for maximizing the prospects and potential of the local branch network

The recent Believe in Banking articles on branch location make a compelling case for leveraging locality to future-proof any financial organization through in-person interactions. Banking on the Move: Why Branch Location Matters addresses pre- and post-COVID population trends as a golden opportunity for financial brands at the branch, and Growing Market Share through Local Branch Banking explores how data married to an optimized format strategy can help banking overcome its challenges and track toward future growth. 

To help financial institutions focus on key learnings on localization, we’ve rounded up the top-four principles for leveraging your branch.

1. Understand Population Trends 

Using the latest data on populations is one of the single-most powerful pieces of insights to drive informed decision-making. Since population growth leads to economic growth, all financial brands will want their branches to go where people are. Pre-COVID, population movement towards large urban centers began to slow. At the same time, suburbs, exurbs and second tier smaller metros were seeing renewed growth. This trend is expected to continue post-COVID, especially in and around the pandemic’s hardest hit cities like New York and Los Angeles.

2. Use Market Data

In addition to population data, bank brands should be taking a closer look at individual market data to find where they can have the most impact. Unlocking growth opportunity is highly dependent on a deep dive into market intelligence to build a branch strategy that minimizes investment and maximizes ROI. With suburbs, exurbs, and new smaller metros heating up, there is significant acquisition potential for banks. It’s critical to stay on top of market dynamics, especially those shifting in favor of cities in which community banks and credit unions have a greater chance at competing.

3. Identify Your Opportunity

Pre-COVID, banks were consistently challenged by two issues – difficultly breaking into new growth markets and consumer status quo bias. The first issue can be addressed with data and informed decision-making. However, breaking through status quo bias is a lesser-understood challenge, but not an insurmountable one. While people are inclined not to switch banking providers in general, big changes – like moving into a new market or, now, a pandemic – have the potential to reallocate consumer priorities. Identifying this window of opportunity is key to capitalizing on local growth. 

4. Rightsize Your Investment

Focusing on operationalizing your optimization by using hub-and-spoke models will help maximize impact and minimize outlay. By leveraging larger full-service hubs and populating less resource-intensive spokes, bank brands get the benefit of the Network Effect, where they maximize perceived presence with the right amount of service tailored to each local area. Using data, banks can determine how to balance service formats – from full-service hubs to smaller and more efficient spokes – to create the perception of ubiquitous presence and customized convenience.

For more information on bank branch reopening in the post-COVID landscape, download our Roadmap to Reopening. For support in providing staff members with holistic and ongoing training in the post-COVID bank branch, see our Frontline Staff Training modules. If you are a financial institution needing advice and expertise now, you can contact Adrenaline’s financial services experts at covidready@adrenalineagency.com or call (678) 412-6903. If you’d like to speak with one of our branch optimization experts, contact us at info@adrenalineagency.com.



Adrenaline is an experience design agency that creates and implements end-to-end branded experiences through creative and environmental design. We enhance our clients’ customer experiences across digital and physical channels, from their branding and advertising to design and technology in their spaces. After transforming an organization’s brand, Adrenaline extends it across all touchpoints — from employees to the market to in-store environments. And, we focus on serving industries that sell human experiences including financial, healthcare, sports, and entertainment.


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