Guaranty Bank & Trust is a locally owned and operated bank in Mississippi serving customers and communities throughout the state, from Vicksburg in the south up to Southaven in the north. Founded in 1943, the bank has grown from its humble beginnings to more than 20 branches in cities and towns across the state, offering a high level of consultation and a comprehensive suite of banking products and services that rival even what the big banks can offer.
As the mantle of leadership passed from father to son, Guaranty’s new CEO was charged with preserving the legacy of the beloved community institution and expanding and enhancing its prospects at the same time. By keeping the best of the past while embracing a new vision of growth, Guaranty’s refreshed brand and up-and-coming branch network positions the community bank to meet the next-generation banking customer with distinctive style and substance.
As Guaranty Bank & Trust considered its branch network strategy, it became evident that the brand identity needed to be progressed and modernized. Keeping the roots of the Guaranty brand intact while delivering a modern banking experience, the refreshed brand identity doubled down on its “three corner” core values – commitment to customer service, community and stability – while focusing on the “good business moves” positioning for the financial brand as it enters new growth markets.
Guaranty recognized that expanding beyond the bank’s original footprint was central to driving growth opportunities for the future. Focused on optimizing key existing locations in Mississippi growth markets and expanding into the Memphis area, Guaranty Bank & Trust is meeting customer needs for transactions in legacy markets, like Greenwood, while upgrading to more concierge financial services focused on business and relationship banking in locations like Southaven and the upcoming expansion branch in Grenada.
In Greenwood, Mississippi, the Guaranty bank branch would be located in a beautiful historic building in the downtown business district. In order to upgrade this significant structure, any branch design and renovation would have to adhere to strict historic preservation standards, while still being reflective of the upgraded Guaranty Bank & Trust brand. By layering historical with new brand elements, the branch became a rich backdrop for building banking relationships and community connections. Bringing the building back to its former glory, the historical Beaux Arts building would go on to win the Mississippi Heritage Award of Merit for Restoration.
The exterior of the building was restored along with an interior renovation where original elements were exposed. These included the mosaic tile floor, beamed ceilings, columns and expansive windows with their signature stained-glass transoms. The floorplan had to be worked around the historic elements that would anchor the space. Taking inspiration from historical buildings like the Louvre, the floorplan leverages a historical wrap-around in which the interior branch elements and offices were floated in the middle of this beautiful historical shell. Mixed with these historical elements were the new Guaranty Bank & Trust branded elements to merge into an inviting, refreshed core, rooted in community.
While the historic preservation presented numerous restoration challenges to overcome, the end result was a branch environment that the community could rally around. Yet, there were still some service needs that couldn’t be met in the physical space due to historic preservation and space considerations. To meet the demands of the modern banking customer, convenience and efficiency via an ATM was a necessity, but one couldn’t be installed at the historic site. Forward thinking leadership came to the rescue in this opportunity market.
Working with Adrenaline, Guaranty identified a piece of land two miles down the road from its historic Greenwood branch to install an ATM. But rather than only going with a standard version of the automatic teller, the bank decided to upgrade to an ITM instead. This would allow banking customers to reap the benefits of a drive-up window combined with the convenience of an ATM. While planned well before COVID, the ITM was up and running just in time to respond to the overflow banking needs from the pandemic, creating both a brand beacon and an even deeper community connection in Greenwood.
As the bank positions itself for growth, optimizing the branch banking channel is at the heart of the refreshed Guaranty Bank. Expanding north toward Memphis – where the opportunity is growing – is providing Guaranty a new opportunity for leveraging “good business moves” in a new market – Southaven, Mississippi. As market analytics shows, opportunity in community banking can be found in the suburbs and exurbs of larger markets, like Memphis, as well as on the edges of new and existing markets where they can create a corridor of opportunities.
Future-facing, Guaranty Bank & Trust is focusing on proof-of-concept for their business banking model where their expert consultation revolves around “good business moves” for small business banking. From a practical standpoint that means finding opportunity through M&A, ground-up builds, existing buildouts and ITMs in existing or new growth markets configured to support the new strategic focus on small business. Also being explored for future expansion is the possibility of different branch size and scope formats –like micro-branches and ITMs – that achieve that ideal balance of efficiency and experience.