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Regions Bank branch in South Pasadena is first ‘bank of the future’ in Florida

Margie Manning

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Regions Bank's Nexus design features work stations instead of teller lines

The new Regions Bank in South Pasadena is more like an Apple store than a traditional bank branch.

“When you walk in there, someone will meet you at the front door, and whatever you are looking to do, they are able to help you. It’s going to be that same concept here,” said Steven Michell, vice president and consumer sales manager.

At the new Regions branch, at 1400 S. Pasadena Ave., customers are greeted at the door and asked what brings them to Regions. The traditional teller lines are gone, but customers can go to one of several work stations staffed by bankers who can handle a wide range of needs, from cashing a check to helping with a commercial loan, a mortgage or an investment. There also are a couple of high-tech equipped offices for more private conversations, as well as a safe deposit box facility that uses biometrics for customers to gain access.

Or customers can talk with one of four additional video bankers who supplement the staff onsite and are available to help customers seven days a week and for extended hours.

The bank has four video bankers available for extended hours and on weekends. The video banking machines also function like a traditional ATM.

A handful of other banks and credit unions have brought similar design concepts to the Tampa Bay area, as financial institutions increasingly focus on more efficiently and effectively serving tech-savvy customers.

For Regions, the new branch, which opens Monday, Oct. 1, is the first “Nexus” branch in Florida and one of just a handful Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) has rolled out across its footprint, including in Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Birmingham itself.

“The Tampa Bay market is one of our growth markets. We continue to invest in this market because it is so important to the future growth of the bank,” said Jim Donatelli, executive vice president for the St. Petersburg/Clearwater market.

The new Regions Bank office at 1400 S. Pasadena Ave.

Regions previously leased space for branches at 6800 Gulfport Blvd., near a Walmart Neighborhood Market, and 4811 Gulf Blvd. in the Dolphin Village Shopping Center. The bank built the new structure on property it purchased in January 2015 for nearly $1.9 million, according to Pinellas County property records.

At 2,700 square feet, it’s a bit smaller than the former South Pasadena facility and about the same size as the former Dolphin Village branch, but incorporates technology to more efficiently use the space, said Sandra Young, senior vice president, west Florida consumer banking executive.

The new branch is also easier to access and more visible than the previous branches, Donatelli said, with the bright green signage associated with Regions lighting up at night.

The former South Pasadena branch had four or five staff members on site, while Dolphin Village had two or three. The new South Pasadena office has 11 bankers, including the four video bankers and branch manager Amy Cherry.

The executive team (from left): Jim Donatelli, executive vice president, St. Petersburg/Clearwater; Sandra Young, senior vice president, West Florida, consumer banking executive; Amy Cherry, branch manager; and Steven Mitchell, vice president, consumer sales manager

Inside, Region’s brand statement and brand promise are featured on the walls behind the work stations where bankers interact with customers.

“It feels a little bit like an old teller line, but it’s not,” Donatelli said. “If you want to do traditional transactions you can do them here, but if you want to apply for a loan or need advice on retirement planning, all that can be done right here too.”

The bankers  received special training to handle a wide range of transactions, Mitchell said.

“Whether you want to deposit $20 or make a $20,000 home equity loan, both those situations can be handled by one banker. You’re not going to be told go over here and wait in line for a banker to help you. That can all be done here with one person,” Mitchell said.

The new branch more closely resembles an Apple store than a traditional bank branch.

While conventional wisdom is that fewer people are walking into a bank branch to conduct transactions because they use mobile or online tools, Regions has found that a large percentage of its customers come into a branch at least once a month, Donatelli said.

“The use of technology enhances the transactional piece and access to information, but they’re still coming in to meet with our bankers to get advice, guidance and education around their financial needs. It’s still a people business,” Donatelli said.

Almost all of Regions’ future branches will be the Nexus model, Donatelli said.  Regions plans another Nexus branch in Sarasota in 12 to 18 months, he said.

A grand opening for the new South Pasadena branch will be Oct. 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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