By Dave Clifton
Credit unions have a reputation for being small, community-focused establishments. They cater to members with friendly service, personalized financial products, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere at each branch. In fact, it’s these small facilities that often work in favor of credit unions—they don’t project the overwhelming vibe that a large corporate bank might. To ensure facilities feel welcoming, while still enabling a high level of service takes forethought to credit union space utilization.
A focus on space utilization allows credit unions to keep facilities small, while enabling a higher standard of service. Branches don’t need countless conference rooms to process loans, meet about financing, or discuss financial products—not if they allocate and use space efficiently. Space utilization is what allows credit unions to stay small, but do more.
As credit unions seek to establish a friendly reputation among members and ensure a positive experience, success comes down to using space effectively. Here’s a look at how efficient use of space translates to a better standard of service at credit unions.
What is credit union space utilization?
Overall, space utilization is both a metric and a practice. As a metric, it’s the measure of how often employees use available space. In a credit union, for example, you might have three offices for mortgage officers. If these three offices are available 10 hours a day, five days per week, that’s 150 total hours of availability. If, collectively, they’re only in-use for 96 total hours per week, that’s a utilization rate of just 63%. It signals inefficient use of space.
This is where utilization as a practice comes in; it involves credit union administrators looking at utilization inefficiency and determining the best way to use total available space. For example, if you have two personal finance consultants on-site sharing one office that’s constantly booked, it may make sense to turn one of those mortgage offices into another space for personal finance consulting.
Good credit union space utilization creates a balance. Efficient use of space allows credit unions to serve members in the ways they need, in the spaces best-suited to a diverse array of financial activities.
The benefits of space utilization for credit unions
The smaller footprint of credit unions places a higher demand on space efficiency. Unlike big banks, there aren’t countless meeting rooms, offices, teller stations, and other miscellaneous spaces. Credit unions rely on space utilization for the benefits it creates within facilities designed to stay small and accessible. Some of the biggest benefits include:
- More efficient use of facilities, from both cost and operations standpoints
- Better understanding of space allocation and utilization
- Purposeful allocation of space to support the needs of employees
- Context for broader facilities data such as utilization and occupancy
- Insights and opportunities to repurpose or reallocate space
- Smarter spatial layout of facilities, to streamline accessibility
Maximizing the efficiency of available space puts credit unions on-course not only for better space efficiency metrics, but also for a more efficient level of member services. More effective use of spaces means financial services on-demand, delivered in the best environment, which in turn maintains a winning reputation for credit unions as personable, welcoming, and helpful.
How can credit union space utilization software help?
Credit unions offer many of the same financial services as larger banks, in facilities that are a fraction of the size. It takes a lot to keep facilities private, secure, accessible, and welcoming—all at the same time. Credit union space utilization software allows administrators to view facilities through these different lenses, to ensure cohesion across all of them.
Space utilization software also provides essential data about when, how, and why facilities see the see the use that they do. Credit unions need this data to make informed decisions about how to orchestrate or repurpose facilities with the best intention of serving members. Dashboards for space occupancy, usage, and capacity are all imperative when calculating utilization—and determining where there are opportunities for improvement.
Finally, there’s simply no substitute for convenience. The mapping, modeling, reporting, and sandboxing capabilities of space utilization software make it an important tool in keeping credit unions agile. Software helps identify and facilitate change quicker than manual modes of surveying space use and demand.
Credit unions need to stay small, but do more
When members walk into a credit union, they want the comfort and convenience that comes with a hometown, community-focused financial institution. They don’t want to feel like they’ve just walked into a corporate mega bank. Credit unions benefit from a small, homey feel—yet, at the same time, need to offer all the financial products and solutions big banks do. The answer to achieving both is an emphasis on credit union space utilization.
Utilization allows credit unions to provide a higher level of service using less space. It allows these institutions to maintain a down-to-earth atmosphere, while at the same time competing with big banks. Credit unions that toe the line stand poised to become community staples: growing while always delivering friendly neighborhood service.
Keep reading: Credit Union Space Planning