National Bank of Canada
Monday 18 Mar 2013


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Financial institutions once occupied prestigious and opulent buildings and locations in every city and town. They oozed intimidation, grandeur and wealth. Then, with cities sprawling, bank branches became nameless and faceless boxes. It seemed we’d soon had limited physical bank locations, using only banking machines and online banking. Now we are starting to see banks wanting to talk to us again. This global trend is also true for the National Bank of Canada.

Our client was well informed of these trends and came to us with the following main objectives; to establish their brand presence in the greater Toronto area (Canada’s financial capital). Secondly, to support their new slogan which places emphasis on service. And finally, the ‘Educate more; sell less’ approach with their customers.

Located in the heart of the Toronto’s financial district, this new space also came with a few unique characteristics. The 10 000 sq ft of ground floor space was entirely separated by the building lobby. This was a big issue from an operational point of view and as wanting to create a visual impact. The physical constraint forced us to rethink the operations of a bank. The solution was to separate the Retail section (counter and teller) from the Advisory section (consultant).

All the new elements support the idea of providing service to customers, starting with a dedicated hostess, as an initial encounter. We started with a ‘greeter’ to welcome the customer and guide them to the proper area, explain some of the new features in the bank, or simply relieve the customers wait time.A “Did you know?” unit with screen prints. iPads are also new to the bank, allowing the customer to research a particular topic at their own leisure. In keeping with the brand consistency, we thought it was a great way to connect to the web or virtual world within the physical location. A ‘beverage bar’ was introduced where customers can freely serve themselves while waiting or lingering in the lounge area. They can relax sitting comfortably in a hotel setting with a modern fireplace and in lounge seating while viewing the media wall or check up on their stocks using free Wi-Fi. Away with the traditional setting of the pin-striped suit advisor behind an oak desk and in with a more informal approach with a low circular table and banquette type seating in the front retail section. Customers feel less committed with a more casual setting for an initial meeting.

The fact that the National Bank, in less than 3 months after opening, is gearing up with a national roll out plan to apply this new concept to their other branches is a true sign that their goals were accomplished, and even perhaps exceeded some of their expectations! 

Ruscio Studio Inc.

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