Regions Bank has been rolling out its latest banking concept in other markets but perhaps none of the conversions are more substantial than at its flagship corporate headquarters branch in downtown Birmingham’s Regions Harbert Plaza.
The bank unveiled its new branch to its employees today. Alabama NewsCenter got a sneak peek at the branch, which is the second location in the Birmingham metro area to feature the new design and functions.
The first thing that stands out is the old “rope-line” design is gone. Instead of teller windows, there are “universal banker” stations. The professionals are now versed in a wider knowledge of banking products and services and are able to talk to and advise customers beyond making a simple deposit or check-cashing transaction.
“It was really about relationship banking, but our belief is relationship banking is really having a valuable, in-depth conversation about your finances to help you out versus just doing a transaction when you come into the branches,” said Scott Peters, head of Consumer Services for Regions.
Universal bankers are among the innovations Regions is using to meet the needs of a customer base that has become more financially astute and technologically savvy.
From mobile apps to online banking, more and more customers are interacting with their banks beyond the branch. When they do visit a branch, they’re looking for a similarly more modern experience.
“When you think about the bank branch, it really goes back, at a minimum, decades and in some cases probably generations the way that branches look in the United States,” Peters said. “Banking really needed to evolve to provide that sort of on-demand, constant availability for everything we do.”
Another innovation that provides that “constant availability” is the addition of video banking at the Regions corporate headquarters branch. Video banking is available inside and outside the bank branch.
During or outside of normal branch hours, customers can get assistance from bankers who appear via video from Regions’ offices in Riverchase. The Regions video banker can help customers with a number of transactions or advise on everything from using the video teller machine to where to find other assistance.
“Customers are loving video bankers,” said Brandon Greve, north central Alabama Consumer Banking executive for Regions. “If we can get a customer to try the video banker and see that it’s a live person, they love them.”
Regions unveiled its concept in the Birmingham market in Trussville in December. The Regions Harbert location includes many of the same features, but adds corporate banking professionals because of the large amount of corporate transactions the branch handles.
For customers wanting to talk about financial products and get guidance in a more private setting, there are conference rooms. Universal bankers can disconnect their laptop and walk with the customer to a conference room to continue a conversation.
The new branches are being rolled out in Regions’ largest markets and the plan is to bring them to other markets as new branches are built or as existing branches are replaced, merged or moved with changes in market dyanmics.
“We want to bring the right bank to the customer. How they want to bank is what we’re going to bring to them,” Greve said. “If the market justifies us bringing a nexus branch, then that’s what we’re going to do. If the market justifies bringing a more traditional location, then we will build that as well. Our goal is to keep our customers happy.”