With the christening of its latest branch, Augusta Metro Credit Union, introduced a new retail prototype boasting a more open and spacious floor plans and a wide range of the latest features.
Four paired teller pods, something Augusta Metro calls “dialogue banking” pods, have replaced the traditional row of tellers. Instead, customers are met by a greeter and taken to a stand-up workstation for their transaction.
“We got rid of tellers and the whole idea of getting in line,” said Butch Holley, VP Marketing/Augusta Metro, in an interview with The Financial Brand. “The drawer with money is gone, which is a whole new way to address security.”
[There is another photo with a view from behind the teller pods at the end of the article.]
The new branch includes a self-service cafe (shown above), something Holley said his friends call a “martini bar.” Pretty cool. Check out that fridge.
Part of the branch redesign included changes in how the branch is staffed. There is no longer a distinction between tellers and other branch functions. “Everyone is now a Member Service Representative,” said Holley. Even the senior management team has taken turns working the new branch, Holley said.
The branch also has two walk-up remote teller stations, something Holley prefers calling “‘walkup tellers,’ because ‘remote tellers’ sounds too cold and distant.”
One of the coolest features of the branch is that the vault for safety deposit boxes can be accessed through a biometric hand scanner. The system from Schlage is something Holley simply describes as “really, really neat.” You punch your PIN in, scan your hand and you’re in. It sounds very Bond — handy if you need to grab a spare Walter PPK and you don’t have time to wait for the next available MSR.
Holley offers this additional tidbit: “When including safety deposit boxes in your design, make a third of them small and the rest large. Everyone wants the big boxes these days.”
This newest branch for Augusta Metro replaces one of the credit union’s older branches nearby. There are plans to roll the dialogue banking pods out to other branches, but, as Holley puts it, “We’ll see how it goes with this branch before we make that investment.”
Augusta Metro worked with Howe Construction based in Georgia, and an separate interior design firm on the project.
Augusta Metro has 50 employees, 11,800 members, $57 million in assets and four total branches (including the new one).