By Devon Maresco
Credit unions, like any financial institution, offer multifaceted products and services. Some members drop by regularly to cash a check or withdraw from their account. Others only visit a branch for big events, such as signing mortgage paperwork. Still more people look to their local credit union as a place for financial advice: investments, estate planning, or refinancing. No matter why they visit, members expect a warm welcome and the proper space to conduct their business. Credit union space planning is paramount in meeting this expectation.
Space planning is particularly important for credit unions because of their traditionally small footprint. Unlike mega banks that sprawl across multiple floors and large corporate branch locations, credit unions are more personable institutions. It’s important for them to have space available to serve members for the many reasons they visit the branch—from simple deposits and withdrawals, to financial meetings and mortgage paperwork.
As credit unions seek to distinguish themselves from bigger banks, they need space to do right by their members. Here’s a look at the opportunities space planning affords credit unions and why it’s so important.
What is credit union space planning?
The concept of space planning is simple: ensure there’s adequate space allocated within the credit union for the many member services offered. You can’t have a mortgage loan meeting in the middle of the lobby, just like you can’t let members walk through the teller area to get to their safety deposit box. Space planning involves taking a look at facilities to create a floor plan that meets everyone’s need and expectations in a cohesive way.
While there are many ways to approach space planning, it comes down to allocating and organizing in a way best-suited to the operations of the credit union. Administrators need to consider how much space they have, what services members need most, and how to arrange them all within a floor plan that promotes security, privacy, and accessibility.
Benefits of space planning for credit unions
Space planning is beneficial to both credit unions and the members they serve. Purposeful organization of facilities equates to a better standard of service—a reason for members to keep coming back. Some of the other substantial benefits of effective space planning for credit unions include:
- Small business facilities become more accessible
- Employees have the space they need to execute mission-critical tasks
- Reduction in the amount of space needed to conduct operations
- The cost to the company drops as facility efficiency lowers overhead expense
- Fewer overlaps and interruptions ensure smoother operations
- Enhanced safety, security, and privacy in well-orchestrated spaces
Above all else, credit unions need to continually establish themselves as friendlier and more welcoming than larger banks. Space planning helps them do this by ensuring operational capabilities meet member expectations. Whether they’re cashing a check, talking with an advisor, or applying for a loan, members need to feel like the credit union support them. The key is having the space to support all these operations, on-demand.
How does credit union space planning software help?
Space planning for a financial institution is highly complex—even in smaller credit union facilities. There are considerations for accessibility, convenience, security, and privacy to consider—as well as the many member services offered. Coordinating them all takes robust floor planning and space allocation software. Credit unions need to rely on space planning software to account for the many variables that dictate a floor plan.
Credit union space planning software offers intuitive tools that help administrators realize demand for space and build it into floor plans that facilitate credit union operations. This includes sandboxing features and drag-and-drop capabilities to orchestrate and iterate floor plans in real-time. Administrators have the ability to see where floor plans meet space demands, and where opportunities for more efficient allocation exist.
Data is also invaluable when planning and allocating space. Space planning software offers it in abundance, which allows credit union admins to contextualize space. It’s vital to know how much space X, Y, and Z occupy, and how that affects member experience and the level of services the credit union is able to offer. In a nutshell, credit union space planning software offers both insight and actionability.
The space to serve members, on their terms
Credit unions distinguish themselves through a superior standard of individualized service. To offer this level of convenience to members, they need space to fulfill on the many products and services offered. That means space for tellers, meeting rooms for financial advisors, and private offices to sign loan paperwork, among others. Credit union space planning revolves around creating these spaces within the confines of facilities that are inherently smaller and more welcoming.
Credit unions that engage in effective space planning put themselves in a position to meet member expectations for convenience, privacy, and comfort. If facilities feel well-designed and support member services, people have even more of a reason to choose their local credit union over a large corporate bank that lacks the same helpful, personable facilities.