Should our HQ include a retail branch?

By Kim Rittmeier, Marketing Manger, DEI Incorporated

Finding land and designing and building a corporate headquarters that will attract and retain quality employees can be challenging. But should it also include a branch? It depends on your goals. Are you renovating an existing building or building new? Are you locating the HQ in a specific area to attract members? Or management/staff?

Renovating or New Building

If you’re renovating an existing building, space may be at a premium to accommodate each department and provide adequate amenities for employees. If that’s the case, including a retail branch may not be feasible. Although, incorporating a drive-thru could provide service to the immediate area while a full branch could take up valuable space.

Building a new building may provide additional space for a retail branch. However, land in a high-traffic area can be expensive. What is your main goal for your headquarters – efficient communication between departments and maintaining/attracting staff? Or attracting new members? If you are leaning towards investing in a high-traffic location for visibility, then a retail branch within the headquarters is worth the investment. Not only will your building be an investment in the community and provide service to the area, but a beautifully branded new building also attracts fresh attention for maintaining and attracting both staff and members.

HQ Location

Location. Location. Location. It’s all about location. Decisions about location can depend on cost, zoning, space needs, target demographic, etc. Prioritize your needs and use your top five to decide whether including a retail branch in your headquarters is at the top of the list.

According to Jeff Boehmer, DEI’s Director of Sales, “In the last several years, many of our clients have opted to establish a corporate headquarters displaying a long-term commitment to the communities they serve. The headquarters have included retail services for members, and culture developing amenities to assist in the recruitment and retention of top employees. The research, planning and due diligence required for these projects can last multiple years so it’s never too early to begin the process.”

If a credit union does not have that amount of time available, sometimes building a smaller facility or renovating an existing building can provide a temporary solution while developing long term plans.

Retail branches need to have a return on investment. If the goals for the corporate headquarters do not project an ROI for the branch, then allocating precious space and resources may not justify the location or square footage. Planning and developing a retail branch network requires a lot of research and in depth conversations within management to develop a direction. Sometimes an outside consultant can lead the conversations in an unbiased direction to assist in projecting goals and future plans.