Architectural Design Works
22 West Allegheny Ave., Suite 301
Towson, MD 21204

Freedom Federal Credit Union

Rethinking branch banking spurns experience for members

Client Freedom Federal Credit Union
Location Rt. 22 in Fountain Green and
Rt. 924 in Abingdon
Cost $1.1M ± (Rt. 22)
$975,000 ± interior only (Rt. 924)
Size 4,250 SF (Rt. 22)
6,500 SF (Rt. 924)
Completion 2002

The CEO of Freedom Federal handed ADW’s Paul Thompson a book titled The Experience Economy by Parker & Gilmore and said “This is where I want to take banking in Harford County!” The premise of the book is how businesses can create an experience for their customers that keep them coming back. For example, our parents bought $2.00 in commodities and baked a birthday cake, invited friends over, and had a birthday party. What do we do? We take our kids to Chuck-E-Cheese for a three-hour experience, which is more memorable and profitable! The CEO of Freedom Federal challenged ADW to create a “Disneyesque environment” that brought customers into the bank for an experience they couldn’t get at home in their pajamas on a PC.

The interiors of both branches are very different than your typical bank branch. The design does not feature a typical straight teller line. Upon entry, you are immediately met by a friendly greeter/concierge who welcomes you and directs you to the services you require. Express teller stations get you in and out quickly, if desired. A curved teller queue allows for stations that accommodate both standup account transactions and sit-down loan transactions, without going to another area of the branch. This reduces staffing costs and increases profitability. A customer lounge was designed where teens can surf the Internet, stock reports are displayed on a flat screen, and a refreshment station. The lobby features a large display area for car, boat, and home improvement companies to present their products and services. The Credit Union not only adds a visual dynamic to their banking floor but steps up competition among loan “brokers” in the market place.

“Whoever sells the most loans in a given month gets to feature their products and their company in our branches.” Freedom and ADW's Design Team created a unique “experience” that fosters a personal connection between the Credit Union and their members while increasing membership.

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"ADW has designed a Disneyesque experience environment that has helped FFCU take banking in Harford County to a whole other level."
—George Scheeler, CEO


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