Industry trends show national transaction counts slowly declining, due in large part to the convenience technology provides for this specific banking need. Equipped with this insight, we encourage our clients to evolve their facilities (and in turn, their service approach) from a transaction-based approach to relationship-based. There are a number of things we do in our designs to support this transition and solve for this trend of declining transactions.
Med5 Federal Credit Union's new facility in Rapid City, SD (opened May 2019) is a perfect example of a space that supports relationship-based banking, while also addressing the industry transaction decline trend. Pam Brown-Graff, President of Med5 FCU, truly understood the value of these solutions and made it possible to bring the following to life:
The Right Location
Prior to our Programming session with the Med5 team, the plan was to remodel their existing roughly 6000 square foot main office. During the session, a supervisory committee team member asked the question: is this the right solution? In this pause, as I considered a tactful way to say their current location was not good, I recommended HTG provide a site selection study to find the best site available for a financial institution.
In the end, they decided to relocate and build a new 15,000 square foot facility to be part of the new retail activity in Rapid City. The traffic count went from a few hundred vehicles per day to 10,000 driving past their new building. Great brand awareness!
For financial institutions, space sharing is a strategic solution to increase non-member foot traffic into your building. With transaction counts declining, the need for consumers to frequently visit their credit union or bank is also diminishing. Co-branding with a frequently visited establishment gives both members and non-members a reason to visit you more often - and when they do, it creates increased brand and product awareness opportunities. Med5 fully believed in this strategy; they co-branded with a law firm and a coffee shop, The Bean Counter.
The Bean Counter, perfectly named by Med5 President Pam Brown-Graff, has a really interesting evolution. It was a challenge for Med5 to get NCUA regulatory approval; but Pam prevailed! Med5 wasn't able to find a partnership with a local coffee shop (which is typical in our experience). Instead, Med5 chose to set up their own not-for-profit coffee shop, with profits donated to local charities. Pam Brown-Graff was quoted in CU Insight saying:
We have a board of directors for The Bean Counter, and they determine where the profits will be donated based on needs [...]. Our members are loving the new, modern concept and are thrilled with The Bean Counter and its charitable concept. Who wouldn’t like to have an amazing cup of coffee while making a deposit or getting a loan? [...] We will be making our first official charitable donation in August. [...] Be bold and think outside the box, that’s the new MED5.
Lastly, Med5 incorporated a community conference room that community members can reserve, free of charge; this is another form of co-branding. This is another great opportunity to provide spaces in your building to draw the community into their credit union, for non-banking needs. If/When one of those visitors is in need of banking products or services, who do you think will be top of mind as they begin their search? We believe it will be Med5.
Concierge Stations (Transaction Counters)
In most projects we do today we design custom concierge stations, which are transaction counters, as a welcoming, low-pressure area for members to be greeted and served.
At Med5's concierge stations, customer service representatives (often called universal associates) can meet and greet members in the lobby or coffee shop without a counter in the way, then guide them to a location that can best serve their needs. If the member is looking to process a transaction or make a deposit, the MSR can handle it at the concierge station. For new accounts, member services, and more, the MSR can bring the member to a nearby private office where they can securely discuss personal information.