Branches Remain a Valuable Component of Member Service

CO-OP-Financial-Services-Logo-Featured-Image-SLIBranches are not going away. They are changing to suit the omnichannel access demands of today’s consumer.

In 2015, CO-OP Financial Services reported that the credit union industry’s shared branching network surpassed Bank of America in number of branches, making CO-OP Shared Branching the third-largest financial services branch network in the country.

“In many ways, shared branching is powering the growth of the Credit Union Movement—it’s the purest expression of coast-to-coast collaboration,” said Craig Beach, Chief Operating Officer of CO-OP Shared Branching. “It’s a key element in the credit union industry’s initiative to extend convenient services to all members regardless of where they are.”

The branch isn’t entering an end cycle; rather it is evolving with more of a concentration on sales than service. As technologies such as mobile banking and remote deposit capture contribute to the decline of basic branch transactions, the value of the branch channel remains significant. In fact, shared branching is becoming more important than ever. As the number of individual credit union branches decrease, the nationwide network of shared branch locations will enable credit unions to maintain their community presence.

For credit unions considering closing branches—who are rightly worried about how that will play for members who like branch service—their solution is to join shared branching. The concept provides a smooth transitional glide path for lowering branch count. No matter what your branch strategy is – add branches, transform them, close them—your members are still going to “need” locations everywhere, and shared branching is the solution.

And, the fact is branches continue to be attractive to a new generation of members.

“In spite of their virtual-world reputations, Gen Y’ers like the touch and feel of the real world and the proof is in their preference for branch services,” said Beach. “Gen Y’ers prefer to conduct transactions in person at branches at a rate of 2.5 times greater than consumers over the age of 65.”

If your credit union is ready to adopt or expand shared branch participation, CO-OP Financial Services can provide expert guidance on best the methods of implementation.

For more information, visit http://www.co-opfs.org/solutions/connect/shared-branching.