Adults sitting on chairs for a business meeting

Life is becoming more digitally driven every day, and the world of personal banking is certainly no exception. With customers making fewer financial transactions at brick-and-mortar branches, many community banks are looking at how they can change with the times and repurpose their low-traffic branches.  

As the demand for in-person banking services decreases, many branches find themselves downsizing extraneous infrastructure, resulting in a significant amount of empty space. But just because your bank now has a blank space, doesn’t mean that it has to go to waste.

With the absence of traditional foot traffic, banks actually have an abundance of opportunity to find new ways of serving their local communities and converting idle areas into revenue streams. Here are HTG’s top innovative ideas for making better use of your branch’s unused space. 

Capitalize on Underperforming Space

With fewer customers entering banks to handle cash transactions, banks are beginning to function more as service and help centers for their clients. As such, the addition of a concierge station in your bank’s lobby can add a personal touch for your in-person customers, while also managing traffic flow and appointment wait times.

In this increasingly cashless world, the counter of six bank teller stations that may have been common in banks of years past has become nearly obsolete. A better way of handling customer interactions is to use movable teller pods that can be added and removed from the lobby floor as needed. 

Meeting booths can be implemented in this way as well, to enhance the privacy and personal experience of client appointments. 

You should also assess your branch’s use of parking spots and drive-thru lanes. Unused parking spots can be leased out to local commuters to offset operational costs. Drive-thru teller lanes can be converted into ATMs, or re-purposed altogether as supplemental interior space. 

Connect with Your Community

Rethinking your bank’s relationship to its community can bring about new relevance to your institution and the purpose its unused space serves. One great way of executing this is offering community workshops on various financial subjects. 

Seminars on topics like home ownership, loans, and saving for retirement can not only build community awareness for your branch and strengthen its existing relationships, but also attract more potential customers to your bank’s services.

You might also consider hosting events for local businesses. Renting out your bank’s lobby for an evening can be mutually beneficial for you and the businesses your branch hosts. While you provide local companies the space to connect with their clients, you can build relationships with the local financial heavyweights that run these institutions. 

Unused conference rooms and boardrooms in your branch can serve a similar purpose. Local nonprofits and community groups that need tech-enabled meeting spaces can rent these spaces out. While your branch cultivates community awareness for your branch, you can use the fees from your rentals to generate revenue. 

Offer Co-Working Space to Locals

Memberships to co-working spaces are becoming an increasingly prevalent element of the modern professional world. Your branch can capitalize on this by providing access to this kind of work environment. Extra offices that are going unused by your branch’s staff can be leased out to local professionals. 

Depending on your available space, your co-working memberships can extend beyond individuals to hosting small co-working groups. Unused board rooms (already equipped with presentation and conference technology) can be an ideal setting for workers in need of group co-working spaces.  

Subcontract Space for Complementary Businesses

If your bank has a larger office space that can be independently accessed, then it has the unique opportunity to build a complementary relationship with a long-term co-tenant. These tenants can help extend your branch’s reach by conducting business that steers clients to your services.

For example, the vacant second floor of your bank’s building can be converted into the dedicated office space of a local real estate firm. With a separate entrance, that company’s employees can operate on their own schedule, free to come and go even when your branch is closed. The nature of that firm’s business automatically accumulates potential customers in need of mortgages, right above your nose. Your branch can supply those homeowners with exclusively competitive rates, making for a symbiotic business relationship.


A Blank Canvas

Whatever the case, your bank’s unused space is a blank canvas that can be manipulated in infinite ways to keep your branch relevant in its market. It can serve as an opportunity for innovation and growth that connects you to your community — and generates new streams of revenue.

If your branch has unused space it doesn’t know what to do with, it’s time to let a banking architecture expert like HTG reimagine how you can begin revolutionizing your branch’s productivity. Reach out to us today and get started!

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Published on July 16, 2021

Topics: Bank Construction, Bank Design, Bank Architects

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