The proliferation and ubiquity of technology in Silicon Valley has prompted area institutions outside the tech industry to experiment with new ideas large and small. Such is the case with KeyPoint Credit Union ($818.4M; Santa Clara, CA). Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, KeyPoint’s field of membership extends to those who live, work, and worship in any of nine Bay Area counties, including San Mateo County, as well as to those who work for eligible companies such as Apple and eBay. According to Helen Grays Jones, senior vice president of member strategies at KeyPoint, the majority of the credit union’s 41,544 members are employees of high-tech companies. And the credit union considers these members’ expectations and values when re-designing its branches.
“Our thought process has been that as we transition more of our branches — we’re not opening any new branches — we’re transitioning our branches to be conducive to the way members in that area want to conduct business,” says Jones.
KeyPoint began transforming its branches in 2012, starting with it Sunnyvale location. For each redesign, the credit union studies member feedback and demographics to determine how each branch can best serve its membership.
“As branch leases [expire] or we start to look at re-design, we define the demographics of our communities,” Jones says. “Who lives in our community? What age are they? Are there a lot of member companies in that area?”
The credit union has transformed several of its nine branches, including locations in Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and San Jose. And although it bases redesigns on the needs of the community, all branch designs share certain common traits. All offer upgraded technology such as iPads that help members manage their accounts and teller-run pods that handle quick transactions or technology questions. All branch designs are meant to encourage the usage of self-service options, spiking awareness in alternative products that members can use to conduct business with KeyPoint.
KeyPoint does not have plans to transform the look all of its branches, however. For example, members at its Rivermark location prefer the eastern, New York-like feel the branch projects, Jones says. The strip mall based-branch is a contrast to the credit union’s other open, white, bright California-inspired locations, but members in that community prefer it remain the same. Thus far, KeyPoint has respected their preference, understanding that “new” does not equate to “improved.” However, it has provided the technological upgrades — such as the new ATMs, iPads, and teller pods — across all its branches to ensure a common member experience and acclimate members to its self-service options.
KeyPoint's goals for undertaking these branch transformations are twofold. First, it wants to create an accessible, convenient experience for members who choose to do business at the branches. Second, it wants to use its branches to teach members about the credit union’s remote channels and technology.
“We thought our members were aware of our services because we send out letters,” Jones says. “It’s been a surprise for me that many of our members were not aware of options they had other than coming in to our branches.”
Like a true Silicon Valley institution, the credit union wants to keep up with advancements in technology, and its adoption of more member-friendly technology simplifies the member experience and cuts the fat from transactions that members can easily complete remotely.
“Before, when you went into a branch, there was no one stopping you to say, ‘Hey. That’s what you’re doing? You can do that remotely in the future. You don’t have to get in your car and drive down here in the rain. Did you know you can make a deposit and this is when it will be available?,’” Jones says. “So I think it’s increased the education within our members of different ways they can bank with us, still conduct their business, and interact with branch staff.”
Jones declined to comment on the specifics of the credit union’s digital metrics, but she does say the credit union is growing in these areas while foot traffic to the brick-and-mortars is slowing.
“Our adoption and mobile banking was exactly what we thought,” she says.
The credit union measures success in member feedback and branch sales service, both of which have improved.
“We’ve seen [members’] cross-sell ratios improve,” Jones says. “We’ve seen the adoption of mobile continue to take off. We’ve seen more deposits from our remote deposit capture.”
As to whether ramping up technology will eventually cause the extinction of KeyPoint’s branches, Jones believes that reaction is overblown. Credit unions might not need to have a location in every corner — according to Search & Analyze data on CreditUnions.com, KeyPoint has nine branches compared to 11 for its asset based peer group — but they will always need to have a physical presence. Members need to know that, when they need you, you’ll be there.
“[Members] want to see some presence of you,” Jones says. “Your name has some relevance.