We often hear from people who are considering a new branch, but don't know where to go and don't know how to get from the initial thought process to hiring someone to find land or start the design of their new building. Don't worry! We're here to help, even during pre-design stages. Below are some frequently asked questions we get during these early stages in new branch idea generation:
I WANT A NEW BRANCH, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START.
The easy answer is to just call us. We offer a lot of free services to financial institutions that are part of Louisiana Credit Union League or Louisiana Bankers Association, and at the very least, we can tell you in great detail what sort of services we offer that will help you get started.
Usually, we end up in planning sessions with you to determine any number of issues you may be having such as: location studies (so you don’t go into a spot that won’t perform), feasibility studies (so you don’t have issues with ratios or demographics), “all-in” budget analysis (so you don’t get surprised when you find out most architects do only construction estimates without furniture, equipment, etc. factored in), or test fits for a site you already have or a lease space you’re thinking of going into but you’re not sure if it’s right.
It won’t cost you anything to call us and ask what we have to offer, and if you’re part of an organization, we may send you our free services sheets to allow you a way to get started with us without costing you a dime.
I DON’T KNOW IF THIS “BRANCH OF THE FUTURE” STUFF IS RIGHT FOR ME, BUT I’M CURIOUS AND WANT TO KNOW MORE.
We have done talks and webinars all over the country to educate people who are curious - just like you. If our online information is not enough, we have additional information about the types of culture and operational procedures you need to have in place in order to start building your own branch of the future. New branch types and transaction platforms are not for everyone, and no financial institution should go into it blindly. Plenty of banks are still doing traditional teller line type build outs in smaller branches, and we wouldn’t want any client to go into something just because it’s trendy if it’s not truly right for them, so please talk to us.
DON’T I NEED A BIG CITY, NATIONAL FIRM TO DO THIS KIND OF LEADING EDGE WORK?
A lot of our competitors say that you shouldn’t get a local architect when you can get someone with national experience and expertise. Don’t be fooled – you may be able to get both!
Labarre Associates, Inc. is headquartered in Louisiana and works throughout the Gulf Region as a “bleeding-edge” expert in financial institution design. We are ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing new technology, as we work with institutions to push the boundaries of what’s available beyond “leading edge” design. When most of our competitors were barely designing any new branches during the financial downturn, we were ramping up our expertise in the branch of the future and designing smaller branches. When you are looking for an architect, ask how many repeat clients they’ve had during the last five years (so you know if they’re familiar with leading edge design initiatives), and how many branches they’ve done for them (so you know if clients are really happy and profitable with their designs). Labarre has over 90% repeat client business and has done 25 branches over the last 5 years in the state of Louisiana alone, most of them non-traditional branch of the future type projects. That’s why we have multiple clients who have experience with national design firms who stick with us and have said they will never go back.