Bank of Ireland Opens Concept Branch on College Campus

This bank is bullish on branches. Their senior leadership team believes their branch network is integral component of their distribution strategy, and they continue to make investments in the brick-and-mortar channel.

Bank of Ireland has formally opened a new concept branch on the campus of Dublin City University (DCU), incorporating a new open-front design and featuring a digital wall with five zones.

London based design consultancy allen international incorporated a number of progressive concepts into the branch. Staff aren’t walled off in their own private offices. In fact only the branch manager has their own workspace. Casual meetings with customers are held in restaurant-style booths — semi-private, but still very much open. If more privacy is required, meetings can move into the more traditional conference room.

The branch is built for a staff of four. In addition to the manager, one person handles transactions in the cash zone, one serves as a sort of roaming greeter/concierge while another handles sales and service inquiries.

“If we don’t deliver the unexpected, we will only disappoint.”
— Richie Boucher, Bank of Ireland

Almost all merchandising is digital. A giant digital bulletin board displays campus and community events, while interactive touchscreens have completely replaced racks of brochures.

“This space allows students and faculty staff to investigate and interact with the bank’s digital offerings and features high impact content — a mixture of product and channel messages,” says Dean Neill, a spokesman with allen international. ” The new design creates a bold retail statement, presenting the offer in a simple yet dynamic way.”

The new Bank of Ireland DCU concept branch will serve 15,000 students and staff within DCU, as well as an estimated 250,000 visitors campus.

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A folding glass façade opens the branch to passersby, blurring the line between the bank and public space. By removing the physical boundary between spaces, students feel invited to step inside and take a seat. If someone wasn’t paying attention, they could be forgiven for thinking they had stepped into the student union.


New touch screens introduce customers to products and service solutions that they can then explore at their own pace and leisure.


The bank says there two strategic motivations driving its latest campus branch: new account openings, and building strong brand loyalty among Gen-Y consumers who are just embarking on their financial journeys. The bank hopes to win a lifetime of business by earning their trust today — to be “the trusted ‘Financial Guide’ on campus and beyond,” as they put it.

“We continue to open branches where we have business opportunities to engage with existing and potential customers,” explains Richie Boucher, Group Chief Executive at Bank of Ireland. “Our investment in DCU reaffirms our focus on developing lifelong relationships with customers at important times in their lives.”

The Bank of Ireland has over 250 branches and retail outlets in Ireland, including thirteen campus branches.

“Our national branch network is of vital strategic importance to us and we regard a branch network as an integral part of our multi-channel approach to serving our customers,” Boucher continues. “Our strategic focus on and investment in our branch network ensures that we are the provider of financial services embedded in local communities in towns and cities throughout the Republic of Ireland.”

Even the president of the college thinks the branch is pretty cool. He describes it as both “innovative” and “cutting-edge.”

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A simple palette of polished concrete and bleached wood with a clean, simple graphic style. The environment is relaxed and contemporary.



Bank of Ireland – DCU Concept Branch

A 4-minute video tour that will give you an excellent feel for how the branch is laid out, how it flows, and how staff interact with customers.

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