First Student Branch in Baltimore Opens
BALTIMORE -- Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore and the National Academy Foundation High School-Baltimore have made history by opening the first student-run credit union in Baltimore.
The MECU branch is the first of its kind in a Baltimore City public school. Students will be able to deposit and withdraw funds three weekday mornings from the MECU branch in the lobby of Digital Harbor High School, in which NAF-Baltimore is located. Students from NAF-Baltimore's Academy of Finance, who will run the MECU branch, took the same two-week training course that all MECU tellers take.
"We are excited to be opening MECU's first student-run branch at the National Academy Foundation High School-Baltimore," said MECU President/CEO Bert J. Hash, Jr. "The students are so enthusiastic about this project and are committed to doing an excellent job that I see a very strong future for the credit union movement with these young people among its leaders."
NAF-Baltimore prepares students for careers in hospitality and tourism, finance and information technology through work-based learning experiences made possible by partnerships with industry leaders and local businesses like MECU. The school's curriculum emphasizes both academic excellence and career training with traditional classroom instruction, internships and job shadowing. In 2008, the school achieved a 100% graduation rate, and 100% of graduating seniors were accepted to at least one college or trade/technical school.
Attending the ribbon cutting ceremony were Hash, Baltimore City Public School System CEO Dr. Andres Alonso, Congressman John Sarbanes, NAF-Baltimore Principal Karen Ndour and about 200 students.
T&C FCU Opens Fourth In-School Branch
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -- T&C Federal Credit Union has kicked off its fourth in-school branch at the James Madison Middle School Fair.
Over 250 people, including T&C staff, members of the Oakland County chapter of The Links Inc. International Trends Group, school administration, students and their families attended the event.
The new in-school branch open on this week for students to make deposits. T&C staff from the Pontiac Branch joined two student managers in running the branch and will help teach financial literacy. The initiative is coordinated through the Oakland County chapter of The Links Inc. International Trends Group.
"This is an exciting opportunity for T&C to be able to teach middle-school students about the importance of saving and developing financial skills," said Bob Bell, Pontiac branch manager. "It's great to be able to work with James Madison Middle School and The Links program to make a difference in the lives of young people."
NewGround Names Two New Directors
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Design/build firm NewGround has named Eduardo Alvarez managing director of brand/retail strategy and Geoff Walters as managing director of national accounts.
"The future of banking lies in providing strategic retail design and communications solutions. These elements drive customer interest, purchasing behavior, loyalty and experience. Eduardo and Geoff's strong background, reputation and relationships within this market segment will be an asset to NewGround," said NewGround President/CEO Kevin Blair.
Prior to joining NewGround, Alverez was the executive vice president of strategy and design for BrandPartners. Previous to this, he led business development for WalkerGroup/CNI's Environmental Branding Group with responsibility for major projects in Asia, Europe and Latin America. During the 1980s, Alverez was a vice president with Bank of Boston's International Division, working in Africa, Europe and Latin America.
Walters joins NewGround with more than 25 years of experience in the financial services consumer product and delivery management sectors. He most recently served as executive vice president of business development for BrandPartners. Among other significant positions, he managed Fleet Financial Group's ATM program, developed and implemented branch distribution strategies, and also modeled and employed channel merger integration programs. With his positions at Fleet Financial Group, Bank Boston, and John Hancock, Walters' responsibilities included strategic management with profit and loss responsibility and the strategic development and tactical implementation of new programs.
PSCU Buys Building for Operations Center
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- PSCU Financial Services has recently purchased the two-story Acxiom Building in Phoenix, Ariz., to house its western operations center.
Plans are underway to relocate the CUSO's western regional office, contact center staff and data center to the new building in November.
The purchase includes 17.5 acres of land and the 97,000-square-foot building. This building doubles the size of the cooperative's current rented space and will support 600 employees. In addition, the property allows construction of a second building to meet the cooperative's long-term growth projections. The company currently occupies approximately 50,000 square feet in the Desert Canyon Office Park.
"This property will support the double-digit growth our contact center business has been experiencing. It is also the realization of management's goal to have a very visible presence in Phoenix, the site of our western operations center, and full redundancy for our operations," said PSCU Financial Services President David J. Serlo. "Fortunately, market conditions offered an excellent opportunity for us to purchase property instead of renting additional space."
In addition to the Phoenix operations, the cooperative also has contact centers in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Detroit, Mich.
Leominster CU Will Erect Headquarters
Building Where the Neon Signs Are Pretty
LEOMINSTER, Mass. -- Leominster Credit Union has big plans for a new downtown headquarters.
Pending approvals from local and regulatory authorities, the credit union will construct a 31,000-square-foot, three-story building next to their existing headquarters that will feature a two-story atrium and elevated walkway connecting the two buildings.
The new headquarters, which will centralize all LCU operations, is slated to be completed by late 2009 or early 2010.
"Speaking for the board of directors, we could not be more supportive of the plans for our corporate headquarters," said LCU Board Chairman Giulio G. Greco. "In downtown Leominster and surrounding neighborhoods, our competitors have many branch offices and ATMs. We're headquartered here, and have been for more than half a century. Having our headquarters on Adams Street has always had a positive impact on the many businesses in downtown Leominster, and we're pleased to commit to continuing that legacy."
According to Don Lonergan, the project architect and head of DRL Associates, the new structure has been designed with the latest energy-saving, environment-friendly concepts and materials.
"Every element of our design is what's called green sensitive. From the millwork to the carpeting to the lighting and much more," he explained. "We're also using local and regional building materials, so LCU will have an environment-friendly headquarters that's visually pleasing for its location."