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What about Those Branches?
Thursday, April 7, 2016 6:15 AM

By Bob Rehm, CUDE, VP Sales and Service, Credit Union Resources

Credit Union Resources has several partners fully engaged in the conversation and execution of branch transformation. The discussion and analysis centers around this question: “How do we best deploy people, physical locations, and technology to achieve our goals?”

Three of our partners who are active participants in this evolution are CO-OP Financial Services, Diebold, and Level 5. Together, they sit at the epicenter of helping credit unions find the right mix of people, technology, and location.

In July of 2015, John Hyche of Level 5 posted an article that discussed this evolving use of channels:

Although the role of the branch is changing, retail branches remain an important element in an institution’s omni-channel delivery strategy. As financial institutions evaluate their current networks or contemplate new branches for branch transformation, they must be keenly aware of the market they intend to serve and the business case that supports the decision.

In the future, branches will focus on customer service and the sale of more sophisticated products and services. The branch will work in a hub-and-spoke relationship with a variety of other delivery channels to offer the customer a wide variety of access points to the institution to deepen wallet share and long-term stickiness with the institution.

Credit Union Resources’ Impact Group is exploring how branches will be evolving to meet changing markets and the new operating environment. Members of the Impact Group will participate in a discussion of branch transformation at CO-OP’s THINK Conference held in California May 2016. The group was formed last year as a forum with the purpose of engaging in discussions about products and services credit unions need and to be advocates for Resources’ services.

Raja Bose, Diebold’s vice president of branch transformation and advisory services, recently wrote about applying The Goldilocks Theory to branch transformation. It illustrates a broad, yet basic principle: Too much or too little of anything is rarely the ideal.

According to Bose, “We apply the theory to branch transformation in a variety of ways. Financial institutions may do too little or too much when it comes to their transformation and automation strategies. They may add or remove employees without the proper forethought. Or they may hurry to close, reorganize, or open branches, leading to networks that are too vast or so small they’re nowhere to be found.”

So, where is your credit union in the evolution of your branches?