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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – As credit unions develop benefit programs to lure and retain the best talent, lately more have been stepping up their efforts to include their work environment. Credit union headquarters are increasingly becoming havens where employees are not only proud to say they work there but also really enjoy their time spent there. “A big trend we’re noticing is more credit union headquarters are creating more campus-like settings where it is not unusual to see running pads, workout facilities, outdoor patio areas, fully equipped cafeterias and even quiet zones,” said DEI Retail Coordination and Concept Development Creationeer Andrea Simler-DeGolier. “In addition to the university environment, investments are being made in technology and basically more amenities to keep employees happy.” DeGolier says the recent rash of new headquarters is also the result of credit union growth and a practical need for more space. That certainly was the case for Elkhart, Illinois-based Bayer Federal Credit Union. “We literally had run out of space and had converted closets and the basement into offices,” said Bayer FCU President/CEO Dallas Bergl. “We were fortunate that the city made a site available to us that is right downtown and located along a river at a waterfall that our employees can enjoy everyday. We also have room to grow.” The 40,000 square-foot facility also houses a full service branch complete with eight plasma screen televisions, remote teller stations, a kids section, a caf area and a 120 gallon aquarium (see picture below). In addition, Bergl says it was important to have plenty of parking for members and CU staffers. The energy efficient building also features walls of windows so the interiors are flooded with natural light and provides great views. The credit union also invested in its training facilities. The training rooms are equipped with the latest technology including a podium with a flat panel monitor. Bergl says anything written on the monitor is not only projected on a huge screen in the room but it can also be viewed online. The rooms, which have adjoining break rooms, can also be doubled in size and are made available for use by SEGs. “Training is a very big concern for us here. We have a very advanced training program called the Institute for Credit Union Advancement and we won a NAFCU award not too long ago for it, so the training area at the new headquarters had to be state-of-the-art,” said Bergl. “Our employees have been ecstatic about the move particularly with the now panoramic view here.” To ensure its new headquarters was exactly what its employees wanted and needed, Truliant Federal Credit Union checked with them. Over 150 different requests came in and Truliant FCU President/CEO Marc Schaefer says only two couldn’t be met. “One was for hammocks-the trees here are not big enough yet – and the other was a daycare center and at this time there aren’t enough employees to have on site, but we’re hopeful it could be a possibility in the future on an adjacent property,” said Schaefer. “We have a pretty strong internal service culture and the main objective of this move in addition to space was that we wanted to create a comfortable environment for the staff so they can in turn provide the best service to our members.” The 120,000 square-foot facility sits on 17 acres and features such amenities as a top-of-the-line fitness center, a game room complete with air hockey and pool table, a quiet room, a caf area complete with Internet access so staffers can surf (see picture on page 42, top right), an outdoor patio area, a waterfall feature and a robotic mail delivery system named George that is programmed to even take the elevator by itself. There is also a 2,000-square foot glass pavilion that sits out over the lake that is made available to not-for-profit community groups. “It is a great place to have a reception or board meeting,” said Schaeffer. “We had a big cookout just for employees and their families to tour the building, and employees were so appreciative that this was built with them in mind, a place where they have the tools they need in an environment where they are comfortable in reaching out to serve our members.” The campus also includes a state-of-the-art member Financial Center located at the corner of the newly named “Truliant Way”, which features high-tech, high-touch services including live, interactive video-conferencing, cable news feeds, a coffee bar and a kids section. Members will also find services ranging from auto buying and financial planning to mortgage lending and small business. The property also includes a unique 60-foot obelisk that represents one of Truliant’s logo sunrays that is capped with an ambient orb of glowing light reflecting the level of service that members are receiving. “The architect thought it was a good idea to have a monument and I thought topping it with an orb that can display exactly how we serve our members is another way for us to be upfront and accountable,” said Schaeffer. “It can be a little daunting, but it further demonstrates the credit union difference.” Another feature is a bronze sculpture of a woman reading to children entitled “The Storyteller”. Schaeffer says it is designed to illustrate the credit union’s commitment to passing on information and financial literacy from generation to generation. Two community groups – Stop Child Abuse Now and Senior Services – were on hand for the July 2 dedication of the statue. [email protected]

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