Wells Fargo has unveiled a new eco-conscious branch design that the company hopes will one day become the new standard, not just for Wells Fargo branches, but for all financial institutions.

Using tablet computers and sophisticated electronic signature systems, Wells Fargo has been able to virtually eliminate the need to use paper to conduct client transactions. Even when opening new bank accounts, taking loan applications and closing mortgages, the new branch uses an entirely paperless process. Disclosures are emailed to clients, and signatures are captured using electronic pads.

Located in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC, the new branch is also one-third the size of a standard Wells Fargo branch, reducing energy consumption. Instead of a standard setup with tellers on one side and account officers on another, the space is wide open. When clients need assistance, employees lead them to a seating area to conduct transactions.

The reduction in size also allows Wells Fargo to have fewer employees onsite. Although the bank is a full-service branch, there are only 3 staff members needed to meet the needs of clients. ATMs are available inside the branch for self-service banking, which is preferred by many of the customers who visit the NoMa location.

While it will take years for all major banks to develop the technology and processes necessary to transition to this greener branch design, the NoMa Wells Fargo branch gives a glimpse into banking’s eco-friendly future.

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