Like It’s 1991: Bank Branch Grand Opening Celebrations

By Christina Smith

New bank branch grand opening Facebook event

Most people believe banks are eliminating branch infrastructure and reducing bank branches. The truth is banks are closing, downsizing and opening new (smaller, less staffed) branches. While most big banks are making significant changes with little marketing fanfare, if you dig deep enough you can find bigger players who have not yet abandoned “new branch/old formula” branch promotions. However, across the board, smaller players – regional banks, community banks, credit unions – still readily embrace the customer-centric practice of the Grand Opening Celebration (GOC).

Bank of America
For Bank of America, branch transformation appears to be “business-as-usual” as it continues to reduce but enhance existing branches and open new branches selectively in targeted markets. To date in 2017, BAC opened three completely automated branches with high-tech ATMS and video conferencing with employees at other branch locations.

BAC will open more self-serving branches (50-60 over the year), including branches in new markets: Denver, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. Interestingly, BAC’s entry into the Twin Cities is designed to serve the 300,000 BAC customers already there as transplants from established BAC markets. The new Skyway branch features a learning center – the first of its kind – stocked with iPads at the ready to teach customers about mobile banking and other services. Local press images show under-the-radar “Now Open” signage with little to no apparent GOCs for any of these shiny new branches.

JP Morgan Chase
JPMC reduced its number of branches in 2015 by over 3% with plans to continue closings across 2016. For the remaining Chase branches, the trend is towards card-less transaction ATMs and a changing branch model where 60% of branch staff provides advice and the remaining 40% provides transactional services. New branch openings are fairly low key with one notable exception.

Last year, Chase re-opened its World Trade Center branch and – befitting the setting and 40-year history of a WTC branch presence – the bank heavily promoted the grand opening event. Amidst the opening day hoopla, Chase tastefully and sensitively shared design details of the architecturally impressive branch located on hallowed ground.

T.D. Bank
Despite its big bank stature, T.D. Bank remains friendly, green and grass-roots. It routinely associates an “event” with each new branch opening. Promoted on Facebook, each typically includes food trucks, family fun and festivities.

U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank appears to scale its branch openings to the market. We’ve seen promotions for Ribbon Cutting Cermonies – typically one hour events with special guests from the bank and community offering light refreshments and giveaways – in some locations, while others warrant more celebratory openings. Here’s how a USB press release describes the GOC of a new California branch next door to where it also opened a community center:

“…. We’re not just opening a branch, we’re becoming an integral part of the community. To celebrate… the public is welcome to a grand opening celebration in the parking lot of the new location. Branch staff will serve hot dogs, popcorn and drinks…. [There will be] giveaways and entertainment for kids.”

Smaller banks and credit Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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