C. Myblog

To Branch Or Not To Branch

May 30, 2013

During strategic planning, credit unions often struggle with deciding to add (or close) physical branches. Constantly changing technology often poses the question if branches are necessary, but a big piece of the puzzle is whether branches are valued by members.

Consider these research findings by CMB Pulse:

  • 67% of bank customers* say branch proximity is very important, while 45% visit their branch fewer than five times a year
  • Customers are satisfied with the convenience of their bank branch up to 10 miles away
  • When forced to choose, 58% of bank customers would prefer closing their local branch over additional fees and cuts in services
  • 43% of bank customers rate online services as important to convenience. For credit unions, it’s 50%
  • Customers of credit unions are the heaviest online banking users. Large national banks are a close second
  • Credit unions are rated more poorly on convenience of physical branches than banks overall

Branches can certainly add visibility. In deciding to add a branch, agree on the strategic objectives for the branch.  Also, consider the other initiatives that you may have to say no to, including technology enhancements because, as with any business, there
is a limited amount of human and financial resources.

*bank customers include credit union customers

Sources: The Future of the Full-Service Bank Branch, CMB, June 2012,
The New Banking Value Proposition, CMB, August 2012

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