The new Valley First Vernon Branch is the first of a network-wide design solution by RATIO featuring open, engaging branch spaces that promote staff interaction and personal service. [ See our work here ]
Although part of the 40-plus First West Credit Union family, Valley First has a strong local brand and is a vital member of the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson communities. Branch members have a powerful connection to staff and the strength of this relationship is the framework for the branch network design. 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.
Ratio was initially engaged by First West 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, and support strong local brands 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. Member experience and operational functionality across the branch system is maintained with consistent implementation of the branch design concept.
Our work with other First West Credit Union brands: