David O'Dell is a 33-year-old Branch Manager of America's First Federal Credit Union ($1,400M) in Birmingham, Alabama, United States.
New Retail Branch Concept
I want to create a more personal experience for members that results in a higher level of service and profitability.
We have built a radically redesigned branch to better serve our members. In order to accomplish this, we reconsidered everything from design to staffing. We decided on an open concept that lacked a traditional teller line; in was replaced with dialogue towers where staff and members can have conversations as partners and not be separated by walls and counters. We choose technological solutions, such as ARCA cash recyclers and digital signature capture, to improve productivity while safeguarding privacy and reducing errors. Finally, we set aside space in our branch for members of our community. We built a Community Room, which is able to host meetings and events. We designed the branch so that it can isolated from the rest of the building, which allows us to make it available to groups outside of normal business hours and without our employees having to be present. This room has been a popular feature in the short time that we have been open.
To staff the branch, we recruited top-tier internal candidates and sent them through a rigorous training program, which focused on both technical and soft skills. They rotated between several branches during their training and also spent time in back office departments. This allowed them to learn from different perspectives and absorb best practices.
Our members have responded well to the new concept, and we are slightly ahead of our production projections. If this concept continues to succeed, we will use it in other locations.