GSB Merges History & Technology in New Madison Branch

Apr 08, 2014 |

Artist's Rendering of GSB's new Madison office A nearly four year project has culminated in the unveiling of a new style of branch for Guilford Savings Bank.  After purchasing an iconic building in downtown Madison in 2010, the process to save the building and convert it into useful space began. “We wanted to make sure that we preserved the history of the building while also making the space functional,” said Timothy Geelan, President & CEO.  “Making it work meant that every detail needed to be carefully planned.” The original house was built in 1812, 63 years before the Bank’s founding in 1875.  Seeing an opportunity to meld the past and the present, the bank partnered with Russell Campaign and Mary Jo Kessner of CK Architects (Guilford) and Tom Tolla of Construction Services Unlimited (Guilford) to bring the idea to life. For GSB, this melding is similar to its own path.  “As a 139 year-old Bank, we’ve been working to stay true to our roots while also evolving to meet our customers’ changing needs,” commented Renee Pallenberg, SVP Retail Banking & Marketing. The new branch is a warm and inviting space, with classic scrollwork throughout the lobby and white marble style countertops common in historic post offices.  Two fireplaces from the original building were preserved, as was a historic glass window that will remain in the new space. To incorporate technology, the Bank has placed iPad and Android Tablets in the lobby, available for use by customers while they wait or relax.  Guest Wi-Fi has also been installed, allowing customers to use their own devices.  The traditional teller line has been reimagined to create an inviting, welcoming space.  Its new design features two sit-down stations, allowing customers to feel more relaxed while working with a GSB team member. “In the past decade, banking has changed significantly,” said Geelan.  “Many of our customers perform day-to-day transactions at home on their computer or mobile devices.  When they come into a branch, we want to make sure they feel relaxed and comfortable.” The bank also included a dialog center, which allows a team member to engage with customers in the lobby.  The dialog center is designed to foster conversation, address questions on the spot, or easily transition into a private office. “By bringing our team out into the lobby, we align even more with who we are,” said Pallenberg.  “We are a part of the community, here to be your trusted advisors and give back.  By coming out from behind our desks, we’re able to break down the literal barriers between us and our customers.” The traditional comforts of home aren’t going away either.  A coffee bar, large relaxing chairs and fresh baked cookies will be available in the lobby. To celebrate the branch opening and to emphasize its commitment to the community, the Bank has created a challenge grant whereby it will match all donations to The Madison Foundation--up to $10,000-- through May 31, 2014. As Madison’s own community foundation, TMF provides support to individuals and organizations that serve the community’s social, cultural, environmental, educational and recreational needs. The Bank has a long-standing commitment to local philanthropy and TMF, and is pleased to use the branch opening to support local needs.  “This branch brings history, community and technology together in a unique way,” said Charles Havrda, Chairman of the Board.  “We believe this to be our gift to the community.”

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