Changing the banking experience for the better is Popular Community Bank’s primary goal.
Its newest Brooklyn branch, located at 1230 Fulton Street, held an opening event on Wednesday, June 8 at 5 p.m. The evening, which featured a wine and cheese networking event, showcased the state-of-the-art facility and demonstrated what it has to offer.
“One of the most interesting things going on, and you see it today, is the concept of what a retail branch should look like,” said Chief Operating Officer for Popular Community Bank Manuel Chinea. “This is different from your traditional branch. You step in and you don’t feel like you’re entering a bank.”
An example is Popular Community Bank’s revised customer service, which has been introduced in four of its 50 branches around the country. “This is the fourth branch that we have built and operated under this new concept,” said Chinea. “There’s no teller line; no one is behind bulletproof glass. Everyone is free to walk around.”
According to Chinea, throughout the entire branch every person is called a universal banker. “They can open an account for you, take a loan application for you or just make a teller transaction for you,” he said. “They’re free to walk around the branch because they have iPads that allow them to be in control.”
The first branch of its kind debuted on Avenue U in August of last year. “It has been very successful. Customers are getting used to it. It takes time, but now they love it,” he said, adding that the new Fulton branch has been successful. “We’ve been operating for two months and initially they were taken aback and [didn’t] know where to go but once we engaged them, they loved it and embraced it.”
Popular Bank also prides itself on having the resources of a large organization that operates as a smaller community bank.
“We have the best of both worlds. We foster an environment where our people are very close with customers and very involved in the communities we’ve served,” Chinea said. “At the same time, we have the same level of sophistication in terms of product and technology as larger banks because we have the resources of larger banks, but our mindset is really in line with the way community banks serve the community. So, I think that special combination sets us apart.”
Additional reporting by Corazon Aguirre