What We Think About Before Branching Out

June 19, 2015 | Lisa Chappell

Last week’s blog discussed the variety of channels that Mission Fed offers so that you can do your banking whichever way is most convenient for your situation. And, you may have noticed that we’ve undergone a fair amount of branch growth over the past few years, and we continue to expand our branch network to provide more access and enhanced services to our members.

I’d like to share some of the strategic thinking behind our site selection for new credit union branches. With over 30 facilities to manage, we have a plan designed specifically to set a course for all facility-related activities. The management of our properties is an important function which carries many opportunities, as well as challenges, for Mission Fed. Taking this into account, we’ve identified seven characteristics that Mission Fed finds desirable in a branch location:

  1. Visibility
    We search for properties that are a stand-alone building or have a stand-alone presence for the best visibility. Some examples of this type of building include our Mira Mesa West, Carmel Valley and College Grove Branches.
  2. Highly Active Retail Market
    This already exists for most of our locations, but is a key consideration when branching out to new markets. We know our members’ time is valuable and we want to be positioned where our members and potential members are already doing business.
  3. Easy Access and Parking
    While every space is different, we desire to make it as easy as possible for our members to visit our branches. In addition to the amount of available parking, we also consider the ingress/egress (rights for entering and exiting—yes, this may seem obvious, but is something that needs to be specifically addressed each time)and access to major highways. Our preference for parking is to obtain dedicated branch parking whenever possible, and we have successfully secured this in one form or another at 16 of our 27 locations.
  4. Growing Region/Market Value Opportunity
    Of course, adding branches in areas where growth is occurring is a priority. We evaluate commercial market trends, demographics and other data regularly and adjust our branching strategy as necessary.
  5. Multiple Markets/High Potential Penetration
    In order to be successful, Mission Fed must be able to attract members and potential members in all stages of their financial life. To the extent possible, we strive to have an active mix—like savers and borrowers—in our branches. While the micro-region does not always lend itself to this strategy, we try to ensure that there are ample opportunities for Mission Fed to offer products and services that will appeal to a variety of people in the area.
  6. Density
    This is another strategy that is crucial to our success. The higher the population density, the higher our opportunities are for attracting and servicing new and existing members and building a successful branch.
  7. Image
    This includes our efforts to trend toward stand-alone locations rather than in-line branches, as well as our branch design.

I hope this provides you with some insight on how and why we choose our branch locations. Mission Fed’s branching interests are quite varied and span nearly every part of the county, with even further advancement projected for the future. Thank you for your continued loyalty and we look forward to growing with you!

Lisa Chappell

Lisa Chappell

Lisa Chappell is Mission Federal Credit Union’s Vice President Corporate Facilities. She has too many years of banking and facilities management experience on her resume to count! Lisa thoroughly enjoys her job and Mission Fed, and is also very active in the Facilities Management, Corporate Real Estate, Leadership and Banking communities. Together with her team of dynamic and enthusiastic employees, and the newly formed Green Team, Lisa is dedicated to guiding Mission Fed and its employees to new levels of greenness.

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