Architects and contractors can design and construct an operations center for a bank, but ensuring that it caters to the institution’s unique growth trajectory requires meticulous planning.

The facility’s usage must justify the investment – whether it aims to streamline operations, serve new consumers, attract top talent or achieve a combination of these objectives. That means boards and executives need to carefully consider considerations that go into planning and data-backed insights into large-scale builds.

When considering an operations center, executives should focus on three primary categories of considerations: strategy, culture and scale. In order to develop a strategy, executives should determine the growth trajectory and the sources of growth. Additionally, it’s crucial that they assess technological changes and anticipated regulatory requirements. Understanding the bank’s organizational culture informs how the workforce collaborates and interacts and should influence the design and work style of the center. And the scale of a project like this involves setting a timeline, investment and organizational impact, which helps with aligning for future needs.

It’s essential that executives evaluate the current conditions of the institution to shed light on available resources and set the foundation for the planning process. Financial considerations involve assessing affordability, including capital expenditure, additional depreciation and operating expenses, which impacts the bank’s return on assets and return on equity. Planners should map out employee conveniences, such as commute times and preferred modes of transportation. They must examine existing administrative facilities and land options to determine their potential for accommodating additional employees. Market evaluations should consider future hiring potential and the market’s ability to support the new facility’s value.

Assessing employee growth potential is a critical calculation for executives and boards that relies on historical trends and insights from department leaders. Planners should project and predict the number of administrative employees needed over an anticipated timeframe, which can provide valuable guidance. Market conditions also play a significant role in positioning the operations center: executives should consider factors such as market size, demographics, socioeconomics, traffic patterns and real estate conditions when determining the center’s location.

Banks should evaluate deployment strategies with a comprehensive understanding of their future needs and market conditions. Lease, build or purchase and renovate each have their own costs and benefits that should align with a bank’s specific criteria. Planners should evaluate the time value of money, cost versus opportunity and the market impact to compare these options and identify the best value for the organization.

Bringing a project like this to life requires addressing the most important aspects early on by aligning the planning team’s objectives with the organization’s goals. Although perfection is rare, a thorough planning process ensures a bank leverages informed decision-making and maximizes the investment’s value. Once the bank makes a deployment decision, they can shift their focus to the exciting task of designing the new space.

Planning plays a vital role in designing an operations center that supports a financial institution’s distinctive growth trajectory. Considering a bank’s strategy, culture, scale, current conditions, employee growth potential, market conditions and deployment strategies allows organizations to make informed decisions and optimize their investment. A well-planned operations center sets the stage for success and helps a bank thrive in the future.

Tom Kennedy