CRESCENT CITY, Calif. – Chetco Federal Credit Union has taken “home banking” to a new level with its latest branch here. As members walk into the retail branch they walk through time back into the `50s – complete with ice cream parlor inspired teller stations, a fully equipped kitchen stocked with appliances from that decade and round the clock rock-n-roll music playing. “Really the board made this possible. I had this idea in mind for over 20 years and as a true `50s rock and roll junkie was lucky the board so readily agreed to trying something new,” said President/CEO Stan Baron. “We really wanted something different because when members walk into financial institutions it is for the most part `institutional’ basically the same design with different colors. With this branch our concept was to design something that looked like a house from the `50s and it was an amazing concept as a way to bring new meaning to the term home banking.” Tapping local Architect Michael Crow from the firm Crow Clay, Baron says it took about 18 months to complete the project, and finding the authentic vintage equipment and accessories has made all the difference. With the kitchen as a main gathering place, members enjoy home-baked cookies, fresh brewed coffee and can even watch television programs from the “good `ole days” seated on authentic `50s living room furniture while warming themselves by the fireplace. There is also a children’s play area filled with nostalgic toys all to reinforce the “homey feeling” of the space. The design draws on elements of the “atomic age” and integrates modern technology with the retro look and feel including double drive-up windows, drive up ATMs, safe deposit boxes and night drop. Not only has member response been phenomenal, Baron says the branch has also piqued the interest of Architectural Digest. “This project has just been so much fun the ideas just kept pouring out of me. It truly has been a labor of love for everyone involved. On our doors we even have a welcome home sign and the environment really is just so comforting and warm. You have to see it when members first walk in, it’s like their feet are glued to the ground and the reaction is tenfold of what we anticipated. Members have really gone ballistic over the kitchen and we even had one member who was so comfortable here they ended up falling asleep on the sofa,” said Baron. “The staff that works in that branch love it as well -members go into the kitchen open the fridge for water or soda and then sit down to talk business with employees.” Baron says the credit union may continue with the idea of developing other themed branches and is toying with the idea of next creating one with a `30s skyscraper concept. “It wouldn’t be tall by New York standards but a seven to eight story building in Brookings, Oregon would be the tallest building in 200-300 miles which would provide some spectacular ocean views but for now we are all just brainstorming,” said Baron. [email protected]

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