How CUs Can Get A Free Branch

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CHICAGO-Looking to save money? How about a free branch?

That's almost possible, contends Bill Goedken, president of Goedken Consulting Group in Sedalia, Colo., who explained how co-branding a location and sharing space with another retailer can cover the operating costs for an office. "Castle Rock Bank shares space with Starbucks. The rent Starbucks pays covers all the expenses to run the branch except employee salaries."

The move not only saves money, it brings in more business, stressed Goedken. "People like to multi-task, have coffee, lunch, and do their banking at the same time. This is one of best ways to touch the lives of your members, which is exactly what you need to do today to build stronger relationships."

Goedken shared the strategy during NAFCU's 43rd Annual Conference here at Navy Pier. He stressed, though, you must choose the right company to do business with. "Be careful, as the approach does not work every time. Pick a business that you believe you can partner with and that fits with your members' lifestyles."

While co-branding works, the credit union needs a strong brand promise-and it has to be more than service. "Service is a given. If you don't offer great service today, you are not even in the game."

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