[Interview] Tom Newins, Alaska USA on The Elephant in the Branch


Tom Newins, is COO of Alaska USA (Alaska USA Federal Credit Union).


We had a brief chat with Tom to discuss his view on Branch Transformation and share some learnings from the great work they are doing over at Alaska USA.


The time was well invested. We got to know more about Alaska CU and get some more perspective and insights on branch transformation in the making. 


Following is some of the highlights from that conversation with Tom for your reading pleasure. 


The Elephant in the Branch for Alaska USA  


"We have developed branching strategy many years ago that has not been revised. We are now in the process of describing that elephant and determining how we should be interacting with our members face to face."



Shoulder to shoulder is really important


We are restructuring our branches to move towards shoulder to shoulder. Visiting a branch has become a chore, like the post office.


Shoulder to shoulder allows us to really connect with the members, discover more about them in order for us to serve them better. And while we are here, it's worth mentioning that I concur with Danny Tang, IBM Global Banking - when he says, "The Universal Banker is a bunch of hype."


3 biggest ahah moments for you when it comes to branches? 



  1. The moment we realized we need better skilled employees to help identify needs for the members. That's really where the software can come in to play. Fast, quick identification of members - and their situation. 

  2. Being smarter with your money, what's your motivation behind you, and managing your money is an angle that allows us to consider our members in a light that serves them better. 

  3. We're in 4 different states! We use the Alaska lens while we're here, however, the Alaska perspective does not work as well in Arizona, California and Washington as you might imagine... this means adapting to the locale in which we find ourselves; so going in we know, that one size does not fit all...  wait? Is that kind of what Danny says when he talks about the hype of the universal banker? 


2 biggest fears with Branch Transformation? 

  1. Member expectations - doing the work to ensure we're crystal clear on what they are today, and what we know they'll be 1 and 3 years from today. 

  2. Not to overreact to trends while being able to hold the tension between what is now and what's coming.


At the end of the day, we have to reduce the friction for our members, and yes, tools are important, however the people are mission critical.  Because while the universal banker is hype, those Universal pain points are ripe."



Successful Branch Transformation is a big deal. And it's important to many of us. If it's of interest to you, perhaps you would find our upcoming Special Report, The Elephant in the Branch of value. Register below for your free copy, coming soon.





Click the picture below to get your copy, coming soon. 




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