Build More Meaningful Brick-And-Mortar

This week, profiles institutions building and designing meaningful branch locations. Plus, we kickoff a special series detailing the search for Jim Blaine's successor.

Despite continued sentiment to the contrary, the credit union branch has yet to die. Rather, credit union’s continue to look for ways to drive in-branch foot traffic and create centers of community.

This week, profiles institutions building and designing meaningful branch locations. Plus, we kickoff a special series detailing the search for Jim Blaine’s successor.

The re-design of the headquarters of 3Rivers Federal Credit Union was already a concept in action when Don Cates arrived in October 2011 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. But as president and CEO one year later, he brought to fruition the idea to create a campus that conveys to employees the freedom to think and act differently.

The credit union’s new LEED Certified Silver facility combines state-of-the-art mechanical systems and glazing and shading systems to decrease heating and cooling needs while improving the comfort of building occupants.

But more important is the resulting cultural transformation that took place inside 3Rivers. In How A Floor Plan Can Create Efficiency And Collaboration, Cates talks to Callahan senior write Marc Rapport about renovation, open-office concepts, and more.

Total income increased 8.2% year-over-year to top $14 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Total interest income increased 9.0% annually, driven by strong loan growth within the portfolio.

See more income highlights in Earnings By The Numbers.

Rock Hill is the fifth-largest city in the state of South Carolina, but also the fourth-largest city of the Charlotte, NC metropolitan area. To some extent, says Lee Gardner, CEO of locally based Family Trust Federal Credit Union, this city of 69,000 residents is a bedroom community.

We don’t like that, he says.

So what did the credit union do? It’s helping to change things by joining the effort to turn Rock Hill into a vibrant economic and cultural center. Learn more about this transformation in How A New HQ Tells This Credit Union’s Story A Different Way by Callahan associate editor Erik Payne.

For its Anatomy series, Callahan Associates spent three days with Security Service Federal Credit Union. The old adage, You can’t be in two places at once, doesn’t ring true for credit unions, but serving more than one market means different things to different institutions. Whether you define your market on geographic proximity or demographic make-up, SSFCU has a best practice to share.

Learn more about the credit union’s multi-state branch presence in Anatomy Of A Dual Market: Cash Management by Callahan’s associate vice president and’s editor-in-chief: me!

Retailers use sight, sound, small, taste, and touch to their advantage every day. In 5 Ways To Supercharge The Branch Experience Callahan industry analyst Stephanie Clark shows how credit unions can do the same.

Lastly, after more than 35 years leading State Employees’ Credit Union, industry heavyweight Jim Blaine announced his retirement in May 2016. Blaine has served as the CEO of SECU since 1979 and has worked for the North Carolina cooperative for 45 years.

SECU defies conventional wisdom in its approach to member and community service, and powers its bottom line with a heady dose of hard-eyed pragmatism and what its longtime leader calls some eccentricities.

Under Blaine’s leadership, SECU became a $33 billion institution that serves more than 2 million members through a network that includes a brick-and-mortar presence in each of the 100 counties in North Carolina.

How’d he do it? How’d SECU do it? And how does the nation’s second-largest credit union move on without its vocal front man? Through a series of interviews with, Blaine and his colleagues will explore the process of tapping the next in line, looking back to the succession planning that preceded Blaine’s departure and forward through the strategic planning that informs the road ahead. Read more in Callahan’s series Beyond Blaine.

Happy Reading!

July 25, 2016

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