You’ve never seen a bank like this before. The access into the 24-hour ATM vestibule feels the same, but that’s where the familiarity ends. Through the front door, a gorgeous 13’ tall by 13’ wide interior green wall overflows with healthy, vibrant plant life. It’s a first impression that immediately communicates First Bank & Trust’s innovative and organic approach to the banking experience.
Gone are the cubicles and corner offices. Gone are the tellers. Instead, the Main street location of First Bank & Trust is using universal bankers.
“In-branch banking is evolving,” says Michael Yohanan, vice president–marketing director at First Bank & Trust. “As online and mobile banking continue to satisfy more of our customers’ needs, the responsibilities of bankers are changing. We understand that local individuals and businesses still value connecting with an accessible and trusted advisor. When people come into our new branch, they work with one universal banker from beginning to end. There are no tellers, all bankers are trained to handle transactions and help customers with any service or financial questions.”
Customers with more complex banking matters are escorted to one of several seating areas—a lounge of colorful chairs, a large boardroom table, or a soundproof conference room encased in floor-to-ceiling windows.
Those with the most common retail banking needs—deposits, withdrawals, bank balances—are assisted via a cash recycler.
“A cash recycler offers more security than a traditional teller drawer and line because it is locked and alarmed at all times,“ says Chrissandra White, assistant vice president-branch manager at First Bank & Trust. “These recyclers also increase the speed at which bankers can process cash transactions, creating a better experience for our customers by allowing our bankers to focus on the customer instead of the transaction. The goal is to remove barriers between our staff and our customers.”
The services aren’t the only way First Bank & Trust is removing barriers. The entire space is open and light-filled, reflecting the energy efficient ethos of the entire LEED Sliver certified, mixed-use, high-rise building “The Main,” in which the new First Bank and Trust branch resides. Their ground floor space in The Main was designed by Evanston architecture firm BEHLES+BEHLES.
“The Bank asked us to create an inviting and open environment focused on the client,” says Joseph J. Behles, a partner and founder at BEHLES+BEHLES. “The bank’s investment in new cash management technology allowed us to design a flexible customer service area for transactions, more of a “concierge” type of feel. There are other things to consider. The installed Live Wall includes a self-contained drip-irrigation system and LED horticultural lights. It’s beautiful to see, helps the space acoustically, and the plants do a nice job improving the indoor air quality. Last year, about 40 percent of total US energy consumption took place in residential and commercial buildings. So, ‘green initiatives’ in new construction have a significant and long term impact on climate change and energy independence.”
From the clean, inviting space to the new approach to interacting with helpful universal bankers, First Bank & Trust is determined to be at the cutting edge of the way we engage with and think about going to the bank. Everything about it is so new, you have to see it in person to fully understand the impact. And though the client impact is large, the energy footprint is very small. You can take that to the bank.
The new branch of First Bank & Trust is located at 520 Main Street, 847-328-4639, firstbt.com.