ST. LOUIS – Anheuser-Busch Employees' Credit Union is hoping a remodeled headquarters will help it become the financial institution destination spot for members here. "It was just time for a change, but we love our location because our sponsor Anheuser Busch is just around the corner and it is important for us to be in the area where our members work since anywhere else would be an inconvenience for them," said ABECU Marketing Vice President Pier Alsup. "But we knew we had to do something to revitalize this space. Our sponsor company is the very best at what they do so we always try from a financial institution standpoint to stay ahead of the competition to deliver the best services, branching ideas everything." According to the design/build firm that accepted the challenge, HBE Facilities, the existing facility as it stood was primarily just a transaction-oriented lobby. "Not only had they outgrown their space but it was a great time to create a more energetic retail environment," said HBE National Sales Manager Tom Lombardo. "More and more today marketing is becoming an important voice in the overall design and anticipation of how to cross-sell and service in the lobby-there is such a tremendous opportunity there to captivate members, grab their attention and really communicate with them." The project included a total renovation of the existing headquarters building combined with the construction of a two-story 32,000 square-foot addition. Some of the new lobby highlights include a new teller line with a dramatic curved design, specialty track lighting, video displays offering news programming and video marketing content, a reception greeting station, lighted signage and a curved wall with a metallic finish. In addition there are computer stations for members next to a coffee bar and display of Anheuser-Busch products and space for financial planners and personal service counselors. While everyone involved was pleased with the final result during the renovation process, it was not all fun and games for the credit union staff, members or HBE. "There are many challenges when you are doing a project like this," said Lombardo. "Not just structurally making sure the addition matches the existing facility but also security and making sure the renovation does not cause too much disruption since the branch stayed open throughout the entire process. So as we worked on different areas we'd create a temporary wall and retrofit the existing lobby." While Alsup loves the whole design, she is very excited about the new "destination" areas, which display merchandise such as automobiles, boats and home improvement products provided by the credit union's indirect lending partners. "It has been great," said Alsup. "The whole goal of having these different destination points is to develop lifelong relationships and increase awareness. For example, members see the new automobiles on display, our monitors offer a mix of product information with news and at least one screen ties into whatever is being featured and it prompts questions about auto loans." Besides opening the space with the addition of an atrium featuring multiple skylights and a connecting bridge, the revamped facility also offers a community room that doubles as a training area. "That is another really neat aspect of this branch," said Alsup. "We used to hold seminars in other locations but now we have plans to offer educational seminars and conduct focus groups right here." ABECU is now in the process of revisiting its values, mission and goals to help redefine its brand. [email protected]

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