Branching best practices
Tackling a branch redesign isn’t a simple task that can be completed quickly, credit union leaders agree. And no set process exists for every credit union to follow.
“This new philosophy is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and we didn’t dream it up overnight,” Champion says. “It’s the product of years of careful study.”
Still, some common best practices emerge:
Do your research. Study your current branch design and figure out what’s important to your members. What products, services, and features do they want a branch to provide?
“We’ve had almost 70 credit unions visit us in the past two years,” Schaefer says. “The first question we always ask is, ‘Why are you here? What are you trying to solve?’ You’d be surprised how many don’t know.”
Look at other examples. See how other credit unions have redesigned their branches. Visit and talk with leaders and employees at those credit unions to see what worked, what didn’t, and what advice they’d offer.
Tweak as necessary. Once you’ve redesigned your branch, continue to monitor its performance and make changes to accomplish the goals you’ve set for the branch.
“We’re trying to be nimble,” Schaefer says. “We realize our journey’s not perfect. But we want to fail fast and fail cheap.”
Remember the people. While redesigning the look and feel of your branch and updating technology is important, don’t forget about your employees.
Make sure your staff has the knowledge to take on the consultative role members will expect in the new facility and the ability to give members the experience they desire.
“The investment in the look of your branch,” Calhoun says, “is only as good as the people inside your branch.”