Future-proofing Credit Union branch designs
Titled ‘In Sync’, the Canadian Credit Union Association’s Enterprise Magazine takes a look at how credit unions are adapting their branches to address usage shifts as a result of technology; now and for the future.
Because technology has prompted a disruption in banking services, branch usage patterns have changed. Factor in demographic shifts, competition from traditional banks, digital-only banking services and rapidly changing expectations from consumers means that credit unions really need to understand their current and future members. What do they want out of a branch experience? Why are they still coming to the branch? Where should the branch be? How can we scale a branch design for a network in different communities and distinct demographic profiles?
The ‘Branch of the Future’ is here now. It’s about delivering financial services in a way that is relevant for individuals and individual communities. People want convenience, yes, but also face-to-face consultative service – advice — for big ‘life moments’ like small business loans, mortgages and life insurance.
RATIO principal, Chris Pollard was interviewed for his thoughts on future-proofing credit union branch design through scalability, member insights and community profiling.
“For credit unions, the branch of the future meets financial service expectations through a hub-andspoke model,” he says. “Branches are scaled to meet service requirements. The branch of the future plays a role in the community, providing flexible space to community groups, small business owners and group meetings or educational seminars. Branch design may reflect a network brand but offer a local feel. It’s all about the customer, from delivering the kind of service they want, how they want it, seamlessly from online to branch, where the physical branch is an inviting environment for one to one high-value transactions.”
Pollard also believes that meeting future needs requires a commitment to staying connected with members, something credit unions already do well. “By staying connected to their
customers, credit unions will understand why people still want to come into branches. When a client comes to us and says, ‘we’ve leased a new space and we want to do a renovation’, or ‘can you help us find a new space?’ we take a step back and look at where they want to be in five or 10 years. Because the decisions you’re making now have a massive effect on what you’re able to do in the future.”
RATIO and Credit Unions:
The RATIO team has provided architectural, interior design and planning services to credit unions for over 50 years. Recent and ongoing financial service projects include the re-imagined Island Savings branch network, award-winning design on the downtown branch of Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union, refresh of Greater Vancouver Community Credit Union’s brand and branch template. RATIO provides integrated consulting on all Vancity branches and the forward-thinking branch concept for First West Credit Union through their Envision Financial brand.