Why would current or prospective members want to step foot in a credit union in 2017?
The answers we found to this question now drive our team’s productivity and our members’ loyalty to record highs.
Like other U.S. financial institutions, Elevations Credit Union had seen a dramatic change in member behavior and banking technology over the past decade.
Countless industry analysts have prognosticated about the death of the branch (and continue to do so) thanks to the rise of mobile banking and other factors.
But instead of reducing our commitment to our branches, we were interested in understanding how branch features were evolving and what might improve our members’ experience.
So we spent more than two years visiting community financial institutions around the country, learning from their experiences and closely studying the needs and preferences of our Colorado community members.
Our research indicated that placing our members first required re-envisioning the entire branch structure, including changes to its technology, functionality, and design.
First, we rethought the traditional member-teller paradigm and shifted away from a more transactional setup. We set out to give members the option to engage in more consultative experiences, trusting that this approach would lead to deeper relationships and stronger member loyalty.
Our new branch model includes full-function teller pods for processing a range of transactions. But more importantly, we’ve trained our frontline staff to better support a host of members’ consultative needs and requests.
At our new locations, our members can regularly visit with our financial solutions guides for advice, problem solving, or education about the latest in digital banking technology.
It’s the combination of high touch, one-to-one service and great technology that makes our Branch 2.0 model work.
Aesthetically, our new and remodeled branches more closely resemble your favorite local coffee shop or a neighborhood brewery tasting room, with interior finishes made of reused beetle kill pine, sustainable materials, eco-friendly furniture and Colorado artwork that reflects our local surroundings and lifestyle.
Members say the feel is modern and high-tech, but also cozy and comfortable.
These efforts support our value proposition of building trust and lifelong relationships with our members—and they boosted our Net Promoter scores, new account openings, and consumer loan production measurements across the board.
Following the revamp of our flagship branch in 2016, for instance, our team productivity there soared, with loan volume increasing 36% year over year and new accounts coming in at 4% greater than the previous year.
The branch’s Net Promoter Score rose from 64% to 76%, reaching a record high Net Promoter Score of 95% for the month of November.
These features may not work for every credit union’s membership—and we encourage our industry colleagues to tailor their offerings according to the unique needs of their community.
Through the Branch 2.0 model, Elevations has been able to reimagine this sense of membership and inclusiveness to meet the needs of our members in 2017 and well into the future.
JAY CHAMPION is chief operating oficer at Elevations Credit Union, Boulder, Colo.
►Learn more about how credit unions are transforming their branches in the June issue of Credit Union Magazine.