PNC remakes area branches to be more tech savvy

This isn't your average bank. PNC is going for comfort and technology with its new and revamped branches.

PNC has redesigned all 16 of its branches in the Orlando area and is opening three new ones, with the goal of making them more like Apple stores than traditional banking sites.

Gone are tellers and tables to fill out deposit and withdrawal slips and in is a more cozy feel, but one loaded with technological touches like iPads and multimedia screens.


The 16 revamped branches were given soft openings last month and are now fully open for business. They are in Orange, Seminole and Lake counties.

Of the new branches one, on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park, will open Tuesday. Another new one, also in Winter Park, on Lee Road and US 17-92, should be open by early summer of next year. The third, in Mills Park, near downtown Orlando, should open by early spring of next year.


The goal of this multimillion technological endeavor is to better appeal to a customer base that is moving away from brick and mortar and turning increasingly to computers and mobile devices to take care of their financial services.

PNC notes that half the bank's customers already largely do their banking through the Web or mobile devices. Orlando was chosen as the first Florida location for a program the bank will ultimately roll out at roughly 300 branches nationwide.

Other large banks have recognized the trend and are creating their own versions of technologically savvy branches.

"Consumer preferences are changing and we want to be able to respond," said Marco Santoro, regional manager of the Orlando area for PNC, in his first interview about the transformation. "It's about preference; what where and how customers bank."

So, instead of standing in line and waiting for a teller, customers will be greeted at the door. From there they can use a variety of technological tools to check on their accounts and they can also talk to a financial specialist if they want that personal touch.

If they want more detailed information, the specialist will refer them to a loan officer, or financial planner, for example.

Santoro said the new approach should strengthen relationships with developers and builders, a group the bank is already lending heavily to.

For instance, two of the three new branches are in Winter Park, where PNC predicts a lot more building, estimating 2,300 new homes over the next five years.


"It's a great area where we see a lot of opportunity for growth," Santoro said.

The other new branch is in Mills Park, an up-and-coming area.

Developers PNC contracted with for the new branches are UP Development and DeBartolo Development.

Contractors were Vericon Construction and Mills Albu & Associates.

Architects involved in the project were Gensler and InterPlan.

"Orlando is booming and that means there will be more needs," Santoro said. "That's why we're making such an investment."


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