Engaging branches

How credit unions can leverage their facilities to deliver better member experiences and boost their brand

Over the last decade, mobile banking platforms and convenient features like remote deposit capture have gradually moved the transactional aspects of credit unions away from physical branch facilities and into online spaces. This transition was already well underway when the pandemic hit in 2020, but COVID-19 accelerated the shift even more quickly, calling the function of many branches into question.

Though the digital capabilities of credit unions are ever evolving and growing in sophistication, physical branches continue to play an important role in attracting and retaining members, providing space to engage with and advise members and strengthening brand awareness within local communities. As a result, facilities are still important to a credit union’s success—as long as branch and digital strategies are working together to create a well-integrated member experience.

The role of the branch today

In conducting research into the reasons why people choose one credit union or bank over another, design-build firm La Macchia Group, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has found that the decision is not always about convenience.

“Although convenience is a factor, what we’re finding is that people are choosing organizations that they have heard of or have had experience in building a trusted relationship—meaning the credit union has helped out the member in a way that other banks didn’t or made them feel important in a way that other organizations didn’t,” says Tim Klatt, director of retail strategies. He notes that the ability to develop personal relationships at a local community branch can be critically important to people when selecting a credit union.


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