Besides identifying McLean as the ideal location in which we
could expand the Northwest footprint in the area, the planning and forethought
involved in the design of this new branch was centered around creating a truly
That’s what Northwest is all about. We want to connect with
our members and our community directly whenever possible. We want to eliminate
any walls that might prohibit open conversations. We believe in full
Enter the open
The McLean branch planning committee decided to remove wood walls and
build office spaces with clean lines and all glass areas. Three glass offices
were created: one for financial advising, and two for member service areas.
These areas have a shared desk and a monitor on each side – one for the
employee and one for the member – so the member can see everything on the
Northwest monitor when they open an account or make a change.
“We wanted to eliminate barriers, literally and
figuratively, like the teller line and high desk structures prevalent in
traditional branch settings,” said Jeff Margeson, SVP Retail for Northwest.
“Our members can see exactly what is happening as it is happening with a dual
monitor set up and open concept design.”
This set up is conducive to face-to-face interactions,
encouraging open conversations and allowing relationships to develop more
naturally. One service area is ADA-compliant for our physically challenged
population, and the open design allows tellers to work together easily as
needed in the branch or for training.
These tenets were
also taken into account in constructing the outside ATM. The all-aluminum
structure provides a shine from reflecting light, creating added visibility at
night. Well-placed security cameras in front and back heighten the inherent
security features of this new branch.
“The other benefit to this open and transparent plan is
that it gives the entire branch a higher level of security,” said Northwest SVP
Operations Milly Cramer. “We want to make sure our members and our employees
feel safe at all times by having a complete line of sight in branch operations
and while using the ATM.”
McLean is a full-service branch conveniently located in a thriving strip
mall at 1312-B Chain Bridge Road. Even the egress was a deciding factor in
selecting the location; it sits on a corner that is easy to enter and exit.
McLean will be adding coffee stations so members can enjoy a hot
beverage before or during their transaction. “It’s really a branch of the
future,” said Margeson. “Previous branches of old were somewhat cold and
institutional in their design, and it became cookie cutter in the industry.”
The McLean branch held its Grand Opening this past July to
a cheering crowd, welcoming new neighbors and members into the comfortable and
“If we want our
members – and potential members – to feel comfortable, we needed to create the
right environment for that,” added Cramer. “That’s what we’ve done.”