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By Katie Miller
On-line flight check-in, Coca-Cola fridge packs, pay-at-the-pump. The most successful new product innovations are no longer only about the product itself, but instead about delivering the product to a rapidly moving culture. It’s all about making life easier. Consumers want to trade the mundane-every-day-tasks for the more enjoyable.
The drive for convenience is no where more pronounced than in financial services. Whether providing a place for members to conduct transactions during a lunch break, on the way home from work, when traveling out of state or just across town, to be your members’ primary financial institution, your credit union must be accessible. Put yourself in their shoes: given the option of a 20 minute car ride to the credit union or 20 extra minutes at your son’s soccer game, which would you choose?
In financial services, convenience rules as the predominant criterion that consumers use to determine where they will do business. A study of non-credit union consumers conducted by CUES found that 68 percent of those surveyed chose a bank over a credit union because it was more convenient. Think you can edge out the competition with better rates, think again. Today, even that will not help woo new members to your credit union. A recent ABA Banking Journal study found that 62 percent of participants chose convenience over rates in the selection of a financial institution. So where does that leave you? Simply stated, you must be convenient for your members.
The obvious way to achieve that would be to build numerous branches, but can any credit union realistically afford to build the number of branches it needs to compete against local banks? With the average cost of one building surpassing $2 million, having a branch on every corner is just not practical. Many national banks, however, have been able to create that presence, luring customers with the availability of thousands of branches, even though they lack the one thing credit unions are known for: great member service.
There is hope! Through cooperation, credit unions have created a solution. Credit unions can keep up with the competition by offering members thousands of branches across the nation-all without having to spend a penny on new brick and mortar. How is this possible? Through shared branching--a strategy in which credit unions cooperate with each other to enhance the member service experience by offering numerous convenient locations across the country, cost-effectively. Now credit unions have the ability to be where their members work, live and play.
By sharing facilities with other credit unions, you give your members the convenience they desire. Members have the ability to maintain their credit union relationship no matter where they are. Credit unions have the confidence of knowing that they can retain members for life. No more loosing members when they move across town or across the country.
Shared branching has leveled the playing field for credit unions when compared even to the largest national competitors. Comprised of over 2200 locations in 44 states, shared branching ranks sixth in the nation among top financial institutions by branch network. And in this hustle-and-bustle world where convenience is king, credit union members now have something to make their lives easier. Credit union shared branching is the recipe to keep members right where they belong--in your credit union.
For more information please visit our website at www.cusc.net.
August 7, 2006
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