Branch Showcase: The Hill, Lego Chopper, BofA’s Next-Gen Design

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Here’s a collection of nine interesting and noteworthy branch design projects from banks and credit unions around the world — over 50 photos total!

Listerhill Credit Union – Student Branch

Listerhill Credit Union announced a partnership in July 2010 with the University of North Alabama to establish the Center for Financial Literacy on the University’s campus. Listerhill’s Center for Financial Literacy and The Hill, a student-run credit union featuring an account with the same name, will be housed upon the building’s completion in November 2013. Listerhill also currently has a student-run branch inside the Guillot University Center. This student branch, designed by Derse, is one of the nicest anywhere in the U.S. Brand design by Currency Marketing.

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Westpac – Flagship Concept Branch

Entering Westpac’s new flagship store is more café than branch. Flooring resembles a wharf, and meeting rooms are named after waterside suburbs. The architects at Context were engaged to design a “big picture blue sky” concept branch for Westpac’s Auckland flagship site (in New Zealand). The concept was that the bank’s interior would act as a “market place” rather than the more office-like environment found in most banks. The sprawling 6,000 square foot space includes a “coffee caravan,” deck chairs, a “business shop window” and a variety of different spaces in which staff and customers can work separately or together. The coolest feature is the Lego replica of the Westpac-branded helicopter. There’s a great, in-depth write-up with more details about the space here.

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Clearstar Financial – Modern Update

Unversed in the financial retail revolution, Clearstar’s branches were neutral, unbranded spaces that failed to capitalize on selling opportunities. Brand design firm Adrenaline changed all that with a bright, contemporary graphics, kiosks and merchandising displays that extended to floor-to-ceiling. Clearstar was closed by regulators back in 2009 — too bad, because they had one of the nicest brand identities in the credit union industry.

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Qatar Islamic Bank – Retail Branch Concept

CREA International designed this “oasis environment banking landscape” for Qatar Islamic Bank with an interpretation the majlis (“seating space”) that serves as waiting lounge for customers, where they can get refreshments at the unique “Aqua Bar.” The space features a clean and natural mixture of blues to give a sense of cooling freshness and vitality. Inside the branch clients can freely browse and engage on QIB products on a large interactive wall. To differentiate the premier banking experience, a special zone is dedicated to business and affluent clients.

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BBVA – Flagship Branch

BBVA is one of Spain’s top retail banks. John Ryan commissioned Dobble to develop a series of 24 videos for their new flagship location and pilot retail store. The merchandising was focused on the bank’s corporate attributes.

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Sberbank – Flagship Store

CREA International restyled the flagship location for Sberbank in Prague by shifting it from a transaction-focused branch to a sales/advisory and relationship building store. The branch features an “active learning area” where customers can interact with iPad workstations, a lounge, and a special area dedicated to VIP and corporate clients. The conference room is equipped with cool windows that can be changed from transparent to translucent with the flip of a switch.

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ChiantiBanca – Restaurant Experience

Centrally arranged coffee tables, high bar tables with stools, and snug nooks define this space for ChiantaBanca in Tuscan Italy. CREA International and DINN! Design collaborated on this project to create something The Financial Brand has never seen before: a branch that looks almost identical to a restaurant or company lunchroom.

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Commonwealth Bank – Next Generation Modular Design

Commonwealth Bank in Australia commissioned the Blue Sky group to design a next generation branch that “improves the customer experience, reinforces the CBA brand promise and attracts new customers to the bank.” The branch designs created by Blue Sky are flexible, modular and space efficient. They integrate banking technology hardware into a distinctive ‘ribbon’ design element . Semi-private zones are created through cantilevered elements and alcove spaces. Casual lounge and bench seating are combined to create open, friendly functional work spaces.

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BofA – Next Gen Branch Design

Details about BofA’s newest iteration of its branch design are sketchy. The Financial Brand has been tracking the development of these locations for months, and we still can’t find much in the way of photos (multiple requests to BofA’s PR department have been declined). Here’s what we know: BofA spent much of last year remodeling 2,000 of its 5,400 branches. Previously at the forefront, tellers are now tucked in a corner. Private offices house large screens for video conferencing with mortgage loan officers or personal banking professionals. About 100 branches have rooms with videoconferencing capabilities, too, for customers to be able to meet with specialists remotely if a branch doesn’t have someone on-site.

While most banks are scrambling to shrink their branches down to the size of a shoebox, BofA doesn’t seem to be following this trend. They are committed to building at least 12 new flagship locations in major metro markets around the U.S. — each around 12,000 square feet!

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