Unusual Branch Locations, Recovering Banker Advice, Strategic Planning Insights

Five can't-miss data points this week on CreditUnions.com.

This week, CreditUnions.com finds branches in unusual places, hears expert advice from recovering bankers, and shows readers how to leverage data for better strategic planning.

Here are five can’t-miss data points:


Credit unions across the land working to stay relevant and differentiate themselves from the competition are innovating on perhaps their most venerable physical asset the branch. Member-owned cooperatives have long been a mainstay in SEG workplaces, grocery stores, and large retailers. Now, to continue meeting members where they live, some credit unions are sharing space with heavily trafficked partners like coffee shops and license bureaus. Some are popping up inside social service agencies that share their mission. And some are simply just popping up. Here, six credit unions from California to Connecticut, northwest Washington to southwest Louisiana and up to St. Louis share their strategies for branching success.

Read: Branching Out: New Placement Strategies Have Credit Unions Serving Members In Unusual Places


The credit union industry is full of leaders who have made the transition from bank to credit union and in the process have shifted their focus from profits to service. These former bankers followed their own path to credit union land but share with their peers an appreciation for and commitment to the movement’s member-first ethos and business practices. Here, seven reformed bankers agreed to go on record to share insight and advice based on their own experiences making the move to not-for-profit financial services. What do they have to say?

Read: The Great Divide: Expert Advice From Recovering Bankers


In August 2014, St. Louis Community Credit Union announced plans to open a new branch in economically hard-pressed Ferguson. In its first year, SLCCU’s Ferguson branch opened more than 1,230 accounts and conducted nearly 66,000 transactions. And through its Ferguson Strong initiative, the community development credit union has expanded beyond banking to offer financial education, internships, and funding to agencies engaged in improving housing conditions, just for starters, building on its record of similar work throughout its service area.

Read: How A Financial Cooperative Becomes A Voice For Social Justice


Strategic planning season brings with it grand expectations for credit union management teams to formulate a plan that guides their institution to success over the coming months. Every institution approaches strategic planning differently. Some go on retreats with their management teams and boards; others stay close and engage a broader group of managers. Some hire consultants to provide guidance and perspectives on a range of issues; others rely on in-house talent to assemble content and shepherd the planning experience. Regardless of the approach to or location of planning sessions, incorporating peer analysis is an ideal way to enhance the impact of strategic planning. Knowing where to start and choosing what to analyze can be daunting, but that shouldn’t stop teams from putting together a relevant financial analysis presentation. That’s why Callahan has compiled 36 benchmarks covering six high-level areas of credit union financial performance to steer strategic planning in the right direction.

Read: How To Leverage Data For Better Strategic Planning

4 Months

Grow Financial Credit Union isn’t afraid to push its talent out of their comfort zone. In the past several years, the credit union has encouraged three rounds of executive job swaps that resulted in six executives living the work life of their peers and becoming better, more well-rounded leaders in the process. The third, and most recent, swap started on July 1, 2018. That’s when Chase Clelland, vice president of operations, and Kent Paro, vice president of enterprise risk, assumed the role of the other. The swap didn’t go exactly as planned extenuating circumstances cut the experiment short after four months and made the swapped roles permanent but both Clelland and Paro say the change of scenery was valuable and the duo continues to lean on each other for advice and guidance.

Read: Swap Jobs To Become A Well-Rounded Executive

Happy Reading!

August 26, 2019

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