We rocked it at BankSpaces.

At our first-ever retreat in Palm Springs, we brought together branch design and transformation leaders from banks and credit unions from across the nation to discuss the future of retail banking and branch design, focusing on adapting to the evolving needs of customers in the digital age.

Keynote speakers Jim Marous, Co-Publisher of the Financial Brand and host of the Banking Transformed Podcast, and Adrenaline President and CEO Gina Bleedorn addressed the importance of reimagining branch networks, how to leverage data-driven decision-making to create engaging, purposeful client experiences, and innovations in branding. Kristopher Banner from ATB Financial shared his regional Canadian bank’s innovative approach to creating advisory hubs that prioritize relationship-building over transactions, a design paradigm that includes adaptable spaces to cater to specific customer needs.

Jim-Gina-KristopherL to R: Jim Marous, Gina Bleedorn, Kristopher Banner

Other notable sessions included DBSI’s Mike Forsyth and Synovus’s Carla Trombley's discussion on creating seamless omnichannel experiences, and what banks need to look for when partnering with design firms for much-needed advice and guidance. Christina Sprows and Martha MacInnis took us on a journey into TD Bank's ambitious NextGen Store Program.

TD Bank-Synovus
(Above) Christina Sprows, Martha MacInnis, (Below) Mike Forsyth, Carla Trombley.

US Bank’s Dan Hoke, Truist’s Shona Callahan, Region Bank’s Stephen Griffin, and Brian McEvoy of Webster Five engaged in a wide-ranging, thought-provoking panel on envisioning the branch of the future.

L to R: Brian McEvoy, Shona Callahan, Dan Hoke, and Stephen Griffin

Customer experience expert E.J. Kritz, from apc, gave an energetic presentation, providing valuable insights on integrating technology with high-touch interactions and how to attract more Gen Z customers. Retail design gurus Gina Hermida, from Royal Bank of Canada, Matt Bosserman, of Capital One, Fifth Third Bank’s Vikas Srivastava, and Helen Herrick of MBH Architects, delved into designing branches that support clients’ financial journeys to create frictionless in-person banking experiences – with the customer at the center of it all.

L to R: E.J. Kritz,  Matt Bosserman, Gina Hermida, and Vikas Srivastava

Liz Powers, Co-Founder and CEO of ArtLifting, shared moving and inspiring stories of how financial institutions like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, have partnered with her organization to create inclusive spaces that showcase art made by folks with disabilities or impacted by housing insecurity.

In addition to the compelling content shared from the stage, attendees participated in unique and fun networking activities. Participants rode jeeps to the San Andreas Fault, where they learned about the interesting geology of the area while hiking into slot canyons and climbing onto windy ridges for breathtaking views of the Coachella Valley. They also enjoyed a picnic lunch under the shade of palm trees at a bona fide oasis.

Jeep Tour
Sunday Icebreaker Activity - San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour

At the Monday night networking party, attendees rocked out to the soaring sounds of Queen Nation, the country’s premier Queen tribute band. During the event, attendees participated in pre-selected, 20-minute 1:1 meetings with innovative solutions partners, a unique and standout attribute of a BankSpaces event.

“Sourcing meetings were direct, straight to the point and both parties were ready for the conversation.”
Mike Forsyth, DBSI


Vendors and attendees alike remarked on how the relaxed way these meetings are held allowed for mutually beneficial conversations. Many suppliers noted they’d made positive connections with banks and credit unions that had not been on their radar and how the pre-scheduled time allowed for deeper discussions on how their offerings could align with the needs of the leaders they spoke with.

1:1 Sourcing Meetings with Suppliers

All told, BankSpaces offered a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for attendees looking to reimagine their bank branches to meet the needs of changing customers.

We are already looking forward to our next retreat, April 27-29 in Miami Beach. There, we'll once again facilitate collaborative and engaging discussions amongst retail banking leaders, helping set the stage for future innovation in the industry.

Chris Killian

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Chris Killian is a Detroit-based content producer and veteran journalist focused on innovations and tech trends in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, education, and more. In his spare time, he likes to cook, play guitar, and work on his ’84 VW Westphalia, Harry, trying to coax him into another open-road adventure.

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