COLUMBUS, Ohio — The new hot spot on The Ohio State University Campus is the latest Credit Union of Ohio branch. Joining forces with campus favorite Brenan’s Caf?, the new branch incorporates a coffee shop and caf? so members can not only do their banking, but enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack.
“We constantly see our members rushing to do their banking on their lunch hours,” said CU of Ohio CEO Susan Birkhimer. “It can be a tiresome errand that doesn’t leave much time to grab a bite. Now, our members can do both. Or they can linger for a moment to chat with friends over coffee.” The caf? will have extended hours beyond the branch, but members will still be able to do their banking through a self-serve kiosk in the lobby and the ATM outside. The credit union is also setting up free Wi-Fi service so caf? patrons and members can browse the Internet, including doing their online banking with the credit union. The move is designed to help deepen relationships with students to help them manage their money. In addition to free services, keeping rates and charges reasonable and providing free financial education, the credit union also has a full-time consumer credit counselor available to talk to members finding themselves overwhelmed by debt or basic money management problems. “They’re students, not dollar signs. They’re still learning, and that includes learning how to become monetarily self-sufficient,” said Birkhimer. “They will make mistakes, that’s a part of their life development. It’s our responsibility to help them correct their own course. You don’t have to charge outlandish fees to do that.” For staff and faculty of the university, the new branch brings extended hours and a more centralized location. Credit Union of Ohio has operated a small, part-time branch in Means Hall since the early ’90s, which will remain open until the building undergoes demolition. Another ATM will remain in The James Cancer Hospital.