From Curb to Counter: How to Attract Members to Your Credit Union

physical branch has curb appeal for potential credit union members

Branch design strategy can make or break banking confidence and sense of financial well-being.

In an ever-changing digital age, figuring out how to seamlessly integrate new technology demands much of financial institution executives’ time and energy. In recent years, the dominant narrative is that quick digital integration is the key component to unlock member engagement.

Research tells a different story.

A recent article by says this:

“Of course, when you go too far or too fast in those directions [digital implementation] sometimes you can alienate some of your customers by taking away services they’ve grown accustomed to. They may prefer branches, and at least the ability to go into a local branch and get their banking done. Interestingly, we’ve seen sort of a turning of the tables with some of the bigger national banks now focusing more on their brick-and-mortar banking.”

Thus, the physical branch lives on.

As a turnkey design build construction company, IBG has had 20+ years of conversations with our clients about what components are most important in attracting members to branches. The vast majority understand the importance of having a physical branch space that resonates with members, as it is essential for deepening those relationships.

Below is a list of factors FI executives consider when designing their spaces:

physical branch has curb appeal for potential credit union members

Site Selection

Meticulous site selection influences accessibility, visibility, and overall community presence. The right location can enhance brand visibility, attract foot traffic, and foster a sense of belonging within the community, thereby reinforcing the institution’s ability to serve its members’ needs effectively. Additionally, a well-chosen site ensures alignment with the institution’s growth strategy, optimizing resources and positioning the institution for long-term success in an increasingly competitive landscape.

tucoemas credit union branche attracts members with exterior design

Exterior Design

Beyond merely being aesthetically pleasing, thoughtful exterior design communicates the branch identity, values, and commitment to the community it serves. A well-designed exterior can enhance curb appeal, drawing attention and instilling a sense of trust and credibility in potential members. Moreover, strategic architectural elements can facilitate wayfinding and accessibility, ensuring that members feel welcomed and empowered from the moment they approach.

hi-land credit union has excellent interior deisgn

Interior Design

The layout and flow of a branch greatly influence visitors’ experiences. An intuitive layout with clearly defined areas for different banking activities promotes efficiency and customer satisfaction. Adequate space allows for privacy during transactions, fostering a sense of security and trust in the financial institution’s commitment to customer confidentiality. Offering a range of open, closed, and flexible meeting spaces will let visitors know they can engage in quick or private financial discussions with ease.

lbs fcu with great branded environment

Brand Identity  

Integrating culture, community, and history ensures a cohesive customer experience, particularly in smaller communities. A lasting branded environment transcends trends and seasons, fostering familiarity and trust. Thoughtful design elements like signage and decor reflecting the institution’s mission bolster confidence in its services.

Integrating Technology

Leveraging advanced tools such as ATMs, ITMs, and TCRs not only expedites transactions but also ensures security and efficiency. These technologies empower members with swift, self-service options while allowing branch staff to allocate their time towards delivering personalized, high-level services. By automating routine tasks, credit unions can streamline operations, reduce wait times, and enhance overall member satisfaction.

In today’s market, digital technology plays a pivotal role, especially in catering to Millennials and Gen Z. These demographics favor convenient online or app-based transactions for quick exchanges. Yet for more intricate transactions, they still seek the reassurance of face-to-face interactions with trusted advisors. Physical branches serve as invaluable spaces where these relationships can take root and thrive. Thoughtful consideration and successful implementation of site location, design, brand identity, and technology integration will enhance the overall experience for all who interact within these spaces.

Unlock the potential of branches to enhance member experiences – contact us to start building a foundation for lasting connections. 

We create spaces that resonate and relationships that endure.