Benefit Of Branches

Some things just can’t be replaced by technology.


Somewhere in the early 2000s, the idea of traditional brick-and-mortar branches began to feel somewhat dated: a feature that would eventually go the way of cassettes and New Coke . But as companies spent the next decade revving up toward the bleeding edge, they too often left the priorities of the consumer behind (3D TV anyone?).

As our technology capacities grow, we continue to find new ways to adapt to and operate in virtual worlds, but in our excitement to embrace the new way of doing something, we sometimes overlook the importance of the old way.

Technology may be a guiding beacon, but it’s not going to trim down your waistline or install your new rain gutters for you. Like a 6-year-old with an Xbox, we all need to occasionally unplug from technology and come back to reality. The continuation of traditional theater, even with high-tech alternatives like home entertainment systems, iPads, Netflix and Hulu, speaks to the importance of the tangible real-life experience for consumers. In short, some things just can’t be replicated by technology.

For the financial services industry, the branch will always be an important, if not primary, aspect of our businesses. Even those who choose to go fully online can continue to improve the physical locations necessary to support their operations.

In the most recent issue of Technology@CU,  the quarterly operations supplement to Credit Union Strategy & Performance, we tackle these challenges. We look at ways that technology, in tandem with new approaches to training, design, and operations, can evolve the brick and mortar model rather than replacing it.  From employee productivity to alternative branch locations, the 2Q11 edition examines strategies that maximize the impact of each branch visit and encourage new ones.

We also address different models for call center operations that put employee desires in the spotlight, along with best practices for vetting potential partners. Lastly, we examine next-generation branch technology and remote services like online loan applications and ATM utilization to help you decide where to invest your resources.

My colleague Aaron Pugh covers these same issues almost weekly on this website, including the Best of October winner, Three Ways to Make a Good Call Center Great. I encourage you to register for our morning Currently On newsletter which provides a compelling mix of original features, blogs, and multimedia all produced with the goal of encouraging credit unions to take action to improve your financial performance. 


Nov. 17, 2011



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