Dog friendly branches – and other ways to engage the community

Who doesn’t love dogs?

Dog ownership is skyrocketing among young people, even more so during the isolation of the pandemic. This presents an opportunity for you to connect with your members in branches.

The purpose of credit union branches is fundamentally changing. While transaction volumes plummet due to digital banking adoption, most high-value interactions from new account openings to young couples taking out their first mortgage are taking place in the branch.

From dog-friendly branches to farmers’ markets and small business incubators, we see many financial institutions thinking outside the box to drive branch traffic in a digital world.

Dog Friendly Branch

First Fed (forgive me for using a bank case study here, but this one is really cool!) worked with us to build a new branch on the ground floor of a mixed-use building in the trendy historical neighborhood of Fairhaven, WA.

One key aspect of the target market is that they really love dogs! And of course, this made it into the design of the branch.

The branch features retractable walls that open to the sidewalk, and located just outside is a bottle filling station and water fountain – with a low-height fountain just for dogs! Throughout the day there is a stream of people stopping by to give their dogs a drink and get a treat from the friendly branch staff.

These interactions help to build an authentic brand that embraces the local community and drive engagement from First Fed’s street presence.

Farmers Markets and Art Walks

Verity Credit Union’s latest branch is in the Alaska Junction neighborhood of Seattle, one of the most walkable communities in the city. This branch also features a retractable wall that the branch staff open when the weather is nice, and mobile casework allow the branch to be quickly reconfigured.

This openness creates a unique presence during street events, such as the farmer’s market and art walks. Members of the community can walk right into the lobby to view an art gallery, have their children’s face painted, and engage in many other cool activities that Verity hosts.

The branch feels like an extension of the neighborhood, and stands in stark contrast to the BIG BANK next door. When members and potential members approach, staff greet them at the sidewalk and make a personal connection.

Local Business Incubators

Your branch can also be an asset in building a relationship with the local small business community.

Armco Credit Union’s new flagship branch in Mars, PA does just this. In addition to being a full service hub branch, the majority of the branch’s footprint is a large community room that serves as an event space and small business incubator. The space can be divided with dry-erase partition walls and features configurable desks and seating as well as support for presentations, and it can be securely opened after-hours.

These spaces are incredibly valuable for growing businesses, and providing this service helps Armco expose more organizations to the benefits of the credit union’s business banking services.

How Can You Connect with Your Community?

Take a moment to think about your branch network can help you engage with your local community.

Can you see your credit union being an art walk destination? Would you like people walking their dogs to stop by and say “hi”? Or do you see one of your branches being an incubator for small local business?

These are just a few examples, and the possibilities are endless!

If you’d like to take the next step in connecting with your community, reach out and start a conversation today!

Jay Speidell

Jay Speidell

Jay Speidell is the Marketing Manager at Momentum, a strategic design-build partner that takes a people centric approach to helping credit unions across the nation thrive. Web: Details