By Devon Maresco
Credit unions are often working with smaller facilities and less space than their larger corporate bank counterparts. As a result, it’s important to know exactly how the branch puts every square foot to work. While staying small can be a competitive advantage for credit unions, they need to equip staff with the space to handle the diverse needs of members, whether they’re stopping by to cash a check or sitting down for financial counseling. Understanding and optimizing space allocation is a function of credit union stack planning.
Stack planning allows credit unions to take a top-down view of facilities and understand space allocation in context to member services. Are there enough private offices for the mortgage officers on staff? How much square footage does the lobby occupy? Questions like these give credit union administrators foresight into their ability to serve members in the right way, in the right environment.
As credit unions seek to compete with larger banks and corporate financial institutions, their competitive edge comes with making better use of space. Here’s a look at how stack planning contributes to this mission.
What is credit union stack planning?
A stack plan is a top-down look at the allocation of space across the entire credit union. It shows a breakdown of total space through a number of lenses, such as percentage of total square footage, cost of total square footage, seats/desks per allocation, and more. The purpose? To provide credit union administrators with information about the composition of each branch and its ability to function efficiently.
Stack plans are an integral part of space optimization. In credit unions, where space is often limited and precious, the stack plan can inform opportunities to reallocate space in favor of better efficiency—whether that’s cost efficiency or a higher standard of member service. For example, if the lobby occupies 30% of total branch space, but there’s need for a financial counseling office, the stack plan can show what happens to space allocation metrics if 5% of the lobby transforms into a new office.
Looking at the stack plan and using it to inform credit union floor plan and space allocation is a simple, effective way to offer members more opportunities with less space.
Benefits of stack planning for credit unions
A stack plan isn’t just a metric for understanding space. Stack planning for credit unions is an active way to shape space allocation that’s more in alignment with the needs of the branch. Here’s a look at some of the benefits credit unions become privy to when they engage in mindful space allocation and active stack planning:
- 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
Stack planning for credit unions becomes a strategic imperative as members come to expect more. Making deposits and withdrawals is only the beginning. Do you have space allocated for personal loan consultations? Mortgage counseling? Financial planning? More importantly, does your stack plan accurately reflect the priorities of the branch in serving its members?
A clear understanding of space allocation and the ability to stack plan effectively is what helps distinguish credit unions from bigger banks. It shows in their ability to offer the same (or higher) standard of service, in facilities that are a fraction of the size.
How does credit union stack planning software help?
Active stack planning takes software. Credit unions that offer a diverse range of member services within small facilities need the capabilities of software to make informed decisions that impact financial services operations.
Without a clear stack plan and the data that contributes to it, credit unions can’t truly understand their space. First and foremost, credit union stack planning software aggregates and organizes data into the stack plan itself. This data, readily available with context, makes it easier to review and adjust the stack plan in a way that promotes informed decision-making. Admins aren’t simply taking space from X and giving it to Y; they’re reallocating with mind for total operations.
There’s also the convenience that’s inherent to software. Administrators can explore space allocation virtually before making any real adjustments, to see how changes impact cost, workflows, or other metrics. It’s also easy to link digital floor plan concepts to stack plans, for accurate representations that further inform space allocation. Software provides the means to improve credit unions, including stack planning insights that drive decision-making in alignment with broader company goals.
Stack plans enable better member services
Community members choose credit unions over big corporate banks because they expect a higher standard of personalized service. To fulfill on this expectation, credit unions need to allocate space according to member needs. From ample lobby space, to private offices to discuss loans, to customer service desks, and beyond, space allocation is an important element in member satisfaction. Stack plans are the best way to visualize and coordinate space accordingly.
With a good stack plan, credit unions don’t need mega branches or huge corporate offices. They can do more with less through smarter space allocation and emphasis on important member services. Stack plans enable a clearer understanding of space, which facilitates better member services.
Keep reading: Credit Union Space Utilization