Regions Brings New Format, Technology to New Branches

By Andy Meek

When Regions Bank holds the grand opening for its new Downtown branch at 88 Union Ave. on March 17, one of the things on display will be a vision of what Regions sees as the future of banking.

For one thing, the new 3,500-square-foot location at the northwest corner of Main Street and Union Avenue - the result of consolidating existing branches at 158 Madison Ave. and 50 N. Front St. - will have a modern, open layout with no teller line. Instead of having that be a center of activity as it is in traditional branches, customers will by greeted by so-called universal bankers.

Those employees will be trained to handle any need that customers present them with. Technology also plays a big part in the new branch, with Regions including its new Video Teller service that connects customers to a “Regions Video Banker” via live two-way video.

There’s also a DepositSmart ATM in the branch’s 24-hour vestibule that, in addition to dispensing cash, can accept deposits and cash checks. And customers using safe deposit boxes will encounter Regions’ facial recognition and fingerprint technology that uses several layers of technology to enhance security.


“We’re not done yet, and anytime you think you’re done - in a higher-tech environment, you’ve got to constantly be listening to customers and coming up with the next version of banking,” said David May, West Tennessee-area president for Regions.

The new branch is representative not only of the indispensable role played by the latest technology. It’s also a reminder that, while digital platforms increasingly eat a bigger slice of the banking activity pie, the physical branch is still a critical hub for players like Regions that want to make sure they’re well positioned to capture traffic from customers who still insist on face-to-face interactions for some of their needs.

Banks like Regions and others, though, are continuing to reimagine how those interactions can take place - thus, things like universal bankers and video banking.

“The universal banker format came from listening to our customers,” May said. “It’s sort of like the Apple store. Anybody you meet in the branch can handle any of your needs. There’s no teller line, no rope line. It’s a much sharper, professional feel for customers and they really seem to enjoy it.”

Including Memphis, Regions has now deployed its Video Teller service in eight markets covering multiple states. Among their benefits, they have longer hours than the branches themselves.

Regions has been slowly introducing them to more of its Memphis-area branches, and they’ll be present in the new Regions branch at 1284 Germantown Road that’s opening in April.

May said the customers have received them especially warmly in Memphis, taking to the video tellers faster here than in other markets. He attributes it to the Memphis area having the kind of population base where a large number of workers have jobs that prevent them from visiting a bank during normal operating hours.

May said things like that - as well as the arrival of yet another branch, in April - are all products of “listening to our customers.”

“You’ve got to let the customer choose how they want to do their banking,” May said. “When people are interacting with us now, live, it’s a deeper, richer conversation. It’s not like it was several decades ago.”