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4 Ways Branch Managers' Jobs Will Change.

Byline: Tina Orem

Tellers aren't the only people unsettled by the changing face of credit union branches -- an upheaval is coming soon for branch managers too, according to a new white paper published by the CUNA Operations Sales & Service Council.

Just as significant design changes are rapidly making credit union branches less about transactions and more about sales, so too will the branch manager's job become less about cash management and more about interacting with people, the study reported. And that shift means a whole new set of expectations.

"For branch managers who have been successful in a traditional branch, they will need to learn and deploy new technological, sales and service skill sets to make the branch of the future successful," wrote Laurie Tyler, vice president of sales and member service at Financial Partners Credit Union, who authored the white paper. Financial Partners CU, based in Downey, Calif., has $1 billion in assets and about 74,000 members.

Tyler pointed out four ways branch managers' jobs are about to change:

1. Less managing, more leading.

Managers focus on systems and structure; leaders focus on people. This is an important distinction, because as human tellers fade away, with them go the burden of cash operations and transactions, the study said.

"No longer is the branch manager spending his or her time ordering cash, conducting surprise cash counts, assisting tellers with cash verifications, being a vault teller and assisting tellers with Cyout of balance' situations," it said. "By freeing up their time, branch managers are able to concentrate on observing and coaching their teams, conducting outside business development, and building relationships with members, businesses and select employer groups.

2. More time as tech tutors.

Replacing tellers with ATM pods or kiosks frees up branch employees to spend time building relationships rather than processing transactions, but somebody has to ensure members understand how to use the technology in the branch. That will likely fall to the branch manager, the study said.

"Managers must ensure the team is greeting members, engaging them in conversations that can build relationships and uncover member needs while assisting them in using the ATM machines or kiosks in their lobbies," Tyler said. "They must ensure that the personal touch to the member exists when the member is using a self-service machine."

3. More cooperation with off-site teams.

Interactive teller machines, which allow members to interact in the branch with remote human tellers, let credit unions provide personalized service with or without a traditional teller line. This tactic also frees branch managers from many of their cash operations duties, but it comes with the responsibility for managing the machines, as well as an extended ITM team that's typically far away geographically.

"The branch manager must have excellent communication lines set up with the ITM center leadership," the white paper said. "Tellers should have a dotted line reporting to the branch manager, who should have the ability to view teller sessions, provide feedback, recognition and review referral production. Branch managers must ensure the members are introduced to the ITM in a positive, enthusiastic manner via a concierge who greets members as they enter the office, educates the members on the privacy features and functions of the machine and ensures transactions are completed as requested."

4. Better juggling.

Hybrid branches, often meant for grocery stores and other retail outlets, combine traditional teller lines with ATM pods or ITMs. This typically makes them more expensive because they're less efficient, according to the white paper, and their relative complexity brings additional skill requirements to the branch manager's job as well.

"Branch managers continue to have the operational burdens of managing cash in the branch, setting teller schedules to provide coverage, and dotted-line management of the technology and equipment," it said. "The hybrid branch model requires strict time management on behalf of the branch manager to coach their teams to exceed members' needs and assist members in achieving their financial goals."
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Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:Nov 3, 2015
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