Consumers' preference for branches amplifies shared-branching value

January 8, 2016

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (1/8/16)— The results of November 2015 study by U.S. Bank--that consumers still prefer going to brick-and-mortar branches for their financial transactions--amplifies the strength of the credit union shared branching model, according to CO-OP Financial Services.

The shared branching concept is unique to the credit union industry, enabling members to enter any of these branches and conduct financial transactions as if they were in their own hometown credit union branch.

The U.S. Bank study data support the findings of studies conducted by CO-OP Financial Services (, which manages CO-OP Shared Branch, a nationwide network of 5,400 branches dedicated to serving members of 1,800 participating credit unions.

“Branches are not going to go away, but they are changing,” said Sarah Canepa Bang, CO-OP Shared Branch chief strategy officer. “The modern consumer wants it all--mobile, online and branches--and they expect all access points to work together in a single harmonious, delightful user experience. Shared branching gives credit unions--which are often smaller, community-centric institutions--a coast-to-coast footprint to meet consumer demand for face-to-face, personal service.”

Banking from anywhere around the globe is convenience personified, but making deposits, withdrawals, transfers and account inquiries at a real branch is still essential for the majority of Americans. Some of the findings from the study include:

  • 63% of respondents indicate they will never make all of their financial transactions digitally;
  • 80% prefer working with an server representative instead of a virtual one; and
  • 86% plan to do business in actual branches during the next five years.

“Shared branching is the tangible demonstration of credit unions’ willingness to work together on behalf of all members to ensure convenient access to personal service wherever they may travel,” said Canepa Bang. “Studies--such as one from last year by J.D. Power on retail banking--also find that younger consumers are among the most frequent branch users. These consumers have discovered credit union branches to be great sources of personal financial counsel.”