Historic preservation was not the only imperative for Hoosac Bank when it turned an old Howard Johnson's restaurant into a financial center.
Hoosac also needed to comply with a state rule requiring banks to conduct insurance sales and retail banking in separate areas, and with federal guidelines that encourage banks to keep investment sales areas apart from areas where insured deposits are accepted.
Handily enough, the solution was in the architecture. Like most Howard Johnson's restaurants, this one had a center entrance and two wings-one for sit-down meals, the other for ice cream, the soda fountain, and take-outs.
The central area was converted into a large, common waiting area. Entrances were added in the two wings. One will be the retail bank; the other will house the insurance and investment sales groups.
Each sales area was outfitted with a huge sliding-glass door to close it off from the waiting area.
The idea is to signal customers that there are differences between the bank and its insurance and investment operations. The design, said Hoosac Bank president Thomas W. Kelly, should help satisfy regulators' concerns about making sure customers understand that some bank products are different from and riskier than traditional deposits.
There is another practical benefit, he said. The bank and its affiliates can keep different schedules.
The conservative floor plan also recognizes that financial supermarkets offering a range of products under one roof have not really taken off yet, Mr. Kelly added. "Until we're sure that's what the customers want, we don't want to press the issue," he said.