Brick-and-Mortar Branches Can Still Expand Brand Footprint
Reports of the death of the branch have been greatly exaggerated; or, at the very least, misunderstood.
“We see research showing the consumers still want branches,” said John Mathes, director of brand strategy at Weber Marketing Group, a Seattle-based brand strategy firm. “Whether they use them or not, there is something psychological and intangible about having a branch nearby where they can go in, look across the table at someone and get advice in person.”
While Trailhead's main facility got a facelift, when it was time to branch out, the credit union took advantage of the opportunity to play up its role as another local small business in the form of a 980 square-foot storefront branch, pictured at left.
The area has a lot of bike and foot traffic in a neighborhood filled with lots of locally-owned shops, restaurants, cafes and studios, Faucher said.
The $1.6 billion GTE Financial Credit Union's approach has been to create community financial centers, like the one pictured at left, that aim higher than the traditional branch transactional relationship by delivering on what its members want and need.
“We don't have branches but community financial centers,” said Brian Best, senior vice president of member experience and member solutions at the Tampa, Fla.-based credit union. “We use our facilities as financial education centers to build relationships not just do transactions.”