Credit union branches are an important component of the banking experience for members, even in an era of mobile and online banking. Members come to a credit union's physical locations for many reasons, whether it's just to make a deposit or to discuss the possibility of receiving a loan or other financial product. For the entire time a member is in a branch, the credit union has the opportunity to subtly shape his or her perception of the organization, and to delight him or her with responsive customer service and design.
According to Credit Union Journal, many credit unions are revamping their branch designs to integrate several key factors - the most important of which may be the personal touch.
"We had to reinvent ourselves and create some value as to why people would want to come to a physical location," Island Savings Credit Union Chief Operating Officer Randy Bertsch told Credit Union Journal. "We had to create more of an interactive environment as opposed to a transactive environment and redefine what type of activities should be occurring in each location."
Island Savings Credit Union has 16 branches, and recently redesigned six of them. The intention was to create a personal experience for members, whose needs were determined on a demographic basis for each separate branch. Bertsch reported he and his colleagues wanted to create an experience that felt more like shopping than by stopping by a bank, for example, and achieved it through more glass and open spaces. Technological touches, like offering people waiting for an appointment iPads to browse on instead of magazines to read, were also a part of the redesign.
Individual remodeling needs for each credit union
Credit unions interested in retooling their branch locations to inspire a different kind of experience for their members should keep in mind that the process is will be unique. There are many architectural and design firms that work with credit unions to make the necessary changes, but the direction of any project depends on members' needs. Some credit unions may not have very high levels of online and mobile banking adoption, meaning the rate of branch use is frequent and members may neither need nor want technological improvements. Others may need to be seen to be on the cutting edge of technology to retain and attract their members.
Taking the time to determine what members need can help credit unions make the best renovation decisions and improve their physical locations.