Credit union branch transformation success

Coastal Federal Credit Union changed branch strategy and format to boost revenue, streamline operations and better serve members

by: Bill Prichard

The management team at Raleigh, N.C.-based Coastal Federal Credit Union recently decided that changes in its branch structure were imperative for its future success.

According to CUES member Willard Ross, Coastal FCU’s SVP/chief retail officer, “We had a solid foundation for delivering services, great products and sizeable market share. But our expenses were too high, and our sales were too low for products such as loans and new accounts.”

To boost revenue, streamline operations and better serve members, Coastal FCU set out to transform its branches with a comprehensive five-year plan designed to increase automation, elevate employees into higher-level sales and service roles, and bring innovative new products into the portfolio.

For Coastal FCU, transforming branches started with the elimination of eight underperforming and out-of-market locations. Today, its 17 branches are staffed by highly trained associates focused exclusively on consultative member services. Teller transactional services are provided by a centralized team of tellers via video through personal teller machines located in each branch.

“In total, the branch closings reduced our operating expenses by $5 million annually,” says Ross. “Thanks to PTMs, we now operate with 40 percent fewer tellers, we have increased our teller hours of operation by 86 percent and now serve members from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. At the same time, our sales have almost doubled, going from 1.58 sales per day per branch associate to more than three sales per day per associate.”

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