By Tom Mooney
As credit unions mature, their presence in communities and neighborhoods becomes entrenched. Members become used to having easy access to their local financial services and resist change. But what if the physical building no longer meets the needs of the credit union?
A commonly overlooked option is site redevelopment. We have all heard of redevelopment of an urban downtown or an old neighborhood, but the process can apply to a single credit union location also. Redevelopment may allow the branch to remain in the same location, adapt to the latest technologies and maintain operations throughout the transformation process.
By looking beyond the existing facility, this approach to site design preserves familiar comforts of existing branch locations while maximizing the total available space, improving efficiency, value-added member services and the total branch experience.
A Case Study
In 2017, West Community Credit Union came to us with that very problem. Since proudly becoming the first credit union west of the Mississippi River in 1936, West Community has been an integral part of the community. While their branch facility in Brentwood, Mo. is in an iconic location, the credit union was burdened with an outdated and inefficient building. They had no intention of leaving Brentwood, but needed to redevelop the site.
The solution included the purchase and demolition of some adjacent buildings and a complete facelift to a prime intersection of town. It sounds simple, but the process would be overwhelming without expert help.
The building design called for a modern and attractive branch experience, the latest technology, a larger parking lot, easier street access on both sides of the building, and a drive-up. Construction of the new facility took place in one efficient step, and all of this was accomplished while keeping the original facility open throughout construction. Before talking to us, West Community didn’t believe that all of this was possible. Once they realized the potential of their site, the possibilities were endless.
Before deciding to abandon your beloved sites, let our L. Keeley Plan|Design|Build team conduct a site evaluation for you. We’ll look at your site in ways perhaps you’ve haven’t seen before and leave no stone unturned to find the right facility solution for you and your membership.
Tom Mooney is Business Unit Leader-Financial Facilities with L. Keeley Construction.