Washington Mutual has opened four of its signature Occasio stores in Manhattan, bringing the company's retail banking experience to New York consumers.
In addition, WaMu has announced sites for eight new Occasio locations as part of its greater New York expansion. The new stores are a key part of the company's Empire State growth plans, which are underway after the successful systems conversion of the former Dime network over Memorial Day weekend.
The Occasio stores are the first of 40 stores set to open in the New York metropolitan area in the next year, augmenting WaMu's existing regional network of 123 branches. "Occasio is a fresh approach to personal financial services that we believe New Yorkers will find attractive," according to John Benevento, senior vice president and group manager at $275 billion WaMu, who oversees consumer banking operations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester and Long Island.
Unlike traditional branches, Occasio stores feature casually dressed, khaki-clad concierges who greet people and escort them to the appropriate service area. The circular design removes traditional bank barriers between customers and employees.
WaMu representatives greet customers at one of several teller towers. Because employees never have to touch money, the station is more efficient than a teller window. Touch screens give customers the option of independently researching services.
Altogether, WaMu has more than 230 Occasio de novo and retrofit stores throughout the country and expects to have more than 400 by year-end.