TAMPA, Fla. -- To better serve its members Grow Financial Credit Union is infusing some retail design into its future branches.
"We went through a re-brand and name change last year from MacDill to Grow Financial and have been really looking at all areas of our credit union and how we can better meet our members needs," said Grow Financial Vice President of Marketing Emily Nichols. "So we looked beyond the financial services arena at ways consumers do business and wanted to incorporate that welcoming retail feel of comfort into our new Lutz branch."
The credit union turned to Jacksonville, Florida-based design-build firm Reynolds, Smith and Hills Inc. to create an environment that Nichols says is unique to the Tampa area.
The 2,000-square-foot facility is more member friendly and features a coffee bar, free WiFi access, an online banking area, coin counting machine, a welcome station and dialogue pods.
"We wanted to focus on having more one-on-one interactions between the members and member service representatives to really have more in-depth conversations and better serve the members so we got rid of the barriers in traditional branches like the teller window or even offices," said Nichols.
For privacy, the open space does have two portioned areas where members and Grow Financial staffers can discuss services such as mortgages and loans or answer any questions in greater detail. Nichols says the new open retail environment simply lends itself to building deeper member relationships because members decide how they want to conduct business.
"If they want to just use the ATM, it's there when they walk in, if they are surprised by the new branch someone at our welcoming station is there to greet them, serve as their guide through the new experience and set them in the right direction," said Nichols. "That personal touch is key, and we're showing our members just how we are different."
She added that while the branch has only been open a week member reaction has been very positive.
"Members of all ages have taken to it," said Nichols. "It is our first branch like it and we're considering going in that direction with future branches. We're looking at each of our markets, and they all have different needs so we're taking that focus with all current and new locations."
Ideally the goal is for members to continue to return to the branch and see Grow Financial as a different place to do banking that they'd recommend to their friends and family, she explained.