Page 17 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
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And here, as noted, speed is an important part of the equation.
“While overall satisfaction with any local institution is high, this is a world of digital trans- formation and how quickly you can get your organization to deliver what the consumer is expecting,” he explained. “Most of our members have Amazon — with one click, you can purchase something. And that’s what they expect from us,
consumer is demanding today,” he explained, adding that this mindset will be applied to every aspect of the business, from credit cards to those loan applications.
And while improving its speed and abil-
ity to serve customers in the manner they are now demanding, UMassFive is moving forward aggressively on a number of other fronts, said Kump, including territorial expansion, new
arrival of remote work forced by the pandemic. “What we learned during COVID is that
we don’t need to have everyone on-site,” he explained. “Other than our retail staff, we proba- bly have 80% of employees on some type of tele- commuting status, either hybrid or fully remote. With that, coupled with the move of our flagship branch and opening up that space, we’ll be able to bring the employees from our operations cen- ter over here and not have to lease space. And we’ll have the staff on site all under one roof and not have to worry about building a new head- quarters building.”
Branching Out
Beyond Hadley, UMassFive is looking to add some new branches in the coming years and expand its footprint across this region, said Kump, adding that the leadership team has iden- tified several different potential target areas.
At the top of the list is Springfield. UMassFive has one location in the city, in the rehabilitation facility at Mercy Medical Center, a branch that counts both medical-center employees and area residents as members. To attract more members, additional sites are being eyed, he said, adding that the Sixteen Acres neighborhood is a pre- ferred landing spot.
Meanwhile, credit-union leaders are also tak- ing a hard look at Westfield, a large community that boasts a state university and thus resembles, to some extent, the Five College area that UMass- Five has long called home.
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“Branches are now less a transaction center and more of an advisory center. The things people want to come in for are lending — we do a ton digitally, but for loans, people still like to come in, especially on the commercial side — as well as investments and wealth management. Those are things people like to do in person.”
branches, and better, more effective use of its facilities.
Several of these goals are coming together in the planned move of the flag- ship branch inside the headquarters build- ing off Route 9 in Hadley to a new building to be constructed just down the road at the border between Hadley and Amherst on the site of an auto-parts store.
The move will give UMassFive much greater visibility, said Kump — the current headquarters building is a few hundred yards from the street and behind other buildings — and it will also enable the credit union to consolidate spaces and ulti- mately save money.
       being able to accomplish whatever their need is quickly and without friction.
“And that has been our focus on improving the member relationship,” he went on, add-
ing that UMassFive is responding with online appointments, online loan applications that are simpler and what he described as ‘frictionless,’ the ability to join the credit union digitally — “that’s our primary branch; that’s how we serve” — fraud-prevention efforts, and other measures.
“We want to make the processes as simple and easy as they can be because that’s what the
Elaborating, he noted that the credit union outgrew its headquarters building, which opened in 2001, several years ago, and has been leasing additional space in Hadley for its opera- tions center, an expensive undertaking that ulti- mately led to the development of plans to build a new and much larger headquarters.
By moving the flagship branch to another location on Route 9, the credit union can now scrap those plans in favor of a far-less-expensive option: a new branch building. He added quickly that this new plan wouldn’t be possible if not the
   Enjoy the holidays with friends, family and activities more valuable than money.
1500 Main Street Springfield, MA 01115 (413) 733-5111
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