Branching Out: Chase's New Retail Branch at Chase Center at Thrive City

Oct 28, 2019/CHASE CENTER

The new Chase branch at Thrive City held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in grand fashion. Guests were served hors d’oeuvres and drinks while they waited in anticipation for a special appearance by Golden State Warriors player D’Angelo Russell. The All-Star guard was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon and later sat down with for a Q&A session with Chief Marketing Officer, Chase Consumer Banking Lorraine Chow Hansen. Russell answered questions about his NBA career, his thoughts on Chase Center, and what fans could expect from the Warriors this season. The discussion then transitioned to the subject of personal finance where Russell was candid about his efforts to improve his financial literacy and his desire to share what he’s learned with younger players. The desire to connect about finance is something that Russell and the new Chase branch have in common. Expertly designed and uniquely constructed to both fit in and stand out within Thrive City, the new Chase branch adapts to the evolving elements the banking industry in more ways than one.

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When first walking into the new, glassy Chase retail branch perched at the corner of 3rd Street and Warriors Way, perhaps the most striking aspect is the open concept layout. There are no conventional bank teller desks, instead there is a living room-like setup in the middle of the lobby, with comfortable couches where customers can relax in front of a large television that can be used for streaming content. There are also booths, coined “education centers,” that line the perimeter of the space. These gathering spaces resemble the seating in a diner, but instead of a sitting down for a meal, they are a place for Chase clients to get one-on-one time with a banker. When asked to describe the location, Branch Manager Carlos Infante said that “This is not a traditional branch…this is obviously very interactive. Our tellers are highly-trained, they are individuals that can sit down with you in those booths and educate you everything that comes to online banking, your mobile app, etc.” Clients are encouraged to speak with a banker about everything from the basics of setting up an account to more complex feats like establishing investment opportunities. These complimentary services are all a part of an ambitious mission.

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Infante said that the goal with these booths and the branch at-large is to become an education center for Chase clients. “(The way we’re designed is) we want lifelong partnerships with our clients.” Infante adds, “We are here to educate our clients and be with them on the journey of life" and that falls right in line with Chase's goal to help clients make the most of their money and time so they can make the most of their lives. Infante has been with Chase for 15 years, starting out as a part-time teller and he embraced this “new build” at Chase Center as the latest step in his impressive career. The complexity of the challenge is not lost on Infante, in fact, he embraces it, “I love this concept because the world is changing, writing a check is just not realistic anymore.”

A customer-focused approach not only defines the branch’s operations, but is deeply ingrained into the bank’s very structure, with increased client interaction at the forefront of the project’s design process which began in August of 2018. Chase Retail Design Director Michael Meyer shed some light on the intentions behind this new branch, saying “Chase continues to evolve and customers by-in large still need the branches, but they need them differently.” When asked about his goal, Meyer explained “What we need to do is make sure we’re first and foremost building environments and building relationships that are meaningful and long-lasting, not superficial or fashionably fleeting. We want the [branch] to become that built environment that establishes the expectation of what the experience will be.” The objectives were in place, and the design process needed to reflect the location’s goals.

Ryan Feist, the Lead Architect on the Chase Design team, spearheaded the creation of the new branch. When asked about his initial thoughts about the project, Feist said that he wanted to embrace the opportunity to bring “energy and excitement” to the area. He said, “We did think very carefully about what is that journey through the space, what are those focal points when you walk in the door, what are those secondary pieces you start to see as you make your way through but still keeping customer needs in mind.” In addition to thinking about the tactile experience, Feist sought to ensure that the bank’s connection to not only Chase Center, but also basketball remained a priority.

In order to highlight the link to the sport, Feist chose to incorporate a nostalgic design. Perhaps that decision is no more evident than in the bleacher seats resembling an old basketball gym to the right of the bank’s entryway. Feist leaned into the nostalgia for the seats and it shows. The construction team used reclaimed wood from an actual high school basketball gym to build the seats and worked to give the seats that old, worn look. The wood was also repurposed to build sections of basketball court on various sections on the walls of the branch.

A quick look up while inside the branch reveals a 26-foot high exposed ceiling that ties together the intended industrial look of old basketball gymnasiums. The lighting fixtures further add to the nostalgic atmosphere that Feist intended. “We thought a lot about the tactile experience of the space; the textures we would introduce to the space, the materials, the lighting and how those can actually harken back to where we are (in this arena).”

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Chase Center continues to focus on sustainable efforts, with the new Chase bank branch paralleling the venue’s green goals. Fiest is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified architect along with several of the designers of the branch, therefore sustainably-sourced material was a significant factor in the construction of the bank.

The new Chase bank branch is a successful example of adapting to the evolving elements the banking industry in more ways than one. A customer-focused operational approach combined with a thoughtful design process makes this particular Chase location something special. Meyer perhaps summed up the combined efforts it took to reach this point, saying “This entire team takes it very, very seriously. They’re designers first, they’re architects, they’re problem solvers — so when we get a challenge and an opportunity that is just this magnificent — it makes me very proud.”