Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:57 pm
Mukwonago-based Citizens Bank plans to build two new branches to replace existing locations in Mukwonago and Genessee Depot.
The existing 1,600-square-foot branch at 827 S. Rochester St. in Mukwonago will be replaced first. A new freestanding branch will be built across the parking lot, as part of a retail development that will also include a Starbuck’s and a Qdoba. It is being developed by CLK Mukwonago LLC.
The new branch will be smaller, about 1,250 square feet, and will have fewer tellers, more flexible work spaces and a patio.
“They both will have outside patio concepts, and that’s important to us,” said Charles Miller, Jr., chief executive officer of Citizens Bank. “The hope is that the visual will be, with all that glass, that it’s going to make that part of the branch even though it’s exterior.”
Bankers will use tablets to open accounts wherever a customer would like to sit, inside or outside.
“I want to blend in and have this become more of a business development, so we blend in with the other ones,” Miller said. “We have Starbuck’s around us in Brookfield and Panera Bread. So many people, when the weather’s nice, like to congregate outside.”
More of Citizens Bank’s customers are using its mobile app and online banking services, and like many banks, the company is reducing its branch sizes and increasing its focus on technology education.
“The demographics of our client base is not quite the same as those that are more central to the metro area,” Miller said. “We’ve still got a lot of baby boomers, we still get a lot (more) lobby traffic than some of our competitors in say, Wauwatosa, but it is decreasing.”
The new Mukwonago branch will have two drive-thru lanes instead of four, two teller windows instead of two, and a lower drop down desk that can be used by disabled customers. It will have lighter colors, more windows bringing in natural light, and a hospitality area with couches and high top tables for customers where they can watch TV, drink coffee or use the Internet, Miller said.
“We’re trying to get away from the institutional look and make it more homey,” he said. “We’re not a stodgy old bank. We want to invite them in.”
Citizens Bank is investing about $650,000 in the construction, furniture and equipment at the new Mukwonago branch.
The Genessee Depot project will cost a little more; that branch, which will be near the current branch at the corner of Highways 59 and 83, will be modeled after the Mukwonago pilot, but will also include a lender office and safety deposit boxes. Both of the existing branches were leased.
While the branches will be smaller, Citizens Bank doesn’t plan to lay off any of its six employees at each location. Miller said the staff count will shrink through attrition and reassignment to other branches over time. The company has 170 total employees at 12 branches in Waukesha and Walworth counties. It has $703 million in assets.
The bank will seek approval from the Mukwonago Village Board on Tuesday for its proposed branch. Citizens Bank plans to begin construction in August.