How to present a consistent member experience across a family of credit union brands?
Ratio designed a forward-thinking branch concept for a fast-growing credit union with a visionary operational model.
Valley First Credit Union is a part of the 40-plus First West Credit Union family of credit union brands. With a 65-year history, started from humble beginnings, Valley First is a vital member of the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson communities. With sixteen branches and 11 insurance offices under the Valley First flag, they are committed to the communities they serve. Branch members have a powerful connection to staff and the strength of this relationship is the framework for the branch network design.
Ratio was initially engaged to address the design of a community room in a single branch. However, after exploring the issues, we challenged First West to capitalize on a larger opportunity to make an impact with a cohesive branch design concept encompassing all their credit union brands. As a family of brands, an opportunity for First West to present a consistent member experience throughout the network became a driving force in the design.
Our design solution features open, engaging branch spaces that promote staff interaction and personal service. The member hall in the centre of the branch reinforces the member as foundation of the credit union. The design platform also introduces subtle aesthetic cues through materials and finishes to acknowledge regional geographic and local demographic differences. Valley First’s brand driver is their Signature Cause, known locally as Feed the Valley. In Valley First’s own words, “Feed the Valley is an innovative community partnership aimed at tackling hunger in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys.” Branch entries replace corporate identification with a custom designed, food donation drop box.