Branch Transformation, Retail Banking, Bank of the Future | DBSI

GECU Exterior and Interior Hero Shots

Branch Transformation True Story: GECU

Trailblazing Branch Optimization With Mixed-Use Location

The challenges

Create a Double-Duty, Harmonious Design

GECU needed a design that could operate as a full-service branch and a full service tea/coffee house.

Appeal to the College Market

Close proximity to the UTEP campus meant an atmosphere where college students wanted to come in and spend time was vital.

Form a Digital Strategy That WOWs

GECU wanted digital technology that was educational and impressive. They also needed a strategy that was consistent across all their branches.

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The process

If someone walked into your branch and said they had an idea that could grow foot traffic and business for your financial institution, would you listen?

Even if you did, what is the likelihood of actually executing? And successfully?

Leading the charge as a trailblazer in the industry, GECU had the guts, grit, and perfect partner to execute a co-tenancy branch model that landed them a huge return on investment.

It all started when Kinley Pon, a local coffee shop owner, left a business card and an idea with a GECU security guard. Intrigued with the proposition of a mixed-use branch that would host a full-service credit union AND Kinley’s full-service tea house, GECU knew a good idea when they saw one.

That’s when they reached out to the branch transformation experts at DBSI to strategize. But how to actually make it work?

Serving Up Massive ROI With New Branch Experience

GECU Teahouse Interior

With a long history, DBSI and GECU have covered a lot of ground during their many successful branch projects together.

But this was one for the books…

While GECU was facing a problem that’s all too common with branches today – how to take a space that is too big and optimize it – this type of branch had never been seen in the community before.

Armed with a vision and intimate knowledge of the banking industry, DBSI felt confident they could take this out-of-the-box idea and make it successful.

A design was immediately drawn up, complete with a 3D, life-like rendering of how the branch would look like once built.

Once the design was approved internally, DBSI’s construction team went to work on taking care of all zoning requirements, city permits, and pushing the project through to city approval for build.

Next up? Tearing down an existing credit union building that stood in the space and building this new branch of the future from the ground up. No easy task, especially with so many different parties involved. DBSI’s talented team of project managers and superintendents were able to do all the heavy lifting for GECU and keep this project on track and continuously moving forward to completion.

The result

Fast track to the September 30th, 2013 grand opening where this branch is already making big waves in the community. Terrific foot traffic, relaxed environment, place where students want to go, and new account openings skyrocketing. The Teahouse delivers on all fronts.

Best of all? GECU is making dollars AND  sense by optimizing their branch with shared co-tenant costs and using remote banking technology as part of the branch staff.



The DBSI X-Factor

  • GECU was looking to pioneer an idea that came directly off the streets and needed a vision and strategy to make it work. DBSI’s thorough process of taking branches from “current state” to “future state” was essential to materializing a cocktail napkin idea into a successful reality
  • Digital technology that pops takes deep product understanding and a rock solid strategy. DBSI delivered a fluid experience across all GECU locations.
  • With a location right next to a University, GECU was facing strict zoning and ADA requirements. DBSI’s knowledgeable team took over and completely handled the process all the way through to city approval.

Our Responsibilities

  • Branch Design
  • Construction
  • Digital Technology Statetgy
  • Branch Transformation 
  • Consulting
  • Project Management

Client Quote

“When I look at this branch, I think it’s the most amazing and unique partnership. DBSI and GECU worked hard to make this a reality and it’s already a huge success.  This is a proven branch model.”
- Crystal Long, President & CEO