Biz Bites: Advice On Where To Build Branches

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Branch strategy used to be simple: when the CU's core sponsor opens a new site, the CU opened a new branch on-site. But nothing is that simple anymore, said Level 5 Principal John Hyche.

During Hyche's presentation at The Credit Union Journal's SEG & Business Development Conference, one attendee asked what makes more sense: building branches near where members work or near where members live?

"Once upon a time, credit unions always knew the answer to this question: put the branch where members worked," he related.

But as more credit unions convert to community charters, or add so many SEGs that they start to feel like community charters, that is no longer the automatic answer, Hyche said. In fact, quite the opposite is true. "When you survey consumers, about 60% prefer to go to a branch near where they live," he reported.

It's a strategy that makes a lot of sense, he suggested. "You want your branch where they live, because that's where they tend to shop," Hyche offered. "And we're not talking Christmas shopping. We're talking about where they buy their groceries, where they go to the drugstore. These are places where they transact everyday business, and that's where you want to be."

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