Causing a major problem for LGFCU members:
WASHINGTON– Is the branch dead, as many believe? Quite the opposite, according to one expert—but the branch will need to be different as might the people who work there.
During CUNA’s GAC [3/1/2023], Bill Handel, general manager and chief economist with Raddon, told a breakout session it’s critical to get into the “how’s and why’s” of branching as the branch transformation process is well under way.
“Is the branch dead? That’s something that a lot of people are saying. People say the branch has short legs, it isn’t viable for the future,” said Handel. “That’s something our research indicates is just the opposite. The branch will play a very pivotal role in your future. But it will be different.Net Growth in CUs
Credit unions, he said, have seen a net growth in branches between 2012 and 2022. More striking, he said, is that CUs grew branch counts by 34% during this period. “I really think the branch becomes important in a high-tech/high touch environment,” Handel said. In response to a question, just a few hands in the room were raised to indicate they have net fewer branches now than 10 years ago.
The Raddon research around branch usage by consumers discovered one “fascinating” finding, Handel said.
“Millennials are most likely to have walked into a branch. Why? The role of the branch is different from the past. Millennials are between 25-45 and they are moving into what we call the age of significance. What they are looking for from their financial services provider is different from what they needed in college. They are buying houses in droves. What this is really showing is there is a significant demand for branches.”
“We have found many organizations are struggling with this process of branch transformation. We pull people together and everyone has an opinion. “The first thing to do is to get the facts.”