New Analysis Finds Branch Building Boom To Continue In Next Two Years

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A new forecast for credit union branches is predicting that growth will continue at a record pace.

At the same time as the nation's three primary shared branch networks for credit unions have reached an agreement to work together, a new study has been released by Callahan & Associates here that found that of those credit unions surveyed, they plan to add 26% more branches in 2002-2003 than they did in 2000-2001 (see chart, right).

That follows the third straight year of expansion of branch expansion of 10% or more, according to the study, a part of Callahan's recently published 3rd Quarter Research & Data Report.

The study is based on 201 responses to a survey sent to the 2,490 credit unions with more than $30 million in assets. At mid-year 2001, the total dollars invested in land and buildings by the nation's 10,365 credit unions had reached $6.85 billion, an all-time high, according to Callahan's.

"Responses show that the commitment to branching expansion runs deep in credit unions of varying sizes and types and is likely to continue particularly as credit unions open their fields of membership or change to community charters and strive to place branches convenient to where members work, where they live, and where they play," said Callahan's president Chip Filson.

Other Findings In The Research

Among the other findings:

*Storefront branches will increase, but free-standing branches will continue to represent more than half of respondents' branches.

* Credit unions with limited fields of membership expect to grow their number of branches at four times the rate of credit unions with open fields of membership over the same period.

* Incentive programs are offered to branch employees in more than 41% of credit unions, with growth incentives, primarily lending related, dominating their programs.

The Callahan statistics do not include the ongoing growth in the shared service center networks.

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