Have you ever yearned for your institution to place a branch at a particular location, knowing it would be an instant success? How often is this dream met with a quick dose of reality- a realization that the investment would be out of reach, or available real estate impossible to come by? Or have you ever wished that that branch you were able to develop several years ago hadn’t been built so big or didn’t take up so much expensive lease space? Many credit unions are pursuing out of the box branch solutions that help them overcome these obstacles while also better serving their members. From portable solutions and alternative building methods to developing unique partnerships, credit unions are overcoming branching challenges, and they’re doing so on their own terms.
Frontwave Credit Union wanted a new branch to serve the marines on Camp Pendleton, but they were faced with a major obstacle. The nature of the secure location meant that construction activities and labor would be difficult and costly to arrange, to meet their budget they needed a way to deliver a new building within a fraction of the usual on-site construction time.
Frontwave came up with a solution: modular construction. They chose a modular builder who could deliver a manufactured building that didn’t look like a manufactured building, and Momentum designed the branch interior around this strategy. With most of the construction efforts done off-site, we were able to deploy the branch with minimal site traffic and labor. The result was a great looking new branch serving the marines on base that bypassed the expensive logistical nightmare of building in a secure location! The modular manufacturing process also used less energy and generated less waste than a typical construction project.
Another partner, CBC Federal Credit Union, was undergoing a branch transformation in a large branch in a great location. The problem was that they were moving to a smaller footprint branch and only needed about half of their current 4,700 square feet of space. Their solution was a unique partnership that effectively used the excess space, brought in new revenue, and significantly increased foot traffic. The partnership? CBC’s new branch is the first combined credit union branch and Dunkin’ donut shop in the world!
There are also many situations where a small, temporary location could help your credit union reach a large number of people, including those who have had little exposure to the credit union movement. Imagine if you could have a branch presence at a college campus on move-in weekend or a gameday, or at an NFL stadium. Or what about in underserved communities that can’t support a branch? For many banks and credit unions today this is a reality through pop-up microbranches. These small, portable branches are about the size of a shipping container and can easily be delivered to a location to give your credit union a high-visibility branch presence and reach new markets.
And these ideas are just a starting point. Next time the thought pops into your head that “I wish we could reach the people here,” don’t dismiss it! Whatever obstacle stands in the way of you putting a branch in that location can likely be tackled with an out of the box solution! And the best part of this is that if you come up with that solution first and enter uncharted territory, you’re creating a new opportunity or penetrating a market that other banks and credit unions don’t have access to.