For this new, ground-up branch bank Pioneer Federal Credit Union wanted to create a new identity and a new paradigm in banking. They wanted clients to have a different experience, one that spoke of ‘community’ rather than ‘financial institution.’ The branch location is near Boise State University and serves students, staff and neighbors. The bank wanted to appeal to a younger, more tech-savvy clientele.
The 5,500 sf building (architecture provided by others) is round and approachable, rather than square and cornered, but it is the interior and new approach to service that sets this bank apart. It was important to the client that the design and interior communicate a refreshed company image. Pioneer wanted to break away from preconceived notions not only about how a bank looks, but how it works. Together we looked at barriers to service and reimagined the typical client transaction.
A key strategy is to be visible to the customer. Offices, meeting rooms and the children’s area are enclosed with glass walls. The exterior walls have large windows, opening the space to see in and out, and to bring in abundant natural light. This physical transparency supports the concept of banking and financial transparency
The second strategy is to be closer to the customer. This meant inviting clients to enjoy the bank as an amenity, not just a place to rush in and out on an errand. Upon entry, clients are greeted at the door and entered into a digital queue. Rather than stand in line they can wait in the lounge and have a cup of coffee. The teller calls clients by name to the teller counter. For this concept to work, the tellers must be visible, yet private. They are located to the back of the main central space. Wayfinding is integrated throughout to clarify the layout
A third strategy is color and design. Vibrant colors, without the traditional dark woods, prevail. Interior design used cutting edge products including hexagon shaped carpet tiles, custom light fixtures replicating the company logo, and technology-integrated furniture. The design of teller “pods” in lieu of a traditional teller station allows the public to feel part of the experience.
The open space reveals accessible staff visible from many vantage points, including the front door, and room to relax. A community room is available after hours.
American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Intermountain Chapter—Design Excellence Awards—Commercial Under 10,000 SF
CUNA Councils—Excellence in Operations, Sales and Service Awards—Branch Design Entry