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The widespread adoption of Wi-Fi and mobile devices created an abundance of new workplaces across the Truckee Meadows. Hundreds of people every day set up their office in a coffee house or a corner of a public library. Some thriving startups don’t have a traditional office at all.

It’s particularly fascinating to watch as this trend spreads into new venues such as the branch offices of banks.

I was visiting the new Reno branch office of Plumas Bank — it’s located along South McCarran at Meadowood Mall Circle — and I was intrigued by the number of people I found working in one of the bank’s community rooms. BJ North, the executive vice president who heads up retail banking at Plumas Bank, explained the new location of the community bank emphasizes “community” just as much as it emphasizes “banking.”

With robust Wi-Fi, comfortable workspaces and a latte machine always ready to provide liquid motivation, the office of Plumas Bank is positioned as a place for freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers to find new inspiration and get out of their home offices for a while. It even includes spaces where folks can conduct a private conversation — the sorts of conversations difficult in a crowded coffee house. They don’t need to be bank customers to drop in.

The technology-driven workplace is just a slice of the community focus of the new Plumas Bank office. Community rooms are open for organizations that don’t have convenient places for board, committee or membership meetings.

A community garden just outside the bank’s front door will provide an important connection between food, health and the environment as well as a spot of beauty. “We believe that our responsibility is to create healthy communities,” said North. “Healthy communities are financially viable.”  In today’s environment, creation of places where entrepreneurs and professionals can work efficiently is a way of building a financially viable community.

The “banking” side of the new Plumas Bank branch location also looks remarkably different from old-school banks. Gone is the teller line that stands between customers and bank staff at other institutions. Instead, specialists sit behind desks, standing to greet customers who come through the door. Robust technology links those specialists to the heart of Plumas Bank, and they have the authority and training to provide nearly any service the bank provides its customers.

North tells me the branch, with its clean design and new way of delivering services, is intended to provide an experience, much as a fine restaurant is designed to provide an experience. And she says the new Reno office clearly sets the direction for other Plumas Bank locations as it moves into a technology-driven, community-focused future.

Learn more about the new direction of community banking during NCET’s Tech Wednesday event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Plumas Bank, 5050 Meadowood Mall Circle. More information and registration at www.NCETwed.org.

Dave Archer is President/CEO of NCET, which produces networking events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology.

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