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ACUC: CU Branches Evolving To Meet Members' Needs
NEW YORK (7/3/13)--U.S. credit unions are changing the design and function of credit union branches to meet the evolving needs of members, said a panel discussion at a CUNA Mutual Group Discovery Breakout Session, "Branches of the 'Future' are Here Today," Tuesday at the 2013 America's Credit Union Conference.
The ACUC, presented by the Credit Union National Association in New York City, runs through today.
Raja Bose, senior director, consumer transaction services at Diebold and the moderator for the panel, said there are five factors driving change in the credit union marketplace.
They are:
  • Exponential change in technology, with consumers rapidly adopting new technology and expecting more from credit unions;
  • The rise of consumer power, with empowered consumers driven by social media;
  • Transformational technology;
  • Changing demographics; and
  • The new normal--lower profits for financial institutions because of the rise of retail financial services.
"Consumers want to feel like they are in control, and they don't feel they are getting this today," Bose said. Strategies for credit unions include driving efficiencies, mitigating risks, enhancing member experience and increasing sales.
Four credit unions talked about some changes they've made to branches to elevate staff efficiency, reduce costs and improve member service:

They are:
  • Coastal CU in Raleigh, N.C., which has implemented personal teller machines (PTMs), a video-based technology that does everything a traditional teller would do--dispense cash, create images of checks and answer questions, said Willard Ross, Coastal senior vice president and chief retail officer. This is not self-service, but rather personalized service provided by staff at an offsite call center. The benefits include low-cost extended hours of operation, consistently faster and better service (average wait time 20 to 30 seconds), and lower teller turnover in a safer, more focused, better managed work environment.
  • Generations FCU in San Antonio, Texas, which has moved to in-store branches that helped it transition its staffing model to be more nimble and cross-functional because fewer employees no longer are stuck in separated employment silos, said Bonnie Garcia, Generations assistant vice president of business development. "Tellers can now do everything from A to Z," she said, because there are fewer employees and a smaller footprint at the in-store branches.
  • Five County CU in Bath, Maine, which has eight branches--five with in-store locations, one traditional branch and  two full-service "video branches"  that feature PTMs and "smart offices," said  Michael Foley, Five County vice president of sales and business development. The smart offices have the equipment and capability (such as sharing computer screens) to help members go online and also to help them set up to have online bill pay. Five County also has a full-service call center staffed with 18 employees.
  • Pennsylvania State Employees CU (PSECU) in Harrisburg, Pa., which implemented e-centers on 12 different college campuses in the state that serve 400,000 students, said Greg Smith, PSECU president/CEO. Each e-center is 200-300 square feet, staffed with one manager and student intern. The focus on college students is to sustain lending operations and take advantage of the marketing "sweet spot" they are in because the impact of major life events ahead of them equates to credit needs, Smith said.
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