Did the pandemic promote changes in branch prototypes?

Not really. Credit unions have seen more of an evolution than a revolution in their physical locations.

Because similar functions are usually needed at each location, credit union branches are often built based on a prototype. Has something as disruptive as a pandemic that forced branch closures changed the fundamental prototype most credit unions are using? While a typical credit union branch prototype has changed over the past 20 years, experts seem to agree that shift hasn’t been driven faster or onto a different course by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Branch prototypes developed before COVID-19 are still valid because they were built to be flexible and space-conscious, says Jenny Bengeult, EVP/director of design for CUES Supplier member Momentum, a design-build company based in Seattle.

“They can be sized up or down, depending on needs,” she says. Current prototypes generally call for less space but more adaptable space, she notes. “You probably don’t need a large lobby in most locations, or space for long transactional queues. You need space for conversations and small meetings or even space that can be reconfigured for larger seminars or community meetings,” she explains.


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