On Monday, Heritage Bank will open its new “Branch of the Future” location in South Tacoma. The space, which is located near the Tacoma Mall, will replace two outdated Heritage Bank branches in the area and serve customers both old and new in a modern, minimalist space.
The Branch of the Future earns its moniker through its elevated interior design and innovative security measures. “We’re going for a non-traditional look,” said Cindy Huntley, EVP, director of retail banking at Heritage. “The flow and the feel of the space encourages customers and tellers to interact, connect, shake hands. The customer is more part of the transaction. This is our first branch with this kind of feel.”
The space has a freestanding transaction desk that can be walked around by both teller and customer; behind the desk is a main security feature that makes the branch somewhat “futuristic” — a cash recycler. This machine acts as the bank’s vault, a cash counter, and as a security measure that does away with cash drawers that can be easily robbed. “There’s no cash sitting around anywhere else in the branch, so it’s very secure,” said Huntley.
Customers can also safely access the ATM in the breezeway after hours: A Heritage Bank debit card swipes someone into the space and does not allow more than one person in at a time. This feature makes it possible for people to visit the bank at night to withdraw or deposit money without worrying about being interrupted or threatened while doing so.
The far side of the open-floor concept is designed to be a private space where businesses can work with tellers on transactions that are perhaps more private or time-consuming. Sixty to seventy percent of the transactions done in the South Tacoma locations are business-related, said Huntley, so Heritage prioritized a discreet place dedicated to businesses when designing the space with DBSI and BCRA.
The open floor plan, Huntley hopes, will further encourage Heritage Bank employees to build relationships with customers.
“I want my staff to think of how they treat someone who walks into their home,” she said. “That’s how our customers should feel when they walk into this office.”
Heritage Bank involved community members in the branch’s opening by awarding scholarships to four local artists studying at the Northwest College of Art and Design. Today, Jason Zagrean, Craig Ludwick, Christine McArdle, and Oscar Nunez were celebrated at the new location and were awarded scholarships for the pieces they submitted to the competition.
The new location is located at the corner of South 58th Street and Tacoma Mall Boulevard. It opens to the public Monday morning.