Banking, Finance & Wealth Mgmt

Lead Bank Settles into New Crossroads Location and Approach

Lead Bank moves into the Crossroads with a new approach to connecting with customers.

When Lead Bank started looking at potential locations for a new branch in 2010, it wasn’t just a question about where to go, but also what a bank branch’s mission should be in this day and age.

“There’s a lot of industry concern that branches are underutilized, yet they represent a significant investment for the bank to have this real estate, the bricks and mortar,” explains Josh Rowland, Lead Bank vice chairman. “When we thought about trying to get down in the Crossroads and expand our footprint and become really the Kansas City bank that we wanted to, we had to address the question of why. What are we going to do there that tips the balance in favor of bricks and mortar and putting ourselves right there?”

The branch recently opened with features designed to engage the Crossroads community both within the space and online and change how Lead Bank does business. Gone are offices, replaced by a sleek expanse of tables, modern booths, a café-style lobby (complete with coffee from neighbor Thou Mayest) and meeting rooms, although there is still a small teller desk.

Staff members, all trained as universal bankers, are now out in the open and available to help clients as they walk in.

“The idea is we’re not going to force you to go talk to somebody else,” Rowland says. “We’re not going to make you sit in front of a big mahogany desk with a brass nameplate on it; we’re going to try to tackle the problem or that opportunity for you right away.”

It also means clients have access to the expertise of senior staff members, who in turn get to spend time with the customers getting the most out of the bank, he adds.

Of course in the digital era, some people prefer to do things online rather than sit beside a banker. Services such as opening an account are integrated between the web and location; clients can open an account online, but come in for help to finish the process.

Lead Bank Crossroads also features Workbench, a built-in station ideal for small business owners. Equipped with the metro’s only MX8800 ATM, an advanced ATM with multiple security measures that can dispense cash in any denomination, as well as a portal to the internet, Rowland envisions it as a place where business owners can make deposits and withdrawals, pay invoices, and authorize payroll all in one location. The station is also set up for video-conferencing, so if a question comes up, the client can video chat with a specific banker at any Lead Bank branch, a feature also available from booths.

Beyond its banking services, Lead Bank is providing office space to LaunchKC’s 2015 grant recipients, startups selected to develop their businesses in KCMO during Techweek. The second and third floors of the building are under renovation for future tenants, and its fourth floor rooftop meeting space and patio, boasting a spectacular view of the downtown skyline, is available to customers. It also serves as a retail event space managed by Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions.

Rowland hopes features like the event space and the walk-up ATM help make the bank feel like part of the neighborhood.

“We want to be places where there’s a lot of activity and where people are really focused on the development of the neighborhood. There’s a lot of positive energy behind what’s going on here, and that just suits us perfectly.”