Banks and credit unions know a thing or two about money. And like any enterprise, they structure their day-to-day operations to give themselves the best shot at meeting the needs of their visitors while making a profit for themselves.

While this likely doesn’t come as a surprise to you, this next tidbit might. 

Did you know that savings can be built right into the design of a new bank or credit union? 

That’s right. A financial institution's profit margin has a lot to do with its design. Here at HTG, we’re speaking from experience. We’ve worked on over 2,500 financial projects, and we’ve heard time and time again how our money-saving designs continue to pay off, year over year. 

How Does It Work? 

First, let me tell you what this article is not. It is not about sharing tried and true construction tips and reducing construction costs. Instead, it’s about how the design process can help banks and credit unions reduce operational costs and choose the right location. 

With the right amount of attention during the design phase, any bank or credit union can save (and make) more money than they’ve previously thought. 

Ready? Let’s get started with number one.

Reducing the Expense of Daily Operations

Anytime you can reduce overhead expenses without compromising operations, you’re on to something. Oftentimes, today’s banks and credit unions are operating as efficiently as they know how, but there are changes — both large and small — that can help individual branches reduce overhead. And as you know, the single most expensive part of daily operations is staff. 

Interior photo of Granite Community BankMany of today’s banks are operating with the exact number of full- and part-time employees they require, no more and no less. But what if bank design could lower that number? 

Through purposeful design, we have helped countless branches require fewer full-time employees. Sometimes, it’s as simple as designing the lobby so that tellers can complete their work more efficiently. 

Ask yourself, how much does one employee’s salary and benefits run in your area of the country? Imagine that amount going back into your bank’s budget, without having any negative effect on day-to-day operations and customer experience? 

Designing a bank that requires fewer full-time employees is a strategy that can help new and remodeled branches save significant dollars, year over year. Wouldn't it be nice to have a design, so when a teller or customer service representative retires, you do not need to replace them? 

Choosing the Right Location

It turns out, choosing the right site is extremely important for any business. Be it a retail business, fast food franchise, or something else entirely, they all have their own model of determining the ideal location. Here at HTG, we’ve created our own model of determining the best possible location for a bank or credit union. 

For over 20 years, we’ve been providing InVision, Site Selection Studies to our clients. During InVision, Site Selection Studies, we employ a 9-point mathematical model built from extensive analysis of the most (and least) successful businesses. There are near-endless variables working together to indicate whether a location is right for your branch, including household density, traffic patterns, competition, and more. Using the full model, we’ll lead the analysis and deliver our recommendations based on hard data. 

And having the right location? It can mean a difference of 30-50 million deposits over a 10 year period, and that’s huge no matter how you slice it. 

All that being said, a great bank location probably won’t be a money-saver from the start. In fact, it might be more expensive than other options due to land costs. But when you’re looking into the future, the increased expense of a plot of land can be directly linked to a branch’s success, by being in a location where people in your community go on a regular basis. 

New to InVision? Learn more about it here

Designing a Bank to Save Money

The strategies I’ve outlined above are not one-size-fits-all. They are highly customized to the financial industry, and even more, they are highly customized to each individual client. You see, every client has different goals and initiatives, and every bank or credit union operates within a particular community. As a result, our exact process looks different with every client. It’s simply because we at HTG understand the industry and its various trends that we can determine what will work best for each client. 

Discuss your project or concept. Talk to an Architect

Published on November 26, 2019

Topics: HTG Architects, Bank Design, Bank Architecture

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