Branching evolves as membership grows

New takes on service delivery at U.S. credit unions increase operational efficiencies and attract new members.

The number of branches operated by U.S. credit unions continues to decline, but surviving locations are evolving to encompass all aspects of retail delivery.

There were 18,135 credit union branches operating in the United States as of June 30, 2018, according to data from Callahan & Associates. That’s 646 fewer than one year earlier, which translates to an annual decline of 3.4%. During the same period, banks increased their overall branch count by 0.3%, or 296 branches, bringing their total count to 87,971 as of June 30. Banks report branch-level data only in the second quarter of the year. Callahan analysts use credit union branch data from the same quarter for uniform comparative analysis.

Along with branch count, the total number of credit unions in the United States has also dropped. The 5,596 operational credit unions as of June 30, 2018, represented an annual decrease of 3.8%. Total membership, on the other hand, is on the rise. It increased 4.3% to 115.4 million. The average number of members per credit union consequently rose 8.0% from 5,891 in the second quarter of 2017 to 6,362 in the second quarter of 2018. To accommodate the growing volume of members, credit unions have increased their digital capabilities and deployed flexible staffing models.


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