You walk into the new TD Bank branch in uptown Manhattan and there is so much fresh technology in it, it takes a few minutes to dawn on you that something’s not there:
“Where’s the coin counting machine?”
TD Bank “stores,” as they call them, are famous for those machines and much imitated. But the missing public coin counting machine is part of the plan behind the tellerless “new concept branch” that TD Bank opened at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 86th Street on Sept. 9.
Bank and run (underground)
TD Bank markets itself as “America’s Most Convenient Bank”—the line is actually registered—and this branch’s design accounts for the fact that it sits at the nexus of three major subway lines and several bus lines, both public transit and private excursion.
Two walls are dominated by plasma screens. While the rotating displays cover TD products and community service and present archival photos of the neighborhood, perhaps the most useful data are up-to-the minute postings about service conditions on the subway lines beneath the store.
“High traffic” doesn’t do the location justice. It’s a hopping corner, and TD Banker Carol Ann Hasenstab, vice-president, retail market manager, Manhattan East Region, helped half a dozen customers and prospects during a 25-minute visit. And that was in the middle of the first big rain the city had had in weeks.
“This store is about coming in and getting out,” says Hasenstab.
Besides four advanced ATMs, the store features a central concierge station where bankers on lobby duty can look up records and more. That’s the featured human touch at this office, though there is a small allotment of office space behind the scenes for private consultations. Some bank services are not available, but, true to TD Bank’s saturation branching strategy, there’s an existing traditional store and a new full-service one within a short walk either east or west of the new concept location.
While there’s an emphasis on speed and throughput, TD Bank’s design also incorporates additional tech elements to serve customers who want to find out more about certain services or to handle other business.
“We look at this as a teller-less sales center,” says Chris Giamo, TD Bank regional president, metro New York. From the store’s central standup concierge podium, a banker can talk to a customer with a question, dart over to help a customer with an ATM question, or show customers how to use the small bank of tablets on tethers one of the store’s window walls.
If necessary, the banker can use a special key to untether the tablet the customer is using if privacy is requested. It’s the high-tech version of unlocking those old pens chained to the check counter.
The bankers manning the concierge station is trained as a “Customer Solutions Associate,” a new position for the company.
Rethinking the traditional store
“This branch is especially for TD Bank clients who are comfortable with technology,” Giamo explains. The new concept is not intended to replace existing store templates at this point—TD has 129 stores in the five boros of New York City—but to serve the tech-friendly customer. Videoconferencing in the new concept template permits customers to consult with TD Bank specialists.
As customer preferences evolve the mix of features in TD Bank stores will evolve, Gaimo indicates. But the bank believes at this time many customers still value branch service.
The New York location is one of three variations on the new concept approach. One in Baltimore, Md., opened in 2014 , and one, sharing space with corporate affiliate TD Ameritrade, opened the same week as the N.Y. office, in Naples, Fla.
“It’s true that millennials are more interested than others in technology,” says Giamo, “but I’ve seen all of our client base using more technology. So there will be something for everybody.”
Customers of TD Bank's new concept office at New York City's Lexington Avenue and 86th Street can keep their eyes on their trains beneath the store while doing their banking business.