Carrie Rengers

Fidelity Bank’s first microbranch site surprises even president Aaron Bastian

UPDATED — Fidelity Bank president Aaron Bastian says he’s been considering a variety of new branch models for a while, but there’s one he never dreamed of.

“If you had asked me two years ago would we ever put a bank in a shipping container, I would have laughed.”

He now can laugh that that’s what the bank is doing with a new microbranch at Revolutsia, the shipping container development at Central and Volutsia.

Bastian credits Revolutsia developer Michael Ramsey for “coming up with something so different and creative.”

“I fell in love with the idea of it,” Bastian says.

He says Revolutsia shows what’s possible in creating a gathering place in a neighborhood that helps revitalize an area.

“I like that it makes people think differently about that part of town and what retail is.”

Bastian says the idea behind microbranches is they “can fill in gaps in our branch network that we might have today in a faster, easier-to-build way.”

The Revolutsia microbranch will be in a prominent container just east of the building where Little Lion Ice Cream has a cafe.

The 640-square-foot space will have an interactive banking machine similar to ones that are already at Wichita State University and Friends University.

The machine connects customers to bankers with a live video chat.

Fidelity marketing director and senior vice president Katie Grover says it’s about combining technology and personal service.

There also will be what the bank calls universal bankers to help with in-person requests.

There will not be a traditional teller line.

Most all of the bank’s services will be available, such as withdrawals, deposits and loans. There will not be a drive-through.

The interactive banking machine “can really deliver any service that a drive-through would have been able to,” Bastian says.

The branch will open this fall and offer extended hours — 8 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on Saturday. The interactive banking machine can be used as an ATM 24 hours a day.

Krista Racine of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal for the space.

Bastian says the microbranch concept is one the bank could duplicate around the Wichita area and outside the city as well.

Fidelity, which has more than $2.3 billion in assets, has 20 offices in and around Wichita, Kansas City and Oklahoma City.

Bastian says customer demand is what’s causing him to explore new banking models.

“We want to be as simple and easy to deal with as possible and as convenient as possible.”