Retail banking across the world, including at credit unions, will see effects and changes brought about due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the loss in foot traffic to physical locations and increased remote work, institutions with well built-out digital channels can continue to provide value and financial resources to their membership.
At year-end 2019, before the pandemic hit, brick-and-mortar branches were continuing to grow at credit unions nationwide. Total branch counts increased by 113 over the past year to 21,225 as of December. Coinciding with branch growth, total employee counts also expanded. Total full-time equivalent employees (full-time + ½ part-time) increased 3.6% year-over-year to 316,335. As of December, credit unions nationwide employed 304,247 full-time and 24,176 part-time employees.
Growing branch and employee counts have resulted in increased operating expenses. Salary and benefits, which account for 51.4% of total operating expenses at credit unions nationwide, increased 9.8% year-over-year.
In line with increasing branch counts and growing technology offerings around the country, office operation expenses increased 7.7% annually to $9.0 billion at year-end 2019. These expenditures account for 18.4% of total operating expense, the second largest portion behind employee compensation.
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