09/26/2010 03:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bye Bye Tellers - Hello Branch 2.0

Given the challenges of branch banking today, there's a bunch of innovations taking place in respect to "Engagement Banking" within the branch property and it's clear that many banks feel the branch environment has to change to stimulate different activity in the branch. In BANK 2.0 I classify this need to change the engagement in this way:

"The core function of the branch moving forward will be about establishing the relationship with the customer at inception, and extending that relationship through an advisory sales process and excellent customer support systems. It is conceivable that all of the transactional elements within a branch will be moved to automated banking within electronic banking centres, automated branches, ATMs or the Internet within the next 10 years. What then is left? The face-to-face, value-add of a real, live human interaction."

Chapter 3 - Rebuilding the Branch One Customer at a Time, BANK 2.0

So I wanted to take a quick snapshot at some true innovation in branch design and deployment today. I'm not talking about a fresh repaint, some new plastic signage, and more laptops and kiosks around the branch, I'm talking about something fundamentally different for customers.

The Flagship Luxury Engagement Model

There's something about walking into a Louis Vuitton or Versace Luxury store, the expansive space of Virgin's flagship store in London (Oxford Street), or the wonderment of the Apple Store in Manhattan or London. A retail experience like this is just begging for customers to visit you. On the other hand the traditional branch is just not, well... attractive. Design is an under leveraged resource in attracting and engaging customers today. Some banks, however, have tried to change that. Have a look at these innovators in branch design, and say goodbye to the high-counter, bulletproof glass paradigm:

CheBanca! - Milan, Italy

Where's the teller?

Nope...not here either

Deutsche Bank Q110 - Berlin, Germany

Where's the teller - not here either...

Engagement Banking with Microsoft Surface Tech