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The Future Bank, A Lab Today


When we were working with SEFCU on a new financial center experience an opportunity arose for creating a vision for their future experience as an fully functioning retail banking space and lab to test new ideas. The space was a 800 SF (80 SM) insert site within the recently converted train station in downtown Albany, NY. SEFCU was occupying the upper floors with their new headquarters, and on the main floor they rented this small space which eventually would be accompanied by other retail stores.


A self-service environment with a high-level engagement overlay.


The client brief was to set a vision for the future of their member experience with a focus on their investment in technology that was empowering their members to do and achieve more in their banking. SEFCU has a forward-thinking CEO who sought to have all the banking needs currently handled by their tellers in the hands of their members via their mobile. This shift would empower members to bank when and how they wanted, and allow SEFCU to reposition their financial centers as absolute advisory destinations.

The Kiernan branch, which this location was named, was to create a wow and to communicate their investment in technology and innovative new solutions. It was to be a place where members could explore new solutions, learn about SEFCU, and be a classroom for teaching online and mobile banking.

The solution we developed provided for an open bank, where physically half of the space was open 24 hours, and the remote specialist room was available 24 hours with key card access. This was not the typical vestibule after-hour banking, it was a 24 hour banking and exploration space for anyone.

The large media wall acted as a visual attract, drawing attention from traffic within the larger Kiernan complex, and changed the affect of the branch via the imagery. The second aspect was what we refer to as the “kitchen island” where we greet and welcome guests. Anyone entering the space would often go immediately to the table, where an associate would intercept and begin a conversation. Depending on the person’s interests, they could both sit and use the table as an interactive medium, or allow for a self-driven exploration. This type of interception and engagement is more casual and allows associates to convert a simple query into a higher level engagement.

The table and media wall also have an education function for SEFCU to hold small classes on using digital products. Attendees can use their own mobile interface on the table—allowing for up to four individual interfaces—and the instructor walks them through using an interface broadcast on the large screen. The table and wall are also connected, allowing a student to swipe gesture their interface up to the large screen and share with the whole class, allowing the instructor to use an individual use-case for everyone’s benefit. Both table and wall are fully interactive and allow for many future added capabilities and features.