Centralized control for financial institutions is critical in providing a seamless consumer experience.

Financial Operations Centers combine back-of-house functions to support the public facing branches. As financial institutions increasingly resemble tech companies, operations centers are being transformed to combine customized banking processes and systems with technology that can manage and deliver.

Depending on the size of the institution and the services offered, those centers might include teams of people focused on three primary categories: operations like card services, member/customer experience, and interactive teller machines; information technology infrastructure, application, and administration; and business support like human resources, marketing, and legal.

When designing operations centers for banks and credit unions, here are five key things to consider.



While financial institutions generally want to ensure they have convenient branch locations for their consumers, it’s also important to keep location in mind when it comes to operations centers. Companies need to be able to attract talent with a wide range of skills, so that means building an operations center in a place that is appealing to prospective employees and has access to amenities. Since operations centers often serve a large geographic area, choosing a centralized location is also critical to serving the consumer.



The Teams and Their Functions

This is perhaps the most important aspect when designing a new operations center. What do the employees need in terms of physical space to be able to do their jobs well? Some teams work closely with one another and need more space for collaboration.

Others are working with sensitive, confidential material and need secure, private spaces. Understanding which roles require employees to be in the office on a regular basis and which are more hybrid/remote can help when planning the configuration of the building.

ALEC community hub with exposed X bracing
ALEC community hub with exposed X bracing


Organization-Wide Training

Training new staff on company standards and teaching existing staff new technologies and procedures enables financial institutions to succeed. Large gathering spaces and training rooms located within an operations center provide a venue for company-wide participation. These become beneficial spaces for operations personnel and consumer-facing staff to meet at a centralized location. Leveraging the versatility of a large space, organizations are also using this space to host community-centric events.



Plan for Growth

Operations centers are getting larger and branches are getting smaller. As more institutions shift from in-person tellers and ATMs to online services and ITMs, the support staff must grow. Contact centers, including ITM video conferencing, require a retail feel for the remote environment. Planning for space to accommodate this function in the future is necessary to consider on day one. Not only is it important to meet the needs of the current workforce, but it’s essential to anticipate how many people will be hired in the future to fill roles that might not currently exist.

SAFE Ops Center
SAFE Ops Center


The Company’s Brand

Retail locations or satellite branches can and should represent the financial institution image, but the corporate headquarters also needs to reinforce the brand to employees. A subtle use of brand color, carefully curated brand messaging, and intentional design elements foster employee belonging. The design of the operations center can help the workforce become and stay more engaged. A well-thought-out facility with a people-first design goes a long way in creating a healthy culture and making it a place where employees enjoy going every day.


Copyright ©2024 Design Collaborative