Guest Opinion: Shared Branching Cuts Costs, Aids Members
With today’s economy still sputtering, credit unions–and just about any other organization across the nation–remain vigilant about cutting costs to survive and hopefully thrive when the economy returns to good health. In the meantime, credit unions are making every effort to keep their expenses in check while not sacrificing member service to maintain their value.
Surprisingly, even with the lingering economic woes, many credit unions are actually growing their memberships. That’s great news for them, our industry, and the economy. But, unfortunately, there are a fair number of them that want to continue growing but cannot afford to because of the high expense of properly serving their expanding memberships. A couple of those costly overhead expenses include building and maintaining branches along with hiring additional employees to fill those branches. If they cannot physically expand to accommodate their growing membership, how do these credit unions continue growing–or simply retain their current members? It’s a quandary for sure, but there is an answer. Shared branching.
Shared branching helps if a branch must be shuttered in a particular area because of a difficult business decision, for instance. A shared branch can easily take the place of a closed branch without the high cost of maintaining it. It can minimize the possible damage of losing those members because of closing a branch in a particular area. With shared branching, there’s still a credit union presence in the area to serve those members affected by the closing.
In another scenario, many branches located in the workplace have strict security access that makes it a challenge for spouses or other family members to bank there. A shared branch in the same vicinity can eliminate that access challenge without having to build and staff a new one. There’s no longer a need to use the security-laden branch because the comparable shared branch is nearby.