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When deciding who will design your new branch or remodel, is it best to choose a local architect or do you go with a design company that specializes in the banking industry?  

While there is no one size fits all answer, consider the story of a Bank CEO and his ATM dilemma that’s all too common when hiring the architect next-door.


The Devil's in the Details: A Tale of Two ATMs

During a recent visit, a bank CEO was eager to show the blueprint of the flagship branch design he had just signed off on.  Well over a $1.5 million project, he had hired a well-respected architect in town. The architect was one that he had worked with before, and felt comfortable with the type of design he could expect.  At first glance, it looked to be a striking branch design.

Once you started to pay attention to the specifics in the design, there was one glaring issue right off the bat – the two ATM’s were all the way in the back of the branch.  

The CEO explained he had worked with the architect on all their “must-haves” before beginning the design, while continuing to build in more enhancements along the way.  It seemed like everything was in place, until the design was almost finished and….no ATM’s had been built into the design!  Not wanting to carry the expense and time of going back to the drawing board, they were squeezed in the only place left – the very back of the branch.  

Imagine, all this money invested in a flagship “branch of the future” that fails to deliver a better branch experience. Instead, it's plagued with the inconvenience of ATM’s in the back where every customer will need to walk the length of the branch just to pull out some quick cash. Yes, the overall design looks beautiful to the naked eye, but lacks the ingenuity of optimizing for customer flow. 

Where did it go wrong?

While the architect was gifted in general design, he didn't have banking design expertise to realize missing equipment and/or how those pieces may affect customer flow. Instead, the responsibility fell onto the busy CEO’s shoulders to be the expert and convey everything needed to the designer.  

By hiring a bank design specialist, you gain someone that adds much needed depth in critical areas with a deeper understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and hindsight for best methods to achieve your goals. A specialist can help take the weight off your shoulders and be a consultant on ways to best integrate banking equipment into the design, while suggesting strategies and digital technologies to improve your client experience and ultimately the bottom line.

The Point - As they say, jack of all trades, master of none.  In this rapidly changing banking environment where it’s innovate or become extinct, the devil is in the details that only a banking-industry master, can master.