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MARION, Ind. – The high-tech branch complete with internet caf, remote tellers and a CUSO area with a “small town” motif is proving a hit for Marion School Employees Federal Credit Union. “There is nothing like it in Marion for sure and we are seeing very good traffic,” said Kari Hullinger, marketing director of the $150 million CU, which opened its new south Marion branch and administrative center in November, replacing an existing facility. Apart from the remote tellers and touch screens kiosks, the branch is equipped with special software allowing mini-loan applications, interactive spreadsheets and member access to an array of loan comparison data from Kelly BlueBook, Carfax and other services. A distinctive element of the branch, explained Richard Kibbey, president/CEO, is the “small town-storefront” backdrop for CUSO services “since we were striving to do something a little different.” The storefront colors and signage point members to financial planning and insurance areas in the CUSO section, noted Kibbey, and there are empty spaces available for other financially related products that might be included in the future. A local law firm, he said, is expected to take up one of the six spaces in the storefront “village,” and “down the road we’re looking at first mortgages and car buying purchases.” Kibbey said the CU got the idea of consolidating CUSO services in the “village” after witnessing a combined operation run by Purdue Employees Credit Union in West Lafayette. The CUSO has painted murals showing trees, streets and a park scene and was done by a Mishawaka architectural firm, noted Hullinger, the marketing director. The “Internet caf” with a self-serve coffee area is also proving popular with college students from the nearby Indiana Wesleyan University, though “we’ve limited Web access to cut out the porn,” said Hullinger. The branch has two Diebold remote teller stations which are used to transact business via phone and TV monitor. In addition there’s a touch screen kiosk programmed with loan applications. Also in the branch is a children’s play area in the shape of tree. The tree houses a TV and DVD player which can be used to play films on financial education. There is also a staff training room which can be used for member seminars and a specially designed “quiet” private room for staff equipped with comfortable recliner furniture. . The entire branch is designed to be “pleasing to the eye,” said Kibbey and be attractive as a “retail area” in offering members financial services. The branch, one of five for the Marion CU, “is an important investment in our future,” he concluded. -

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