Branch Efficiency Benchmarking

by Terence Roche

What changes need to be made to your CU’s scorecard to ensure resources are best used?

There is little doubt about what the numbers are showing us about member channel behavior. More and more transactions that used to be performed at branches are now performed in self-service channels. In the sixth edition of The Cornerstone Report: Benchmarks and Best Practices for Credit Unions, we noted that between 2007 and 2011, the average number of teller transactions per branch declined from 10,800 to slightly below 7,000. In that same time, the average number of tellers per branch also declined by a third. New account activity, measured as new accounts opened per branch or per platform full-time equivalent per month, was unchanged over four years.

So, how do credit unions measure branch efficiency in a flat growth environment? In truth, efficiency stayed constant or even improved slightly, mostly due to the reduction of branch staff.

As we look forward, however, we need to acknowledge that branch staff is pretty much “right-sized” at this point, and that further reducing branch headcount significantly, in many locations, may not be realistic. In that case, leveraging required existing resources will become a bigger focus than reducing resources further. So, what are the adjustments credit unions will need to make to the branch scorecard to ensure this is accomplished?

Traditional metrics – These will still apply. Three major numbers have historically been used – new account activity, platform account servicing, and teller account servicing – and there is no reason to change them. Cornerstone’s numbers from The Cornerstone Report show the following:

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