What does it mean to remodel a bank? To me, it’s much more than changing the colors and giving the lobby a fresh coat of paint. If a bank chooses to update its colors, flooring, carpeting, and tile, it will probably result in a better-looking branch, but may not increase the number of loans they get.

Sometimes bankers assume that remodeling their current location isn’t worth it and that the best decision is to start over from scratch with a brand new location and building. While this might be the case in some situations, more often than not, an existing branch location has everything it needs to undergo a complete branch transformation. And yes, we’re talking about a lot more than fresh paint and new wall hangings.

6 Reasons Bank Remodeling Projects Are a Smart Choice

Choosing to remodel a bank instead of starting from scratch with a new construction project can bring a series of benefits. Here’s a look at six.

1. Reallocate Misused Space

Red Wing Credit UnionI’ve encountered more than a handful of bank owners who believe they need a new construction project because their current building has run out of space. Now, no one wants to bank in a tight lobby, but most of the time banks have plenty of space to capitalize on.

Consider a bank where the teller line is on one side of the building and the drive up teller is on the opposite side. There’s a reason they’re always back-to-back in new designs. It saves space and it allows you to operate with fewer employees.

On the other hand, a bank might have lots of unused space that used to be dedicated to old technology like check processing equipment. That is space that can be reallocated during a remodel to create an improved customer experience.

If you have unused space, consider co-branding. Provide space for tenants that will bring non-customer traffic into your building. 

Co-branding at Med5 Federal Credit Union

2. Integrate New Technology

Redesigning and remodeling your financial institution also opens up the opportunity to integrate newer, better technology. Oftentimes, lobbies are designed around functionality, and a big part of that functionality is technology.

Banking technology has seen a lot of evolution over the years, and a branch with outdated technology isn’t providing the best possible customer experience. Modernizing can improve current customer relationships and attract prospective customers too.

3. Keep Your Current Location

A great bank location isn’t something you want to give up. Location has the ability to make or break a bank, and if you’re already well-positioned, picking up and moving somewhere else probably isn’t the best decision. If your location has numerous nearby businesses or proximity to retail, it’s a space you’re going to want to hold onto.

Plus, keeping your current location enables you to skip everything that goes into searching for, evaluating, and buying a new location.

4. Reduce Staffing Requirements

One of the goals of a bank remodel is to increase overall efficiency, and making a space more efficient can mean it requires fewer employees on a day-to-day basis. With a more efficient branch, when a current employee reaches retirement or moves on to a different opportunity, there isn’t going to be a need to replace them.

From an operational perspective, reducing the number of full-time employees required to run a branch can be quite a benefit. It allows you to reallocate a significant amount of resources back into the bank to help with planning, initiatives, etc.

5. Update Exterior

It’s truly amazing what can be accomplished with a thorough remodel, including the exterior of a branch. This includes things like new windows, siding, roofing, etc., but even more than that, a bank’s exterior can be remodeled to tell a story.

For example, with Granite Community Bank of Cold Spring, MN, we used local granite on their exterior in a design that gives the building a sense of permanence within the community.

During a remodeling project, any exterior components can be included, like parking lots, drive-thru spaces, a plaza with outdoor seating, and more.

6. Experience a Shorter Project Timeline

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of choosing a remodel over a new construction project is the difference in the project timeline. When you’re eliminating site selection and using the existing building as the foundation of your remodel, it’s like getting a head start.

A remodel can also streamline decision making because you’re applying the new design to an existing structure, which can act as guideposts.

Overall, it’s important to remember that remodeling a financial institution can be so much more than simply updating the aesthetics. Choosing a bank remodel vs. a new construction project can still result in a complete branch transformation.

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Published on April 16, 2019

Topics: New Construction, Bank Design, Remodel, Bank Architecture

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