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Aug. 5, 2013
GFA Federal Credit Union
Operations & Technology
Interesting post. Branches are long overdue some new thinking. Years ago I recall the credit union industry rallying around the "high tech, high touch" concept. Well folks, the future has arrived. This industry has not done a super job of managing and leveraging data. We need to change that. We also need to understand how data generated online, such as through online banking or Personal Financial Management (PFM), can be brought in to call center and brand environments. Advocacy can be practiced and not simply preached.
SAFE Credit Union is also considering how to build the branch of the future. Our teller line today produces a lot of referrals and we value our interaction with members. We assume that when members come to the branch they have opted for face to face transactions. We have toured other credit unions that installed kiosks or video tellers. At one credit union we found that when members ask for coins they are sent down the road to a shared branch. That would not meet our standard of member sevice. We think that we will replace our teller cash dispense (TCD) machines with cash recyclers and retain our teller windows. We have many reasons for doing that. We provide servcies to over 1,500 small busineses who buy coin and cash from us. They will need teller windows. We want to continue talking with our members who want face to face deposits and withdrawals because we generate a lot referrals. Our elderly members don't like to use machines and many of them cannot manage the transaction on their own. They hold most of our deposits. In our visits with vendors and credit unions we have found that the video kiosk doesn't save us any time or money. It still takes one teller per window. The other reason for keeping the teller line is that we live in a high crime world. We have bandit barriers at all of our branches. Before we installed them, we had six robberies in one year. We have seen other local banks move from teller windows to open floor plans. The idea was always that robbers don't rob cash machines. Most of the robberies in our area occur where tellers are not behind bandit barriers. We agree that members will do fewer transactions and that the business in the branch will shift to the platform. But we have had such high member growth that our teller transactions at our branches have not declined. Members do fewer teller transactions, but our membership growth has offset that trend. How much longer that will continue we don't know
Mr. Wirz, I read your comments on future branches with interest. I suggest you look at the website for Branch Development Group, www.BranchDevelopmentGroup.com . The branches being discussed in the article are exactly what they do and they have been doing it for many years. They already know the pitfalls and mistakes others who are just waking up to this branch concept will make. They have proven branch formats that can be adapted for your specific needs. You are correct, branches need to change with the changing marketplace but using the same designers as old paradigm branches will never work well. Give them a look and contact them for more information!
Congratulations to GFA on their branch. We have been working with our clients for 10 years to create unique branches tailored to the specific needs of each credit union’s culture, business purpose, markets, and members. All of these elements are different so therefore each credit union’s branches need to be uniquely created. In this case, one size doesn't fit all. The branch is not going away, but it is definitely changing and needs to a primary point of education and sales for every credit union’s products and services. The branch should compliment and enhance the many service delivery channels available for member service. We believe face-to-face member service in the branch is the best method of differentiating your credit union in the financial market place.
Interesting concept--- the tellerless electronic branch was something commercial banks had tried too soon and were unsuccessfully in the past. Today's CU membership is becoming more technologically savvy and wants the quickest and purposeful service at our locations, instant gratification so to speak. If we all could set up the branch to be quick in and out and use the brief moment of member contact to cross-sell the CU's related and personalized product every CU would be growing to meet the future needs of our memebership
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