Jon Voorhees has spent his work life optimizing branch performance. He has headed initiatives where an institution added hundreds of branches and he has headed initiatives where hundreds of branches were closed. His last job at a financial services company – he now is a consultant based in Washington State – was as a senior vice president at Bank of America and you can guess how many challenges he faced at that bank.
But he knows credit unions too and in recent years has worked with a number on a simple question: how to optimize the branch strategy. The question is easy to ask but hard to answer, especially since so much that impacts branching, from the pandemic to financial technology, keeps changing.
One thing Voorhees is adamant about: branches aren’t going way.
Another thing: branches make for remarkably effective billboards for financial institutions. Maybe you cannot afford a sizable ad daily in your local newspaper, but a properly positioned branch, with the right kind of signage. just may succeed in reminding your community that you are still thriving, still ready to help with their financial services needs.
This is a wide ranging conversation, something of a primer on branch optimization,
Along the way you will find out where in supermarket branches make sense (or not), what could possibly go wrong with a branch that featured a Starbucks, and exactly where a branch needs to be in a shopping center.
Personally, I went into this podcast thinking, close’em all. I had come to think that branches had served their purpose and were done. After giving Voorhees a listen, I now believe there is indeed a valuable place for branches in the credit union system – but only when they are smartly sited, tweaked for today’s times, and wear the right, eye-catching signage. And many institutions just aren’t getting that right.
The fixes are in this podcast.
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