Hawaii State Federal Credit Union: Salt Lake Location

Waves lap at the sides of a massive ship powering through the currents of the Pacific. Nondescript, the containers stacked on the deck offer the viewer little in the way of their contents. However, one of these containers holds something unique, the pieces of the newly designed branch for Hawaii State Federal Credit Union all in one place, and ready for implementation.

Rendering of HSFCU Salt Lake Branch, Hawaii: Part 1

It was just over a year ago that this project took its first steps in Portsmouth, NH. Six members of Hawaii’s executive team traveled overseas to visit Element headquarters. They spent four days discussing the new strategy, work environment, as well as various ways to improve the member experience.

Out for Lobster in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, ME.

Strategy Session

In addition to the meetings and discussions, the team at Element took their visitors to Boston to see the sights and tour multiple “branch of the future” locations.

Touring the sites!

Inspiration Source: The Capitol One Cafe

Over the next several months, the team from Hawaii and the team from Element worked their way through concepts, schematic design, and design development documentation. Since then, a variety of specialists have come together to bring this project to fruition. All of the millwork and materials were manufactured in a Phoenix location, then carefully packaged, crated, and shipped to Honolulu.

With minimal room to space, the boxes containing the branch were ready for departure.

Meanwhile, a “vanilla box” was created on location. This meant prepping the outside of the branch as well as creating a clean slate on the inside. Just prior to shipping, the teams reconvened in Phoenix, Arizona to review the millwork and catch up on the digital touch experience. Then, the branch was shipped to location in one large 40’ container, separated by type in wooden units. This included the millwork, the ceiling tiles, flooring, lights, doors, digital, computers, and hardware.

Inspecting the millwork

Ultimately, this type of shipment allowed for a faster delivery, as all the moving parts are delivered together, a faster installation, and an immediate start to construction. It is a more sustainable, organized, and efficient option to the normal (and slow) process normally reserved in putting together a new branch.

Lunch in Phoenix

Hawaii State Federal Credit Union is the first credit union to make use of this unique service. Shipped out of Phoenix on May 6th, the transporters sent a complete photo gallery detailing the process and ensuring that instructions were followed to a T.

Renderings of HSFCU Salt Lake Branch, Hawaii: Part 2

What ended up being 28 packages and 24,125 pounds of weight, arrived safely in Honolulu approximately two months ago. The implementation team has been busy constructing the branch in preparation for the soft opening on July 29th, 2019.

To see more photos detailing the process, check out this gallery.

To see the finished product, head on over to Instagram where there will be photos of the completed branch, as well as of the opening itself!


Written by Bryn Baldasaro for The Element Group.

Avidia Bank: Leominster Renovation

Avidia Bank: the striking result of a merge between Hudson Savings Bank and Westborough Bank, chose to renovate their Leominster Branch in an unconventional way. They closed the main portion of the branch over the course of eight days in order to get the branch as fully functional as possible in the least amount of time. CarrieAnne Cormier of Avidia Bank graciously spoke with me over the phone to share some insight into the project. 

 Avidia has recently built two other branches that had a more modern look and feel. In order to keep with brand standards and maintain consistency, CarrieAnne felt that it was time to bring Leominster up to snuff. While well maintained, the last time it was updated was in 2005, the year it opened. It was time for a change. For this space, they wanted a more modernized look, one that would attract and engage a younger demographic. Ultimately, this would target new customer segments and ideally build more market share in an area saturated with banks and credit unions. 

Makeover: Day 1

Makeover: Day 8

They chose to fast track this particular project due to the smaller square footage. Spatially, sectioning off parts of the branch while keeping the doors open was not a viable option. However, shutting down the branch for eight days was some cause for concern. To remedy this issue, Avidia decided to keep the drive-up open all week, providing service to customers throughout the entire renovation. This different approach to branch transformation presented its own challenges and stresses, but in the end the hard work paid off. CarrieAnne went on to say that this process was something that she deemed well worth repeating for another smaller branch. However, in terms of a larger one, she would opt for a more traditional approach. 

She made a point of mentioning the dedication of project managers Nate Henry (Element) and Mikala Geurtsen (Avidia) who were in close communication throughout the entirety of the project. Having project managers on both sides of the project allowed for smooth execution and easy troubleshooting. Based on the time crunch, there was little room for error and people were working round the clock to get this project done. There was a little hitch with a carpet being backordered, but that was quickly rectified by Element’s Alina Pawlowski who found a suitable replacement in record time.

 The branch is open now, and the reactions of the customers were priceless. CarrieAnne shared her favorite reaction which occurred only after 2 days after reopening. A customer came in and said, “Wow this doesn't even look like a bank, it’s beautiful!” 

She was very complimentary of the team at Element, saying that they were fun to work with and that they challenged Avidia to think creatively and experiment with different things. She then went on to say that Element does a great job of figuring out and then producing this “branch of the future,” a concept that extends beyond a sleek design and into an effective and smooth workflow.

A big thank you to CarrieAnne for jumping on the phone to answer some of my questions! You can find her on Instagram @banksmartcarrie and Twitter at @BankSmartCARRIE


Written by Bryn Baldasaro for The Element Group.
Edited by CarrieAnne Cormier .