Problem | OPPORTUNITY
Small rural bank wanted to redefine retail banking and expand their presence throughout the west coast.
Crafted a unique and sustainable brand promise, defined the brand experience and executed it across every touchpoint, upending an entire industry.
Redesigned branches and scaled up from 16 to 300 branches; recognized as the largest retail community bank on west coast. Increased assets from $2.9B to $12B and became one of Fortune’s Best Companies to work for three years in a row.
Consumer Insights & Trends, Environmental Design, Brand Strategy, Communication Design, Service Design
Umpqua Bank opened its doors in a small timber town in southern Oregon back in 1953. By 1994, Umpqua had six locations. That was the year that Ray Davis took over as CEO and embarked on a quest to become the world’s greatest bank. He would ultimately achieve that end by breaking many of the conventions of the banking category.
Umpqua first approached Ziba to help them redefine banking in more human terms. The industry had become mechanized and impersonal, competing on speed, convenience, and rates. Umpqua needed a more meaningful, humanistic solution.
To redefine banking, we combined experiences found in boutique luxury hotels, high-end retail stores, and cafes. With the advent of the ‘slow movement’ and the growing interest in localism and community, Ziba defined a new opportunity: Slow Banking. What if customers were invited to linger for a while - read a newspaper, enjoy a free cup of coffee (locally roasted exclusively for Umpqua), surf the web and shop for banking products? What if we did away with tellers and empower “Universal Associates” to make any type of transaction, and ensure every customer receives first-class attention, regardless of the size of their account? Each “store” would have a modern and comfortable community area for people to engage, and use for community and local cultural events after regular business hours. On any given night, your neighborhood Umpqua might be hosting a meeting, a book club, a small concert or a yoga class.
When Ray Davis first announced our new program to the board, there was considerable resistance. This was not a superficial change; it was a complete reimagining of the whole banking experience. But trusting our strategic and creative due diligence, Ray stepped up and actually guaranteed them $15 million in new deposits in the first year. Within nine months, the first redesigned branch had a record $50 million in new deposits, and Ziba’s new bank concept had been rolled out to all 162 Umpqua branches.
Customers loved the changes, and new customers came to linger, as well. The redesigned branches generated 2.25 times higher deposits, double the average deposit balances, 2 times the average loan balances, and significantly increased cross-selling among existing customers. Recruiting the best and the brightest employees suddenly became easier, as Umpqua quickly became one of Fortune's 100 Best Companies for which to work.
Now one of the 60 largest banks in the nation, and the largest Oregon-based bank, with 350 branches in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Idaho, Umpqua has been studied and regularly cited as one of the most successful top-to-bottom rebrands in history. We continue to work with Umpqua, constantly redefining what the banking experience can be. That’s what makes Umpqua truly great.