Turning Branch ‘Idle Time’ into Productive Hours of the Work Day



Is staff deployment a struggle for your credit union? Daily lulls can be either wasted time or time put to good use. Here are some tips on how to transform “idle time” at your CU into a productive part of your employees’ workday.

The recently released FMSI Branch Workforce Utilization Study offers a contrasting view between those financial institutions that effectively manage how their branches are staffed and those that struggle with when and how to deploy tellers and branch supervisors. Here’s one of the most fascinating takeaways from the report: the periodic lull in the workday, a.k.a. idle time, that virtually any teller experiences is actually a realistic opportunity to provide employee training. More on that later.

The Branch Workforce Utilization Study, a free download at, generates a data point that can be used to measure the effectiveness of any retail branch staffing levels. This measurement, called workforce utilization, or WFU, provides a financial institution’s executive team with a valuable optic into improving its branch network efficiency.

Standard vs. Low Performers
Consider the example of a “Standard Performer” financial institution. (The names of the institutions and employees involved in FMSI’s study are withheld for privacy reasons.) The Standard Performer institution ranked as 78.72 percent on the WFU scale. The WFU number was generated through a painstaking tally of both transaction data derived from an institution’s core system and HR data. In the Standard Performer’s case, five tellers and two teller supervisors were measured.

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