News everywhere has been about the decreasing number of bank and credit union branches throughout the U.S. Most people blame COVID, the rapid adoption of mobile banking, or some combination of the two. But recent studies on banking trends are showing a revival in the branch banking front, with many credit unions and community banks investing in updating locations or expanding with new ones.
Account holders continue to drive decisions.
Financial institutions, especially credit unions and community banks, are doubling down on their biggest differentiator – account holder relationships. And branches have continued to help them expand their account holder base and provide much-needed services to existing members and customers.
“We have found that new branches equate to new members,” George Nahodil, president and CEO of Members 1st Federal Credit Union in Enola Pennsylvania.
In addition, recent studies show younger people prefer to have in-person conversations about complex financial products.
The personal touch helps.
Recent banking trend reports show a big push in the past year to convert branches into locations that “advise rather than sell”. This seems largely driven by evidence that younger demographics prefer face-to-face conversations for complex financial services and products.
The growing influence of mobile banking and handling money digitally has changed consumers’ perceptions of branches. Rather than a place that stores physical money, they are a venue for financial transactions and discussion.
“They want to get back and have a conversation with a banker again,” says Mike Abbot, Accenture’s global banking lead. And, he notes, branches should be thought of more as service locations, like Apple Stores.
Ultimately, today’s consumers are demanding a branch experience that builds on and compliments their digital and mobile banking interactions.
The right branches in the right places.
But one of the biggest challenges for today’s financial institutions is being where account holders and target consumers need you. After all, post-COVID business and travel are far different from back in 2019. Hybrid and remote work have shifted how and when consumers shop, commute, and move. These changes to consumer behavior significantly affect the positioning of potentially successful branch locations.
Fortunately, there are ways to track where consumers are searching for your institution’s convenient branches and ATMs. Credit unions and banks that partner with the Wave2 Branch and ATM locator can leverage real-time user behavioral data coupled with powerful geographic data visualization tools like our heat mapping and cluster mapping systems to help make informed decisions about where and how best to expand and how and where to coordinate community outreach.
Find out how the Wave 2 Branch and ATM Locator can help your institution make better branch investments. Contact Wave2 today!
Jason Green, Co-Founder
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