Campus ID News
Card, mobile credential, payment and security

On-campus bank branches from the bank’s perspective

Chris Corum   ||   Dec 29, 2005  ||   ,

Among of the biggest questions surrounding campus card bank partnerships is whether or not to locate a branch on the campus. Of course, a branch can certainly foster a closer relationship between the bank and the future depositors (students, faculty, and staff) but it can be a significant investment for both the bank and campus. So just how is the decision made?

Certainly the student population is a major consideration. Are there enough students to warrant the upfront and ongoing expense of operating the branch? While many in the market have quietly suggested that a 10,000-student population is a range where the branch becomes feasible, most agree there is no magic number.

“Each campus has to be looked at individually,” said Whitney Bright, vice president, Campus Banking, for U.S. Bank. While she calls 10,000 the “soft number” used for feasibility, she quickly points out that they have branches on campuses with smaller populations such as the 6,000-student Xavier University.

“It depends on what type of exclusivity you have on campus,” she adds, suggesting that the mix of ATM ownership, card program partnership, and branch location is key. “If we have all the ATMS and a branch, then we’d have a higher level of success, (when compared to a situation where) two or three banks have ATMs on campus.”

In addition to the campus population and the level of exclusivity provided to the bank, another key factor is the revenue share between the campus and the bank. Because the creation of the branch requires significant cash outlay (e.g. setup, vault installation, security) and the operation entails a continued cost (e.g. rent, utilities, staffing) the economics of the relationship must be weighed. A campus that desires a branch may need to forgo some of its revenue share to get the bank partner to agree.

Trends in on-campus branches

Many campus administrators dismiss the idea of branch because of the common problem of space constraints. But, on-campus branches need not look like the traditional bank branch found in the community. Full-service branches can fit in very tight spaces. The most important thing is the quality of the location for student access … the size is secondary.

Though she stresses that 500 square feet is ideal, Ms. Bright says that U.S. Bank operates branches in as little as 125 square feet. “Our Northwestern branch is only 157 square feet (and it is) the most heavily-trafficked branch in the Chicago area.”

Another alternative to a full-service branch is the bank service center. These locations do not offer all of the functions of the branch but they can be a cost effective option when a branch is not feasible. Typically, service centers do not contain a vault and cannot accept deposits but they are staffed and enable face-to-face account establishment, assistance, education, and marketing. And by locating a full service ATM in the service center, bank staff can help students to make deposits at the ATM, in essence, circumventing the “no deposits” situation. According to Ms. Bright, a service center can be operated by one person rather than the five to six employees at a traditional branch and can cost as much as 70% less to operate.

Another trend is to encourage use of the campus branch for members of the community. This can help cost justify the expense for the bank and bring peripheral benefits to the campus such as strengthening town-gown ties and exposing the community to other services offered by the institution.

A myriad of factors influence the decision

As you can see there is no single factor that answers the ‘branch or no branch’ question. There is a matrix of contributors that must be weighed in tandem. But when student population, service exclusivity, revenue shares, space availability, service needs, and the host of other items are evaluated in a realistic manner, the right decision is likely to emerge. If that is a on-campus branch your program and your students are sure to benefit. If it does not end with a branch, however, an extremely effective and beneficial bank partnership can still be developed … it just requires a different approach.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter


May 26, 23 / ,

Penn State adds mobile ordering to campus app

Penn State has added a mobile ordering feature to its comprehensive campus mobile app, Penn State Go. The Penn State Eats Mobile function is available for use by students on the flagship University Park campus, as well as across the university's Commonwealth Campuses.
May 26, 23 / ,

NAU leverages delivery robots to support late-night dining

Northern Arizona is leveraging Starship delivery robots and the mobile ordering app in a clever way to prop up late night dining, and putting a twist on the ghost kitchen concept. The university has launched its Hole in the Wall dining window that now serves either pickup or robot delivery for students by offering a number of dining concepts all from a single, concession-style window.
May 25, 23 / ,

HID's Technology Partner Program helps companies develop mobile solutions

Trusted identity solutions provider, HID Global, has announced its HID Origo Technology Partner Program, the company’s first program dedicated to partners with a focus on mobile technologies. The Origo Technology Partner Program is designed to help technology partners by providing the ideal platform for organizations to design, test, and market products that integrate with HID Origo via APIs and SDKs.
CIDN logo reversed
The only publication dedicated to the use of campus cards, mobile credentials, identity and security technology in the education market. CampusIDNews – formerly CR80News – has served more than 6,500 subscribers for more than two decades.

Join us, @NACCUorg, and @TouchNet to explore how campus card programs can successfully navigate the sales and procurement process. Join the webinar on June 6, 2 pm EDT.

Webinar: Learn how the University of Arizona uses campus cards, mobile ordering, kiosks, lockers, and robots to revolutionize campus dining. April 7, 2-2:30 EDT. Register Now at

Load More...
CampusIDNews is published by AVISIAN Publishing
315 E. Georgia St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301[email protected]
Use our contact form to submit tips, corrections, or questions to our team.
©2023 CampusIDNews. All rights reserved.