In a world where some financial institutions have no branches at all, Regions Bank is sorting out how to provide customer service with a new range of brick-and-mortar designs meant to have varying numbers of humans backed up with the smartest machines available.
It’s called the New Concept Branch, which offers customers innovative technology, a new layout of personal service and an adjustable human banker element based on what customers prefer at a particular branch.
Thus far the New Concept Branch model is available to Alabama customers only at a newly renovated Regions branch at the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus. Bank officials say it remains to be seen how quickly the new set-up will catch on and, thus, how much staffing will be affected.
The flexible model calls for anything from flagships, up to 10, 000 square feet in prime locations with a large staff, down to neighborhood branches with up to 4, 000 square feet, then micro branches with up to 2, 500 square feet and just two or three full-time employees. Unmanned kiosks will remove the human element altogether.
New Concept Branches will have Regions’ new Video Teller service, which connects customers to a Regions representative via live video chat seven days a week. In addition to processing most teller transactions, these representatives can help customers with account maintenance and general inquiries.
The new layout does not include traditional teller lines. Instead, customers are welcomed directly by Regions’ Universal Bankers who can help them with branch banking needs. Universal Bankers provide a variety of services, ranging from cashing checks and accepting deposits to helping customers develop plans to reach their long-term financial goals.
The New Concept Branches will help Regions develop further branch designs by combining service and technology innovations with feedback from customers.
“We are listening to our customers and providing a branch banking experience that is tailored to meet their needs, ” says Scott Peters, head of Regions’ Consumer Services Group.
Regions Bank operates approximately 1, 700 banking offices and 2, 000 ATMs.
Text by Dave Helms