Without a doubt, mobile and online banking are affecting branch networks, but physical branches are still critically important. Research firm Novarica noted this recently and fine-tuned this observation further by noting that branches are actually important when consumers are searching online for a new financial institution.

Their research shows that more than half of consumers shopping for a new FI only want to compare institutions within five miles of home or work. Consumers in urban areas prefer closer branches, while those in rural communities are more likely to expand their search options beyond five miles.

Key Takeaway: Consumers still desire the convenience of branches and use the Internet to find those locations, so credit unions must prominently promote their branch networks and shared branching locations on their home page.