Many industry executives are contemplating the fate of the branching model, but few have been as bold as Patricia Zyma (pictured), president/CEO of Utilities Employees Credit Union.

Her $1.1 billion credit union, headquartered in Wyomissing, Penn., has altogether abandoned the notion that branches are a required part of every credit union’s existence or success, and she had some advice for credit unions that want to do the same.

From its beginnings in 1934, UECU has followed a virtual business model to serve its 44,000 members. Today, UECU still has no branches, doesn’t participate in any shared branching networks and doesn’t run an ATM network. UECU’s call center generally handles questions about transaction activities, and human financial service consultants and wealth management consultants are available via phone or virtual chat. Its operating expenses are about one-third of its peers, Zyma said.

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Tina Orem


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