Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bedford Hanscom Federal Credit Union Expansion Almost Complete

The Hanscom Federal Credit Union (HFCU) branch located at 325 Great Road in the Great Road Shopping Center is scheduled to complete it's expansion on September 10th. The main Bedford branch, which opened in 2002 is one of 14 branches at HFCU that service close to 45,000 members. The branch which was originally 2500 square feet, is expanding in to the previous location of Bedford Jewelers (which itself moved 3 doors down, taking over the space of the Bedford Laundromat whose lease was not renewed). As part of the expansion (the space will now total 3700 square feet), the entire branch was redone.

I recently spoke with Scott Post, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Delivery. Scott mentioned that as the bank had added members and extended hours, it has outgrown the space. Rather than just add a few more teller stations, they wanted to focus on maximum use of space while using technology to automate mundane tasks. In addition they wanted to simplify the experience for the customer. So the new design, gets rid of the traditional teller stations and lines. In it's place, is an open floor plan. When a member/customer walks in to the bank, a greeter welcomes them, finds out what services they are looking for and then a service representative will take them to a service pod to conduct any transactions. The service pods were designed with circular work desks so representatives can work side by side with members.

According to Scott, the advantage of this approach is the customer doesn't need to figure out where to go and they will get serviced by a single representative. While the number of employees will stay the same, the workers have been cross trained so they can take care of just about any member banking needs. Along with the updated service pods, the cash draws have been replaced with cash recycling machines that automatically count and dispense money.

This updated retail banking concept, which is according to Scott the first in Massachusetts; is commonly referred to as Dialogue Banking (as it enables the bank employees to better focus on dialogue directly with customers rather than spend time on more mundane banking tasks). The updated technology also keeps track of the number of members who enter the bank over time, enabling the branch to fine tune staffing requirements during the day.

Scott also mentioned that along with the branch changes, HCFU will also focus on tailoring services to each member. For example, all members get a free credit report. As part of this report, the representative may notice a car loan that has a relatively high rate and can calculate how much money they could save with refinancing the loan. Then if the member agrees, they can put proceed with the paperwork right at the service pod with the same representative.

 A new sign accompanies the expansion. The updates include more modern graphics and colors and is fully ADA compliant.

The "official" grand re-opening is set for September 21st and the branch is planning some special promotions for the weeks that follow.

The redesign adds 2 touch screen internet kiosks which can be used for online account access. The new Kiosks feature a motion sensor that will automatically log you off when you step away from it.

1. Several of the banks in Bedford have recently undergone lobby renovations. While they have all updated to a more modern look and design, HCFU appears to be the first to go to a Dialogue Banking concept. This concept was popularized several years ago on the West Coast by Washington Mutual (WaMu). What's interesting is that so far, it's been mainly the smaller Credit Unions that have been pushing this trend eastward. This is opposite many other retail businesses where the larger stores like Starbucks are popularizing new retailing concepts. As far as Dialogue Banking, the key to success will be reduced waiting and better service. If this can be accomplished than I think this concept will spread to many of the other branches in Bedford.

2. HCFU's approach in targeting specific services to individual customers is more efficient from a business perspective than just shotgun blasting out marketing collateral for refinancing. How many people have Comcast or FiOS and still get multiple flyers from them every week?


Richard C. Lambert said...

People with low to average credit (FICO score of 620 to 659) should see a modest increase in their credit score. Most others should see moderate to severe decreases in their credit score.

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

The main Bedford branch, which opened in 2002 is one of 14 branches at HFCU that service close to 45,000 members. CKS Financial

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Rumi said...

Let's look at the other side of the spectrum. How is this a good investment for the loan company? If we scroll back to the first few sentences in this article, we can see that the title loan company "uses the borrower's vehicle title as collateral during the loan process". What does this mean? This means that the borrower has handed over their vehicle title (document of ownership of the vehicle) to the title loan company.


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