Branch Transformation Quick Start Guide: Part 1

Feb. 22, 2018 ⋅ Categories: Branch Insights, Resources

Quick Start Your Branch Transformation Project

Part 1: Formulate a Plan


In this first part of our How to: Kick Off a Branch Transformation series we’ll walk you through the process of formulating a branch transformation plan, from defining objectives that will set you up for success to building the momentum you need to get your project set in motion.

There are three major steps to formulating an initial plan, and if done well they can all but guarantee a successful project. First, you must identify your project objectives and show how they fit into and facilitate your organization’s overall strategy. Next, you must create a clear definition of a successful project. This will help you refine your objectives and develop a list of relevant project requirements later. It will also help you establish clear metrics against which your team can measure the organization’s progress towards achieving its branch transformation objectives. Finally, you should identify the project stakeholders and plan how and when you will integrate them into the planning phase. You can’t build a plan in a vacuum, for this project to be successful you’re going to need expertise and feedback from many areas of your organization.   

Why Are You Doing This?

A branch transformation project is more than a fresh design, it’s an opportunity step back and think about how your branch network can best meet changing consumer demands, adapt to technology advancements, and deliver the highest value to your members.

Take a moment to think about the parts of your organizational strategy that are impacted by your retail channel. What objectives can you set for this branch transformation that would help you achieve your goals?

The first step is to look at the big picture and major changes in the industry. Think about the move to digital services, the automation of transactions, and, most importantly, your credit union’s relevance to the membership as more and more of them are using FinTech apps.

For example, say in one of your markets you know that the majority of consumers now prefer to deposit checks and conduct other basic transactions via the mobile app but still want to come in and talk to someone when making decisions about lending products. What objectives could you set that would make your credit union the best place for them to do their banking?

It’s also important to consider your growth metric goals here. Are you trying to set cross selling goals to get your checking account members to take out a mortgage with your credit union instead of a big bank? If so, increasing the ease and quality of conversations in your branches would be an excellent objective. Are you trying to establish yourself as a regional branching hub? Think about setting an objective around supporting high transaction volumes.

Remember that objectives for this branch won’t exist in a vacuum. It’s not just about fresh colors and new technology, this is an opportunity to turn this branch into a pillar supporting your organization’s goals.

Define Success

You’ve looked at this project from a strategic perspective, now let’s jump ahead a couple years and define what success looks like for this branch transformation. Imagine the project is complete and the branch has been open for a while. What has changed for your financial institution because of your investment in this project? What metrics will you use to measure the return on investment?

A few metrics that many of our clients have used to define project success are decreased cost per transaction, deposit or loan growth, improved mobile banking adoption, brand recognition in a new market, and lower staff turnover.

Setting a clear definition of project success and the metrics you plan to use to assess it will help align your team toward making better decisions during the planning phase. And the ROI calculations that you make during this part of the process can greatly simplify the go/no-go decision process and help build stakeholder buy-in and enthusiasm for the project.

Integrate Project Stakeholders

Many different individuals have a stake in this branch transformation project. Some will benefit from the outcomes, some may see it as a risk, and some can make or break the project with their decisions or contributions. It’s critical to the success of a project that stakeholders are identified early on and that you plan for how and when they can be integrated into the project to maximize buy-in and get the most out of their participation.

The IT department, for example, can help evaluate the technology strategy for a given branch design and staffing model. Want your staff to work from tablets instead of being stuck behind teller pods? You’ll need IT to help you understand what bank equipment and back end technology requirements are necessary to implement that, and give you an idea of the cost. Branch managers can give insights into how members move through the branches, shedding light on what aspects of the current designs are working and what areas need attention. Marketing and sales teams can help you understand the market demographics and product demands.

Integrating all of the stakeholders early on will also give the team a sense of ownership in the project. Instead of trying to sell the project to various stakeholders, inviting them to participate and contribute to the process will make getting buy-in much easier and improve the overall quality and end result.

Put together a list of the project stakeholders and next to each name write how and when they will be integrated. Some stakeholders to consider are the board of directors, senior leadership team, branch operations, finance, marketing, IT, the branch staff, and, most importantly, your members. Can you think of anyone else who has a stake in the project?

Put it All Together

A well-documented mission can help you take this project from a simple renovation to a branch transformation project that has a lasting positive impact on your credit union’s success. This is your opportunity to step up to your competition and a rapidly changing industry and ensure that your organization, no matter the size, stands out as the best option for today’s consumers.

This is the first part of our five-part guide Quick Start Your Branch Transformation Project. Don’t forget to subscribe to stay up-to-date with our latest insights!


Like this content? Want to see more? Subscribe Today!

Our Blog

  • Branch Insights
  • Workplace Insights
  • In the News
  • Resources
  • Grow your organization strategically Contact Us