A bank branch is both expensive to operate — nearly 16,000 of them in the U.S. are unprofitable — and constantly evolving — since 1985, the number of transactions carried out in the branch channel has dropped by 55 percent.
When University Federal Credit Union found itself face-to-face with the modern-day realities of branch operation, the Austin-Texas-based FI decided it was time to reinvent the model.
UFCU worked with the branch transformations group at Diebold, led by Raja Bose, to develop a branch concept that would simultaneously emphasize customer service and low operating costs — two business objectives that don't necessarily go hand in hand.
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But the credit union and the Diebold team ultimately hit upon a formula that did achieve both goals by focusing on two key elements: assisted self-service and universal personal financial representatives.
Steve Kubala, senior vice president of operations and COO at University Federal Credit Union, said that customers readily accepted the model, which immediately began to generate returns.
"Our typical branch had 12 full-time equivalents," Kubala said. "And at this branch what we started out with was a base level of five FTEs. The return on investment was relatively quick for us because we deployed four financial centers in a 5-month period that were this interactive center model. Each of those the savings is about $350,000 a year in staffing costs." What's more, costs per transaction have declined substantially, Kubala said.
The following slide show offers a closer look at the UFCU branch reinvention — design, environment, banker/member interaction, and the self-service solutions that provide the underpinnings for the new branch model.
View the photo gallery.
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All images courtesy of Diebold.