Notes from the CEO

The Branch of the Future

There is no arguing that things have changed pretty dramatically in banking over the past decade. From the big-picture ways we plan for success down to the minutia of everyday banking functions, technology has enabled us to move at lightning speed in advancing conveniences for our customers. Digital payments, electronic statements, online account management and more are making what we do in-person, in my opinion, matter even more.

At Five Star Bank, our success is founded on relationships. We work hard to build and maintain real connections with those we are lucky enough to call customers. At the same time, we strive to make their banking lives as convenient as possible and that means using technology.  And therein lies the rub – how do we build relationships while using processes that require less and less human interaction.

I recently read an article in the Banc Investment Daily, a newsletter produced by Pacific Coast Banker’s Bank, that dealt with similar subject matter. The article asked what bankers could do with a branch to make it better for those who come there.

As a bank that serves primarily business customers, our approach may differ from a retail one. However, there was one suggestion in the article that struck a cord with me in particular. An excerpt follows:

“Can we create a more collaborative branch layout? Can we make that space more available to our core customers to come in and learn finance? Can we provide our small business customers with some of the tools, workspace and conference rooms they need in key geographical areas?  … We need to make branches centers of collaboration where our customers want to come.”

I love this idea. Making a bank branch the place where customers can learn more about finance, a collaborative space that helps them achieve success financially and otherwise, is exactly what a bank that is founded on relationships should do.  At Five Star Bank, we are on our way … we lend our conference space to clients and hold seminars for those seeking information on the business banking world. Could the collaborative-learning-space-branch be far away? We certianly have the technology to make it happen.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

James E. Beckwith
President & CEO Five Star Bank

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