Credit union branches—dead or alive?

The perennial debate rages on.  For quite a while, we’ve heard that branches are dead (or dying)—”nobody needs to venture into brick and mortar when they can do all of their ‘banking’ from the convenience of a smart phone or home computer”, right? Is that just wishful thinking and is there hard evidence that branches have surpassed their normal half-life? Or are they still relevant as the world of banking continues to evolve?

Branches Have Been the Backbone of the Credit Union Infrastructure

We’ve all heard the histories and lore of many credit unions that started in the basement of a church, someone’s home, or in the lunchroom of a company.  The mythology surrounding the shoebox “vaults,” the manager’s desk drawer cash box, and the 100-sq-ft basement branch get more and more mysterious with passing years. They are part of the nostalgic and proud journey that credit unions point to as why we’re different.

Over time, safety, discipline, and technology brought about the modern credit union branch as we know it today. Similar, in many respects to bank branches, except for the claim we continue to make about member intimacy and service. For a long time, the claim of providing better service via branches was real.


continue reading »