PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -Wal-Mart continues to look to credit unions to provide in-store financial services for its customers. The world’s largest retailer has reached agreements with Service Credit Union here and Saginaw-based Team One Credit Union to open branches inside Wal-Mart retail store locations. Service Credit Union signed a seven-branch agreement with the retail giant, all to be located in New Hampshire. The first branch is scheduled to open in May. All seven locations will be full-service branches, and will be open seven days a week, and during evening hours. Each branch will house a full-service ATM and a state-of-the-art Internet kiosk for self-service transactions. The deal doubles the number of branches the $1 billion institution operates in New Hampshire. Service has a branch in Massachusetts, and 13 branches overseas. The 100,000-member CU has a field of membership that includes military personnel worldwide, as well as community eligibility that includes most of New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts. “The opening of branch locations in Wal-Mart stores gives us the opportunity to expand the availability of our services to a wider group of consumers in the New Hampshire market,” said Service CU CEO Gordon Simmons. “These branches will also provide added convenience for our existing member base, giving them additional locations and extended hours to conduct their banking business.” According to Vice President of Marketing Karen Benedetti, the credit union was approached by third party negotiator Financial Supermarkets, Inc., who acted as the credit union’s only point of contact with Wal-Mart. “We are not privy to the number of other bidders or who they were, as this was all managed through the third party. However, we know that there were other bidders,” Benedetti said. FSI will also assist the credit union in coordinating construction of the branches, many of which will be under construction simultaneously. Simmons declined to provide financial specifics regarding the agreement, but said his institution is “going into seven new locations for the cost of one stand-alone branch.” He added that the credit union will operate as an independent tenant of Wal-Mart. The retailer, which has earned a reputation for strong-arming deals with suppliers, will not receive any percentage of profits from branch business, Simmons said. Saginaw, Michigan-based Team One Credit Union will open its second Wal-Mart retail branch Jan. 31. The branch will be located inside a new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Saginaw. Team One’s first Wal-Mart branch was opened in August 2005 in an existing Wal-Mart store in Bay City. Both branches are full service, will include an ATM, and will be open seven days a week. “It’s nice, because now our members have extra hours, if they need them,” said Kim Scofield, marketing specialist. The $260 million Team One initiated the deal with Wal-Mart, negotiating directly with the retailer, Scofield said. The credit union doesn’t have any current plans to open additional Wal-Mart branches, but Scofield said “if the opportunity arises, and it’s in an area that we think would be well served, it’s a definite possibility.” Team One has a community charter that includes eight counties in central Michigan. The credit union has 35,000 members. -

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