HSBC has opened its largest branch in the UK in the City of London, using a fresh design concept that offers more retail space and dedicated areas for different customer types.
Devised by the bank’s in-house design team, the concept will form part of as many as five branches throughout the UK this year.
Based in Queen Victoria Street in EC4, the branch is part of HSBC’s programme to revitalise its network to better meet the changing needs of its customers.
The bank offers more space for customers, sophisticated banking technology, areas for personal finance, premier and business banking customers, as well ‘smart deposit’ machines and ‘express banking’ terminals. The new branch also features Internet banking and telephone banking services.
‘We looked at what other retailers do, and at the journey customers take when entering the bank,’ says head of HSBC branch design Richard Newland.
‘There needed to be different areas for different customer types. In the past, customers were not in complete control of their money – they wanted to feel their money was safe and so banks were designed around that. Now they are looking for swift and fast service.’
As part of the design, most of the customer service staff have been taken out from behind the bullet-proof glass so they can speak to customers in private interview booths and consultation areas.
Additionally, an open-plan banking area has been created to allow staff to offer a ‘more personal service’.
‘It used to be that most of the space in bank branches was devoted to administration and processing work, a lot of which is now done centrally, enabling us to devote more space to serving customers,’ adds Newland. ‘Today, customers demand more options and greater convenience and efficiency to meet their banking needs. Branch design has to reflect this and ensure customers have the control they want.’
BANKING ON THE FUTURE
• The HSBC branch in London’s Queen Victoria Street has opened following the completion of a £9m development of the 2790m2 site
• The bank will include dedicated areas for personal finance, more than 30 ‘smart deposit’ machines and ‘express banking’ terminals, a new open-plan banking area, Internet banking, telephone banking, and customer service staff moved to private booths and consultation areas
• The concept will feature in up to five branches throughout the UK, including Sheffield and York, with London being the largest