Credit Union Real Estate Decisions: Branching Better
Despite all the gloomy pandemic (and post-pandemic) predictions, credit unions from coast-to-coast are bullish on branches.
Not long ago, those who think they know, began penning their collective eulogies for retail bank and credit union branches alike. The general reasoning went like this …
- Covid-19 has forever diminished the desire for face-to-face interaction.
- Employees no longer want to commute to work, even if the commute is a short one.
- Customers and members are learning how to transact more and more of their banking needs on-line, even for mortgages, small business and auto loans.
- Fintechs are (and often still are) under-cutting traditional banks and CU’s on fees and aggressively marketing their new brands in ways that resonate with young adults coming into the market.
The result, so we were told, was “buh-bye” to traditional banks and branches. It was a nice ride while it lasted. Cue the organ music.
Uh, maybe not so fast …
Despite the ominous predictions, many banks and CUs are not only maintaining their branches, but re-investing in them and – more importantly – opening new ones. Proof of this can be found in a recent American Banker article entitled Credit Unions Laser-Focused on Adding Members and Branches.
In this piece, top executives from five credit unions – (including our client Timothy Mislansky, president and CEO of Wright-Patt Credit Union in Beavercreek, Ohio) – discussed their strategies by growing portfolio membership through branch expansion. Here is a link to the article.
For me, a key takeaway is that the CU’s cited in this article aren’t in just one or two geographic regions, but are located in markets throughout the country. That’s because, from coast-to-coast, credit unions are making capital investments to expand their branch presence in order to reach more prospective members right where they are.
As for Rubicon, we’re busier than ever. While I like to think it’s all because we know the banking industry’s real estate needs and deliver consistently excellent results, but there’s more to it than that.
It’s also because – despite all those rumors-to-the-contrary – many credit unions remain bullish about their businesses and are continuing to invest in their branches, brands and employees … all in service to their charters and their “ideal” members-of-the-future.
Corey A. Waite is a leading commercial real estate advisor to the financial services industry. As Founder and CEO of Rubicon Concierge Real Estate Services, Corey works directly with senior executives coast-to-coast to deliver strategic plans and transactional services focused on optimizing the needs of employees, clients and members.
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