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How much do we invest in our ageing branch network?

“How do we update a legacy branch without breaking the bank?” (pun intended!!) We hear this question from many clients with whom we’ve had candid conversations. You may feel like you are in the same boat.

The goal: Update your physical branch location while enhancing the customer experience and building employee engagement. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Well, it truly can be.

For starters, there are multiple ways to accomplish branch transformation - one size does not fit all. Chances are that not every branch in your network requires a full makeover. Some institutions are spending big to upgrade large numbers of branches with the broad hope of building ‘branches of the future.’ This level of investment generally doesn’t make sense for most of your network.

As you build your plan, consider these three transformation or "makeover" levels:

1. Lipstick version: A little paint, a few new accessories, and employee training can yield big dividends. High-performing branches that have little capacity for physical growth are great targets for this type of remodel. Growing the balance sheet and deepening the wallet share of your existing customers can be attained by focusing on employee development. Enhance the skills of your employees by training them to ask better questions and deliver a meaningful experience.

2. Hair and make-up version: In this mid-range remodel, a little more effort is put towards the physical branch location. It may include new carpet, paint, and furniture. Much of your branch network will fall in this category. The trade areas for these branches typically demonstrate higher potential in customer acquisition due to age/income categories of residents. These branches are ones at which you are attracting new customers, as well as cultivating existing customers. And, it goes without saying, employee engagement is a critical success factor to these remodels. Spend as much time and money investing in your people as you do the look of the branch.

3. Full makeover: Gut the branch and start from scratch!! You are in the ideal location and your branch is just the right size, including room for growth. Update everything from carpet, wall coverings, furniture, and transaction areas. This type of remodel is a great opportunity to explore new job roles and responsibilities. As you design the branch, engage your staff in planning and implementing the new branch choreography. You probably only have one or two of these in your entire network and they will require more significant time and capital resources.

Updating your network is exciting. Before jumping into it, figure out which remodel tactic makes the most sense for each of your branches and create a roadmap for your transformation. Keep in mind that investing in your employees is a big part of the transformation and focus on changes that create functional space and convenient experiences for your customers. We’ve worked with dozens of institutions in determining the right makeover mix. Reach out today and let us help you transform your network!

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