Rethinking The Branch

How credit unions can leverage technology to maintain a profitable, customer-centric branch.

 

By Cummins Allison

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The branch. What was once the center of a credit union’s universe is now just one component of a multichannel strategy to connect with and engage customers. Although other channels, such as mobile banking and ATMs, have risen in popularity, the branch still remains an integral part of any credit union’s operations. As credit unions retool their branch strategy and decide where to allocate their technology investment, it’s critical to identify solutions that drive business process improvements and increase member satisfaction.

Assess Opportunity Areas For Branch Level Business Process Improvements

Implementing branch or teller image capture is an excellent way to remove inefficient cash and check management processes. Although the benefits of a simplified deposit process are obvious — elimination of off-site processing centers, reduced likelihood of errors, fewer labor and transportation costs — they can be lost if a credit union does not deploy the right technology in the right way. New technology solutions that process more than just checks or items and at a higher rate of speed deliver the most efficient forms of branch capture. 

For many branches, daily processing of coin deposits is labor and time intensive. Tellers can lose valuable face time with customers if they are distracted by downed equipment or disappear into a back room to process coins. Using self-service coin counting machines that streamline sorting, collecting, and storage means tellers are no longer occupied with processing coin in the back room — reducing customer wait times and adding more face time. As the demand for coin processing and members’ preference to redeem coin at their credit union continues to grow, having this self-service offering can help increase traffic and customer satisfaction.

Make Customer-Centric Enhancements A Priority

Credit unions must embrace technology as a strategy that allows them to provide a unique customer experience. A self-service coin counting option in the lobby helps members avoid counting and wrapping their coins and standing in long teller lines while holding heavy coin containers. Instead, they get a faster, more meaningful exchange with the teller when they cash in their coin redemption receipt.

Self-service coin machines are a service offering members truly want. In a May 2013 study conducted by Novarica, “How Consumers feel About Branches When Switching Banks,” 80% of those surveyed reported they would switch from a teller to a self-service coin machine and they believed their satisfaction would measurably increase as a result; many even indicated they would use the machine “all the time.”

Leverage Technology To Increase Profitability, Reduce Costs

According to BranMark Strategy Group, the majority of consumers still consider branches a primary deciding factor when selecting a financial institution, and many still feel they have transactions they can’t complete online or at an ATM.It’s up to credit unions to bridge this gap and offer members the branching services they want while maintaining profit margins. Investing in the latest currency, check, and coin processing technology can reduce a credit union’s costs and have a dramatic impact on equipment, labor, and time savings.

The key is selecting solutions that enable the branch to accomplish more tasks with less capital investment. As credit unions rethink their branch strategy, technology investment should be a critical part of the decision-making process. Solutions that help ensure a branch remains a relevant and profitable part of a credit union’s multichannel strategy are non-negotiable.

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Bob Gibson is vice president of branch operations at Cummins Allison.

This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact our Callahan Media team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.

 

Oct. 13, 2014


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