The operations and branch managers who keep credit unions’ branch operations in motion are typically experts in juggling priorities, according to a new CUNA Operations Sales & Service Council White Paper. Juggling Priorities in Branch Operations Management is based on information gathered from a variety of sources, including six operations and branch managers at four credit unions.
The white paper explores the tactics used by managers to balance a wide variety of demands. For example, operations and branch managers must meet member needs, nurture employees, reinvent processes, pursue strategic goals, introduce new initiatives and serve a critical role on special teams and task forces.
“You have to be a visionary person who isn’t stuck on the way we’ve always done it,” said Laura Enquist, director of Branches for $1.6 billion asset Spokane Teachers Credit Union. At the same time, managers must be willing to tweak new ideas until they work, or even abandon them if they fail to produce advances.
The responsibilities of branch operations managers and branch managers alike can vary greatly depending on the size and organization of their credit union. At smaller credit unions with one or two branches, a branch manager may even double as the branch operations manager. Small to mid-size credit unions may also combine the operation managers’ role with other responsibilities, such as collections or compliance.
Operations and branch managers believe the branch will survive the increasing emphasis on electronic interaction because members still want and need face-to-face interaction in some situations. At the same time, these managers recognize that as the number of branch transactions declines, the role of the branch will evolve to focus on relationships.
Finding the right balance will be crucial as operations and branch managers work to satisfy day-to-day demands with long-term priorities.
“You’re always going to have more than you can do on your priority list,” said Marshall Pipkin, branch manager at $749 million asset Firstmark Credit Union, San Antonio, Texas. “Be strategic in the ones you decide to attack.”
CUNA Council members are eligible to receive complimentary copies of this, and nearly 300 other white papers; non-Council members may purchase white papers for $50 per copy. The paper is available online in the white paper section of www.cunacouncils.org.
Press can contact Jenny Jackson for a copy of the whitepaper.