A new day in banking is here.
No longer do customers have to stop at the bank and wait on a teller to deposit a check, but with the snap of a photo they can deposit multiple checks from the comfort of their homes – and that’s just the beginning. Thanks to technology, customers can digitally transfer funds, pay bills, take out loans and even pay for coffee with the flash of a wristwatch.
A 2015 study by the Federal Reserve Board found 43 percent of all mobile phone owners with a bank account used mobile banking in the past year – that’s up 39 percent.
Industrywide, not only is mobile banking in the mix, but also bank branches are downsizing by getting rid of teller lines and replacing them with interactive teller machines, as is the case with local branches of Commerce Bank, Southern Bank and Bank of Missouri. The machines, which look like ATMs, can do nearly everything a teller would do, from performing deposits to making loan payments.
But there’s an outlier of banking, and they’re moving in a completely different direction. Mid-Missouri Bank isn’t downsizing branches or replacing tellers with robots.
The Springfield-based bank is expanding its facilities and training personnel to bank in a new way.
Their first big step is coming in June when Mid-Missouri Bank staff plan to move into a new branch at 5419 S. Campbell Ave., immediately across the street from a smaller location in a strip center.
On the site of the former Bair’s Grocery, the center strays from the looks of a traditional bank, featuring windows ground-to-roof windows, an electric car charging port and an area for dog owners to hydrate their pups after a long walk – but that’s just the outside. Think more community building and less banking facility.
Mid-Missouri Bank President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Riedy is the mastermind behind the project. For several years, he’s researched and developed a way to turn the mission of the bank into a living and breathing representation of it. He believes the bank’s goals are to invest in the community, build lasting relationships and better serve customers. The new location reflects that.
“We are always going to stay on the leading edge of technology. But the question for financial services: ‘What’s going to happen to brick and mortar?’” Riedy said. “We believe that facilities are very important to our model. Yes, we’re going to have a lot more technology, but when [our customers] really need assistance we’re going to provide that consultative approach to help [them] achieve their financial success.”
Work is underway to expand the mindset across the Show-Me State. Of Mid-Missouri Bank’s 14 branches statewide, the Willard location currently is under renovation and is set to be complete in April.
But it’s just the first; Reidy hopes to quickly renovate all 14. Marshall-Waters-Woody Inc. is the architect for the new location and renovations and Buxton Kubik Dodd Creative is handling interior design with DeWitt & Associates Inc. as general contractor. Riedy would not disclose the cost of the new facilities or renovations.
The Experience Center
Beginning with the south Springfield 5,270-square-foot flagship branch now underway, the new facilities are designed with an Experience Center featuring various electronics – iPhones, iPads, Androids – to demonstrate Mid-Missouri’s banking technologies. Think interactive Apple store.
Bank officials have decided to name the South Campbell Avenue location’s meeting center the Bair’s Grocery Conference Room, to pay tribute to the former business on the property.
“It’s a great, iconic location because so many people were used to stopping at Bair’s and knowing where it was and hitting it on the way down to the lake,” Riedy said.
The conference room will be available to the public, he said, even in off-hours through a keypad.
Other unique attributes planned include a small cafe station with complimentary refreshments, an area for children to play, a lounge with a flat-screen TV, a study space and several meeting areas. The new spaces will offer free Wi-Fi and places for customers to charge their devices.
“We want to be sure that we’re thought of as a place that anybody can stop, whether they’re walking their dog or riding their bike, if they need to check their email or just take a break – or if they actually have a financial need that they want to come by and talk to us about,” said Andrew Moore, Mid-Missouri Bank’s marketing director. “We want anybody to feel free to just stop in.”
Instead of traditional teller stations where customers wait in line, the center also will have computer desks spread throughout the facility so customers can sit down with tellers and discuss financial needs or make transactions. But the tellers won’t be stuck at those desks, they’ll be walking around the facility interacting with customers.
Other local banks have made some similar changes.
The Bank of Missouri added “teller pods,” machines that conduct a variety of banking services for the customer without the customer having to talk to anyone, and kiosks for tellers to work from if a customer needs hands-on help.
Each Mid-Missouri Bank branch also will begin providing community education courses, such as “How to pay bills through Mid-Missouri Bank,” via one-on-one appointments with bank employees trained on the topics.
“We have to make it a destination point because as technology has freed up our employees and they don’t have to wait on a long line of people, we want to give them the tools to be furthering their careers and knowing more about financial services,” Moore said, noting the systemwide changes would not reduce the bank’s employees count of 197 statewide. “It’s been a great way to look at how we can work with the team we have and as their load has been lightened with transactions, we can educate them and heavy their load with consultations with our customers to make our customers more informed about how to have a successful financial future.”
Dan Derges, Springfield community president for Mid-Missouri Bank, said marketing efforts for the new facility will be made through a 20-foot marquee on the bank’s exterior and continued in-person contact with customers.
“We really believe that the key to success in building long-term relationships is a combination of high-tech as well as high-touch personalized experiences on a daily basis,” Derges said.
“Whether it’s a (Small Business Administration) loan or Linked Deposit loan or mortgage or insurance need, we have the full range of financial services to meet their needs.”
With all the changes in technology, Mid-Missouri Bank officials say they recognize the evolution.
“There’s a lot of things about the new location that help us personify what our mission really is. Banking right now is going through a pretty heavy evolution,” Moore said.
“We’re not removing the personal touch and I think a lot of banks, both regionally and nationally, are removing the personal touch. When we talk about a personalized experience, we are insistent that we are not going to remove any of the old ways to do banking.”
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The move would come with a new property tax levied on residents of regional school districts.
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