Uwharrie Bank was an early adopter of online banking and one of the first banks in the country to deploy remote deposit capture, mobile technology, mobile deposits, Apple Pay© and more. Uwharrie’s new Branch of the Future is a major conceptual step for the bank.
“What makes this branch so different from other bank branches is the unique design which includes a Tech Bar, Interactive Teller Machines, cash recyclers, video conferencing office, plus a large Community Room for local civic, professional, charitable, and networking groups to meet free of charge,” said Brendan Duffey, President & CEO of the bank. The branch is staffed with Universal Bankers knowledgeable in financial services and technology, plus loan specialists – including home loans and specialized government guaranteed loans – and wealth management professionals providing customized plans and services for individuals, families and institutions.
David Beaver, Uwharrie’s CFO and Project Manager for the new concept branch, said, “Our Tech Bar is a new concept for a branch office where customers can learn, ask questions, demo technology or explore product and service options. The Tech Bar has iPads for customers to self-explore the benefits of our product and service options. It also has a large digital display where Universal Bankers can demonstrate and walk customers through products, benefits, technology options, and answer questions all while charging their digital devices.” The branch also offers free WIFI for visitors and customers in the branch and in the Community Room.
“Our well-trained Universal Bankers can not only open accounts, approve business and consumer loans and assist in transactions and technology; but more importantly, enable a more human and lasting connection by engaging in caring dialogue to assist customers in their financial planning, explore options and customize decisions for whatever life events are affecting them,” said Pat Horton, Regional President for the bank’s Retail Banking Division.
The new branch has two. ITMs are ATMs on steroids and are substantially more expensive than ATMs. Customers can do much more than check balances, get cash or deposit a check. They allow customers to press the screen to talk to a banker live about their accounts or the transaction they want to accomplish just as they would at a traditional teller line except the teller’s face is live on the machine. “ITMs are the latest in customer self-service technology that looks like an ATM but more robust including video conferencing capabilities. Less than 5% of the banks in the country have deployed ITMs. Customers can cash checks to the penny, transfer money between accounts, deposit cash, redeem savings bonds, even open an account. The software that allows the machines to support complex banking transactions is much more expensive than the machines themselves,” said Jason Andrew, Uwharrie’s senior vice president for Enterprise Apps & eCommerce.
Uwharrie’s Branch of the Future also has a video conferencing office so customers can visually interact with subject matter experts at the bank who are not present in the office and even display content material simultaneously on screen when applicable. The branch’s separate Community Room is outfitted with audio/visual equipment including a 75” LED screen, Polycom and can support remote attendees through their cell phones without downloading an app. The room can seat 32 people plus presenter(s) and can be configured in various layouts: classroom, boardroom, u-shaped, or rectangular styles to fit any meeting needs.
The branch also has safe deposit boxes but a greater mix of the larger box sizes many customers and businesses prefer. It also has a traditional live teller line but is equipped with cash recyclers so Universal Bankers do not have to handle cash, allowing them more time to engage with their customers. The branch can also “instant issue” new debit cards to customers right at the branch.
“What this Branch of the Future proves to me is that a community bank can move quicker than larger financial institutions in adopting and deploying new technology and comprehensive concepts. We started looking for a branch site in Ballantyne in January 2017. After nailing down a site, our team and key partners designed this new concept branch from scratch in under 4 months, started construction in late September 2017 and opened for business March 12th. All this in less than a year from selecting a site – that’s an impressive accomplishment,” said Roger Dick, President & CEO of Uwharrie Capital Corp, the parent company of Uwharrie Bank.
The branch is now open Monday-Thursday from 9 A.M to 5 P.M., and Fridays 9 A.M to 6 P.M
Rea Road at Stonecrest,
5231 Piper Station Drive, Suite 100,
Charlotte, NC 28277