July 31, 2017


  • This is a very timely article Ian, as the subject of branch strategy, in relationship to technology offerings and the consumer/member relationship is top of mind with the majority of our clients. If there was a specific answer to the question of "what does one do with their branches and their branch network?", the question might be answered with the question of "what purpose do you want your branches to serve?". Digging a little deeper into the unique offerings of a Credit Union, using predictive analytics to validate market demand and understanding the competitive market and local needs, are but a few of the elements that need to researched when planning and designing the physical branch environment. This research of course spills over into the development of the branch network. With banking technology increasingly meeting the majority of the needs of the consumer/member, the branch function itself needs to be spot on in terms of supporting the work of the staff in their efforts to enhance the member relationship. At the end of the day, the physical branch itself is but a tool in the service offerings of a Credit Union and a branch should be viewed as a real estate investment in your retail network. If the investment is not generating the desired return, then a change must be made. With physical transactions continuing to decline, even legacy branch locations are being repositioned and transformed to adjust to market demands, but only when their locations are validated to be relevant to a Credit Union's overall retail strategy. The basic functions of a branch; cash handling, account management, loan origination to name a few, should not limit the performance of a specific location. For example, is an incubator space or community meeting space needed in your market? Why not offer it? Taking time in researching the specific needs of your consumer/member can be an eye opener, and will help to ensure that your branches are relevant and profitable.
    Bob Saunders
  • Bob - very valid points. Think you hit the nail on the head in regards to branching strategy and questions to consider as the dynamics of the market change. Thank you for reading and contributing to the conversation!
    Ian Melhorn