In-store branching provides credit unions with the opportunity to enhance the service offered to existing members and the ability to interact with thousands of potential members daily. For many credit unions in-store branches operate until 7pm or later during the week, are often open on Saturday and Sunday and are located in the major retailer in a community.
Success at the in-store branch for credit unions requires more than just being open for business. Based on experiences of leading credit unions, success is based on a focus on member relationship products, measurement of the in-store sales and marketing activities and consistent management of service performance
Focus on Products that Enhance Member Relationships
At in-store branches the rate driven products will get the attention of consumers in the retailer. Potential members walking by the branch will see the great dividend rates for share certificates and low interest rates for auto loans. While these products are important to the credit union, relationship products will help develop long term members.
ORNL Credit Union ($1.0 billion), based in Oak Ridge, TN, has 27 branches. This includes 7 in-store branches. The credit union uses the following metrics to measure success of its in-store branches:
- Checking accounts with direct deposit
- Internet Banking (CyberBranch) sign ups
- New members
The credit union develops goals with the managers of each in-store branch. Goals are set based on the actual opportunity within the retailers and are tracked on a monthly and quarterly basis. Managers and employees at the in-store branches know how they are performing as compared to goal daily. Coaching and training programs are put in place based on the results at the branches.
Credit cards are another important relationship product. For many credit unions, the average credit card relationship lasts 7 years. With the recent focus on credit card practices in the U.S. Congress from H.R. 5244, the value of credit union credit cards is getting more notice than ever before. Some credit unions are highlighting this value at their in-store branches. One measure of success is the number of new credit cards opened each month. Credit unions then look at the number of cards active after 90 days. A typical goal is 80% of new credit cards active after 90 days.
Measurement of In-store Branch Sales and Marketing Activities
One of the major differences between an in-store branch and a traditional branch is the opportunity to interact with thousands of members walking through the retailer each day. The challenge for credit unions is making sure that they get noticed within a large retailer. Monitoring the sales and marketing activities for both completion and value is important for credit unions successful in this area. In the retailers that allow the use of PA announcements, a log is created to track completion. Also, marketing plans are developed to ensure that weekend promotions are supported. At Service Credit Union ($1.2 billion in assets), based in New Hampshire, employees at the in-store branches run wacky weekend events to help get noticed within the retailers. Events relate to sports, seasons or movies. Employees will dress up in Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees jerseys or find other ways to create a buzz in the retailer. The events create a talking point between the credit union’s employees and potential members. Tracking the sales and marketing activities and measuring the actual impact of the events are an important aspect of success at the in-store branches.
Using Service to Extend the Credit Union’s Brand
Credit unions are known for the great service they provide to members. In-store credit union branches will most likely interact with more potential members than any of the credit union’s traditional branches. One of the best ways to extend the credit union’s brand is through great service. Success in this area takes measurement and training. At American Eagle Federal Credit Union, based in Connecticut, service performance is measured through a combination of four key metrics --- (1) Mystery shopping at the branch, (2) Quality Loop Surveys, (3) Annual Survey, (4) Online Member Feedback form. The $1.1 billion dollar credit union creates a service matrix based on this data to help monitor and train employees on the credit union’s service expectations.
For more ideas on enhancing the performance of credit union in-store branches go to FSI’s website at: http://www.supermarketbank.com/
FSI’s 22 nd Annual National In-Store Banking Conference will be held May 21 – 23 at the National Harbor outside of Washington, DC. To learn more go to: http://www.supermarketbank.com/UserFiles/File/2008conference.pdf