Sioux Falls banks buck trend, open new branches

This piece is brought to you by TSP.

For more than a decade, financial industry experts have predicted online banking’s convenience would eliminate the need for branches.

Nationally, branch banks are shrinking in numbers. In Sioux Falls, however, their numbers are increasing, while branches and parent banks look to enhance the customer experience through an emphasis on personal relationships, flexible work spaces — and coffee.

Sioux Falls is a high-growth market, said Doug Tribble, Sioux Falls market president for American Bank & Trust. It will open branches this year in remodeled spaces at River Centre and at 41st Street and Sycamore Avenue.

“It’s attractive to banks in the region that are looking for growth,” he said.

Paul Boerboom, a senior architect with TSP Inc., sees the expansion. He most recently designed branches for The First National Bank in Sioux Falls and First Dakota National Bank. The First National Bank will open its Arrowhead Parkway branch this month. A branch on South Louise Avenue, opening this year, will focus on agriculture lending.

The new First National Bank branch on Arrowhead Parkway opens later this month.

The First National Bank, with six of its 17 locations in retirement communities, is seeing rapid expansion of its younger customers, said chief deposit officer Jeff Russell. An eastern Sioux Falls location is a perfect fit to serve existing clients while expanding, he said.

To meet those needs, the Arrowhead branch is moving away from the traditional teller line, Boerboom said. It’s designed to accommodate teller pods and a freestanding countertop or kiosk.

“The customer walks in and is greeted by the banker,” Boerboom said. “You can literally walk around to the same side, so you’re looking at the same screen your customer rep is looking at. It’s moving away from the teller line that forms a barrier.”

The First National Bank in Sioux Falls is opening a branch on the east side of the city.

Cash recyclers are replacing traditional cash drawers. Boerboom described them as “mini-ATM safes.” The teller can deposit and withdraw money, but no drawer offers access to the cash.

Also a thing of the past in branch banks: vaults to hold cash and safety-deposit boxes.

“I first started doing banks back in the 1980s or ’90s, and you’d have triple-reinforced concrete walls with a big door,” Boerboom said. “At Arrowhead, they use freestanding safes for safety-deposit boxes. Those safes are so secure they don’t have to put (boxes) in the vault.”

In 2016, First Dakota National Bank opened a branch in Vermillion featuring a full coffee shop and after-hours access to groups needing a meeting space. Its newest Sioux Falls location, the branch at 69th Street and Western Avenue, offers self-serve coffee.

First Dakota National Bank at 69th and Western

Client numbers at all First Dakota’s local branches have exceeded expectations, said Mike Ness, First Dakota president/market manager for Sioux Falls.

“As much as the banking environment has shifted, with people not using safety-deposit boxes the way they once did, they still want face-to-face transactions for certain things,” he said.

The Vermillion branch uses teller pods, but the south Sioux Falls branch features a teller line with a service-oriented staff, said Jason Kann, an architectural graduate at TSP.

That branch deliberately moved away from a bank’s traditional dark wood paneling and marble floors, Kann said. Instead, it projects a modern and progressive image with metal panels, cut stone and a waterfall and fountain.

First Dakota National Bank installed a waterfall and fountain at its branch at 69th Street and Western Avenue.

Ideas that work in new structures also serve remodeled bank branches well, said TSP interior designer Karen Mutschelknaus.

American Bank & Trust hired Journey Group to take care of its two remodeling projects. Journey turned to Mutschelknaus to modernize the interiors’ look and feel.

“We’ll have a very warm, welcoming area for the customer, technology, LEDs and a coffee shop environment,” Tribble said.

Mutschelknaus also is at work on First National’s Arrowhead branch. She chose a modular wall system with glass partitions that move as office needs dictate.

“As a designer, it’s my job to make the customers feel welcome in that space.”

Sioux Falls banks buck trend, open new branches

Nationally, branch banks are shrinking in numbers. In Sioux Falls, however, their numbers are increasing, while branches and parent banks look to enhance the customer experience through an emphasis on personal relationships, flexible work spaces — and coffee.

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