Spero Financial

An In-Line Branch That Does Everything but Blend In

The Details

The Story

Spero Financial, a $559MM credit union based in Greenville, SC has grown to over 150 employees, 10 branches, and just shy of 60,000 members. Key initiatives that have contributed to their outstanding growth include increased brand awareness, migrating branch transactions to self-service channels, shifting from transactional to advisory with Universal Associates, and breaking into new markets with branch experiences that stand out.

What’s been their secret to finding success?

One element that led to their success was fusing together design-build and technology to bring members a modern experience from the moment they stepped into the branch.

By incorporating cash automation, like teller cash recyclers, into their space, they were soon able to optimize branch operations by combining an intentional design with staff choreography.

To jumpstart the transformation, the Spero Financial team flew out to DBSI’s Ideation Center to find some inspiration and see how the latest trends, technology, and designs working together could drive their transformation. After spending a full day taking in the future of banking, visiting local branch transformation projects, and engaging with a host of banking and design experts, Spero knew they found the answer for their newest branch initiative in Five Forks, South Carolina. From here, the project began and a few months later, the result was an incredible, retail-friendly branch.


Strategic Planning
Branch Technology
Cash Automation
Core Integration
Staff Training
Digital Signage
Project Management

The Results

The Five Forks branch quickly made an impact in the new market and community. Knowing they had lofty goals to shift to a universal staffing model, offer an enhanced member experience, lower transaction costs, and increase brand differentiation, DBSI’s approach of fusing together design and technology was critical.

An open floor plan that allows staff to move around the branch more easily was at the base of Spero’s strategy. From there, more progressive retail features were added to enable advisory conversations. Things like Teller Towers, a retail-friendly replacement to the teller line; Service Spots, flexible workstations that remove the salesy vibe of a confining office and allows for more value-driven interactions; an Expert Nearby Room equipped with two-way video technology to allow staff immediate access to specialized bankers including loan officers; and a Discovery Bar lined with tablets that can be used by clients to both onboard to and access digital banking solutions.

What about Spero’s goal of shifting from transactional to advisory? Both the design and advanced technology solutions made this transition a home run.  With core-integrated cash recyclers, Spero’s Universal Associates, or known to them as “Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors,” were now able to complete transactions from anywhere in the branch.

And a self-service kiosk was also added to the branch, off-loading those expensive, low-value transactions, and freeing their staff up for high-value interactions.

Another piece to the transformation puzzle was digital signage. To increase brand awareness and engage members, both dynamic digital displays and a Wow Wall was incorporated into the design. The Wow Wall serves as a large, eye-catching piece that displays branded messaging, and a community board to features hyper-localized messaging to keep clients informed and connected.

Lastly, DBSI's Delivery Defined team visited the branch to train their Universal Associates on how to best operate in their new branch. From the basics to role playing, this hands-on program ensures the investment into an innovative design and tech does not go to waste, as well as guarantees every staff member delivers an engineered, advisory-level client experience.

All put together, Spero Financial ended up with the ultimate retail branch that meets the needs of their clients—and looks good while doing it. And not only does it meet the needs of the clients, but it also checks off all their initiatives they originally came to DBSI with.
Brian McKay | President & CEO