April 12, 2013

Wells Fargo today announced the opening of the first of what it says will be a new bank branch format.

The "neighborhood bank format," as Wells Fargo describes it, is approximately 1,000 square feet -- about a third of the size of a typical Wells Fargo branch -- that will offer personalized service in settings not suitable for its larger stores. The first store using the new design will open in Washington, D.C. on April 15th.

According to Wells Fargo, the new store was designed to create areas within the store where sales associates can conduct business with customers and have financial conversations, including in private.

It also will have wireless tablets and phones that team members will use to serve customers, while a free wireless hotspot will also be available for customers to use. After hours, the store transitions into a smaller lobby format, providing customer’s access to several ATMs that dispense $1, $5 and $100 bills in addition to the $20 bills a typical ATM offers, the bank said. Additionally, Wells Fargo claimed the new stores will feature technology that allows for the elimination of paper-driven back-office processes.

"With this new store concept, we’ll be able to offer person to person sales and service along with leading banking technology in settings that previously would have discouraged us from building a store," said Jonathan Velline, head of Wells Fargo ATM Banking and Store Strategy, in a written statement. "Stores are central to our strategy of providing excellent service and meeting our customers’ financial needs. This new neighborhood bank concept complements our traditional stores to help us bring the Wells Fargo store experience to more customers."

[See Also: What Will the Branch of the Future Look Like?]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...