Magazine article American Banker

N.J.'S Hudson United Unveils Branch Design

Magazine article American Banker

N.J.'S Hudson United Unveils Branch Design

Article excerpt

New Jersey's Hudson United Bancorp is betting that modern furnishings, self-service kiosks, and magazine reading areas will draw customers to its branches.

The $7 billion-asset company unveiled a prototype branch Monday in its hometown of Mahwah. It is the first of 166 branches the company is revamping as part of a multimillion-dollar campaign to make them more inviting and customer-friendly.

"We compete in markets with many large banks that have been trying to drive traffic out of the branches," said Susan Staudmyer, executive vice president of retail banking, who is spearheading the project. "Our focus is to provide a high level of touch."

The branches, or stores, will feature Internet terminals, magazine racks with business periodicals, and self-service areas where customers can check the status of their accounts. Reference materials will be available for prospective investors.

Hudson United, parent company of Hudson United Bank, plans to renovate its branches in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York during the coming year.

The new look, which has been on the drawing board for nine months, is designed to give employees the opportunity to cross-sell products. Instead of sitting behind teller windows, bank employees will roam the branch as they would at a retail store.

Homebuyers will also be able to do their own underwriting exercise at a terminal to determine whether they would qualify for a mortgage.

"Our research tells us that customers respond very positively to selfhelp features, things that make them feel more in control," Ms. …

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