People who walk into a BlueShore Financial branch in Vancouver, BC may not get what they are expecting. Rather than entering a cold, intimidating institution, clients of BlueShore Financial will experience a setting more akin to a five-star spa than a traditional financial institution.
At BlueShore Financial, we believe strongly that a banking experience should be something you enjoy and have dedicated over 10 years to launching and perfecting the Financial Spa™ banking experience.
It started back in 2000 when I took the helm of BlueShore Financial as President and CEO. I quickly found myself facing a difficult challenge: how to differentiate the credit union within the competitive financial industry. In Vancouver, where the average net worth of households is $660,000+, success in the financial sector is just as dependent on wallet share as it is on market share. If we truly wanted to succeed, we would have to create a niche market which appealed to both.
We honed a “blue ocean strategy” for the organization (whereby a business grows by generating demand in an uncontested market space) and created a radical concept for a credit union – to become a place for serious wealth management focusing on clients with complex and sophisticated financial needs.
Part of the execution of this strategy was to create a place where clients would feel relaxed and comfortable. A place where clients felt valued and comfortable enough to figuratively ‘disrobe’ and share their intimate financial worries with trained professionals. Thus the Financial Spa concept was born.
Walking into a Financial Spa is a choreographed experience. Everything from aromatherapy candles, soothing music, warm fireplace and fresh flowers are designed to put clients completely at ease. Broad, open spaces coupled with wood details, galleries of local artwork, and stone fountains provide an atmosphere of relaxation and warmth; decorative nods to local pastimes such as rock climbing, snowboarding and wakeboarding help create emotional ties with the communities we serve. This is the Financial Spa experience.
Perfecting the experience was an eight-year journey. There have been many learning curves along the way and de-bunking of credit union myths and misconceptions–In some consumers’ minds, credit unions are small, unsophisticated in their offerings and unsuited for providing serious wealth management. Today, BlueShore Financial consistently ranks amongst the top financial planning firms in Metro Vancouver and has been recognized with several architectural awards for its unique branch design. And we’re more than just a pretty face: 80% of our clients give our advisors top marks.
Our Financial Spas serve as a backdrop to expert financial advice and integrated advisory team services. As an early adopter of CRM technology, BlueShore Financial takes a 360° view of clients’ profitability (banking, insurance, investments, etc.), and uses this to focus its attention on key segments. Unlike most financial institutions, who measure branch and line of business profitability, BlueShore Financial measures segment profitability using a robust Business Intelligence engine.
BlueShore Financial has seen tremendous year-over-year growth thanks to its integrated advisory approach, personalized solutions and lifestyle brand. But our journey will never truly be over. Our commitment to providing our clients with expert advice in an environment they can enjoy means that we will always be looking for new ways to innovate banking service delivery.
Chris Catliff, President & CEO BlueShore Financial