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Can You Dig It

Physical bank branches still have their place

The interior of Peoples Security Bank and Trust's new Bethlehem Township location, built by Ondra-Huyett Associates Inc.
The interior of Peoples Security Bank and Trust's new Bethlehem Township location, built by Ondra-Huyett Associates Inc. - (Photo / )

As technology continues its transformation of the way people do business, that same trend can be seen in the newest brick-and-mortar banks that open.

Many are smaller than their older counterparts and employ far fewer people since a growing number of consumers bank remotely.

But of course, many people, myself included, still need to visit a bank for one reason or another.

Often, it’s a lot easier to talk to someone face-to-face when you have questions about your account or a bank’s products and services.

Now, today’s banks are a far cry from the vast marble-countered buildings of decades past which had high ceilings and that velvet rope to guide everyone waiting in line for tellers to cash or deposit their checks.

Banks now are sleeker, with wide digital screens on the walls that can do everything from advertising loan options to giving advice to consumers. Furniture often is modern and inviting, and the overall look is a place that’s more appealing and less bland. Colors are bright and vibrant and the open atmosphere is aimed to present a feeling of collaboration and transparency.

These days, physical branches offer more than transaction services.

One example of today’s modern bank can be found at Peoples Security Bank & Trust, which recently opened its newest location in the Greater Lehigh Valley, a retail branch and operations center on Emrick Boulevard in Bethlehem Township.

The site formerly had The Provident Bank as a tenant, which since moved. Peoples Security occupies about 12,000 square feet, the entire first floor, while another firm is taking 2,100 square feet on the second floor, said Neal Koplin, executive vice president, Lehigh Valley and Greater Delaware region president of Peoples Security.

Koplin said the building has about 7,500 square feet to lease for offices.

On the bank’s first floor, spaces are divided for the branch, business center and wealth management office. He said the branch employs 21 people.

Ondra-Huyett Associates Inc. of Upper Macungie Township renovated the building and had an aggressive timeline. Construction included major upgrades to the building systems, site improvements, façade and main entrance replacement and interior finishes.

On the exterior, Ondra-Huyett created a building with many large windows to bring in more natural daylight, yet another way illustrating how today’s banking institutions have evolved.

For a look at how branches are being redesigned, read our Focus on Banking article on Page 13 in the June 19 print edition, for subscribers only.

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