Is Bigger, Better? Some Consumers Seem To Think So

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Here's a one-question quiz on consumers and branches: All else being equal (distance from home or work, etc.), why will consumers choose a financial institution's branch on one corner over a competitor's on another?

The answer, according to one firm that analyzes such decisions, is its size. All else being equal, consumers will opt for the branch that is physically bigger.

That's according to ESRI, Inc., Redlands, Calif., which spoke to The Credit Union Journal during the recent BAI Retail Delivery Show, and noted that was among the findings of its "gravity modeling" software. The company was one of several on hand pitching services to help financial institutions effectively target locations for one of the most expensive, and ideally rewarding, decisions made by management-where to site a new branch.

"Proximity is most important," explained Dan Primavera, retail and commercial industry solutions manager. "That much is known by most financial institutions. The challenge lies in identifying proximity to what."

ESRI uses ongoing demographic data, member data, traffic data and other information to help credit unions make decisions on where to build a branch, a process of separating the "weak spots from the sweet spots," according to Primavera. It can take member data, for instance, and lay that over various projections and other data (such as competitors' locations) to create a map of potential sites for a branch.

With ATMs, it can analyze where members are using foreign ATMs to suggest a location for a new machine.

"We don't do the analysis for the credit union, but we do give them the tools to do it themselves," he said.

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