CINCINNATI-Don't overlook the bottom line impact of reviewing branch performance, reminds Michael King, VP strategic planning at DEI.

"You have to gain a better understanding of the profitability of each of facility. Before we actually start working with a credit union we ask for a lot of their statistical financial information, and we ask for information at the branch level. Whether it's a $200 million or $500 million credit union, I have been surprised how few have that data or the ability to retrieve it."

King noted banks have to provide this data to the FDIC, and therefore treat each location like a standalone financial. He urged CUs to adopt the same approach, developing a branch accounting system that not only looks at the big numbers, like loans and deposits, but also evaluates workflows, operations, and employee efficiency.

The absence of solid numbers leads to bad assumptions, King said. "Credit unions will place a branch in a good zip code and then pay little attention to other aspects of the site. Maybe ingress and egress are poor, signage is bad, or the building is simply positioned on a piece of property that is not conducive to business."

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