Home' Connexus : Issue 44 Contents Cardboard prototype leads the way
CUA has seen the future and rolled
it out at four new-look branches at
Epping and Bundoora in Victoria,
Carindale in Queensland and most
recently in Brisbane’s CBD.
But not before testing the concept
with a life-size prototype made
entirely of cardboard.
The innovative results are on display
at the new Brisbane CBD branch and
The Billboard – a plasma wall
displaying local stories, news and
The Photo Wall - where customers
can post snaps of themselves or
whatever is important to them.
The Herb Wall – a real herb garden
with fresh herbs you can take home.
The Bench – a casual interaction
space for simple services that
require staff assistance.
The Booth – self-service ATMs,
internet banking and direct phone
A semi-private space and four fully
enclosed areas where customers
can talk about their personal
The Penguin coin-counting machine.
The Window – spaces where
customers can learn about products
and services or play with the latest
CUA apps and games on iPads.
The Kids’ Zone – iPads with games
The Chalk Board – for local
CUA plans to extend the rollout to
more of its 60 branches.
The design will be allowed to evolve
over time. “ We’ll adjust and learn as
we go,” says Darrin Northey, CUA’s
group general manager distribution.
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Those left will var y in size, depending on
location and customer needs.
In the United States and United
Kingdom some banks are installing
temporar y pop-up branches in shopping
centres, airpor ts, and at universities
during orientation week. Pop-ups with
one or two staff are being used to test
a location to see if a more permanent
presence is feasible. They also help take
the bank into the community in a fresh
and friendly way.
“ You don’t have to break the bank to be
innovative,” says Schesser. In the US, for
example, some banking institutions are
sharing facilities to cut costs. “ There is
no impediment to doing that here.”
Kiosks and pop-up stores require less
staff than traditional branches but, even
in larger branches where staff numbers
are similar to those at present, the type
of staff and roles required are evolving.
In Australia, the branch of the future
will typically combine self-ser vice with
high-end consultations in the same space.
NEW ROLES FOR STAFF
Schesser says or ganisations are r ight-
sizing via natural attrition, reducing
employees and part-time staff and
rationalising roles. At the same time,
branch employees ar e being re-skilled
and up-skilled to operate across different
ser vice channels and roles.
Tellers are being replaced with
roaming concierges who can interact
with customers, whatever their financial
need. At CUA, branch manager s are
being replaced with local area manager s,
and mor e specialists are being appointed
across the network in targeted growth
ar eas such as home loans.
CUA’s new ‘warm and friendly’
branches highlight what has been
regarded as the main point of difference
between customer-ow ned financial
institutions and the big banks. But they
ar e also designed to attract a younger
demographic without alienating
The average age of members at
customer -owned institutions is about
47, according to data warehouse Cuscal
MMD. While the baby-boomer s and older
Australians are used to visiting their
local branch to cash a cheque or use
an ATM, Gen Ys use cards more than
cash and do their banking via mobiles
and tablets. Having the right branch
presence will be cr ucial when these
younger customer s want their first home
loan or other financial product.
Reports of the demise of the bank
branch are premature. While it is
increasingly easy to imagine the day
when customers with a mobile will
connect with a banker on a mobile
device, wherever they both happen to be,
that day is still a long way off.
Until then, financial institutions that
find efficient and appealing ways to
physically engage with customers at a
local branch will win customer loyalty.
“ You need to continue to adapt to suit
how customers want to deal with you,”
Barbara Drury is a freelance writer.
27/09/13 4:57 PM
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