If These Walls Could Talk: Creating Places that Innovate Financial Institutions
A core value of KZF Design is trust. Trust earned; trust given – creating ongoing trust that undergirds solid client relationships is a driving force at KZF. Trust is the basis of return patronage; without trust projects are just a series of transactions, one-off interactions, only concerned with the here and now. KZF works to achieve designer-owner trust through continuing client satisfaction, driven by maintaining integrity and delivering on promises with proven results.
The highly successful relationship KZF has developed with Diamond Credit Union is prime example of the mutually beneficial value of building trust between the architect/engineer and client. KZF Senior Vice President Jeff Evans and Project Manager Justin Jones have built and enjoy a long-standing relationship with Diamond Credit Union which began in 1998 and continues into this newest decade of the current millennia. “We began with the design of their headquarters office in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and since that time have been involved in the design and construction of all seven branches,” says Evans, “and we are currently developing programming and workplace strategies for further Diamond growth and expansion.”
Diamond Credit Union President/CEO John Faust says, “Diamond has been and will continue to strategically expand its branch footprint while many other financial institutions are shrinking their physical presence.” Diamond has also engaged KZF to renovate existing branches, desiring to create a unified yet unique look to each facility, using architecture and design to reinforce identity and branding. Jeff Evans adds, “Diamond feels their ‘physical design image’ is extremely important in terms of what it means and says about their members and community. Diamond is a rare client in that they truly understand and appreciate the value that the A/E design brings to their organization.” A current project involves a renovation of a branch inside Tower Health Reading Hospital to incorporate the branded aesthetic.
Diamond Credit Union is continually trying to improve services for their members. This is achieved by a consistent push for innovation in services and physical locations. Diamond executives are involved throughout the design process. They remain true to the overall design vision but are always looking to improve on the last project. KZF designers enjoy the creative challenge this presents as well as working the Diamond representatives, who place their trust in the expertise KZF brings to their projects.
KZF also works with Diamond to incorporate the latest technology and security into their locations. “Security is critical in any operation which handles cash, as is access and reduced physical boundaries along the lines of ADA requirements,” says Faust, “We work hand in hand with KZF to provide the safest possible facilities while also maintaining open spaces with ample windows and daylighting, that offer complete accessibility to members of all abilities.” Diamond Credit Union’s penchant for innovation is personified in their Remote Teller System or “RTS” which allows members to interact with tellers via a video screen. The RTS facilitates greater efficiency and safety for both members and employees.
While corporate identity and branding are important to Diamond, Faust says, “no two branches are exactly the same,” and adds Diamond’s profile is such that “There are municipalities coming to us asking for a branch to be built in their community.” KZF also assists Diamond Credit Union with project site analysis and selection. The visibility, accessibility and design of Diamond’s physical locations combined with robust electronic delivery channels and a real commitment to involvement in their respective communities, reinforces Diamond Credit Union as a highly desirable, attractive, and trustworthy place in which to transact important financial business.