True North Strong (7 photos)Tuesday, August 27, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
Northern Credit Union marked the grand reopening of its branch at 612 Second Line West early Tuesday evening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by management, customers and City of Sault Ste. Marie officials.
Pictured are Community Sales Manager Tanya Venturi Maville, distinguished Northern Credit Union member Bruce Balfour (who was present at the branch’s original ribbon-cutting in 1976), President and CEO Al Suraci and branch concierge Victoria Fremlin.
Tuesday’s ceremony was preceded by an afternoon charity barbeque, in which $1,000 was raised for the Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH).
With its new brand (True North Strong), the redesigned branch offers an open concept, in which customers are greeted by a concierge upon arrival and guided to the appropriate staff member, depending on a customer’s particular banking needs.
The branch includes two pods, each with a cash dispenser, which can be used by four staff members at once.
The branch has added a Small Business Manager to assist entrepreneurs.
Northern Credit Union, with its head office located at 280 McNabb Street, currently operates with 250 employees at 25 branches in a total of 23 communities, from Thunder Bay to Arnprior.
As a result of the Second Line West refurbishment, the branch has a complement of 10 full-time employees and one part-time employee, who have each received extra training to meet members needs.
No job losses occurred, as other employees were transferred to the McNabb Street branch.
Community Sales Manager Tanya Venturi Maville told SooToday.com: “Basically, when you come in, you don’t have to line up. You can just take a seat and be called up by name and we can proceed with your transaction at the pod.”
“There we can do a basic transaction, but we can also actually take a loan or mortgage application and close it the same day so that you don’t have to make another appointment, though a mortgage may take a little extra time.”
Suraci told us: “It’s important we take this direction because with online banking and our members coming in less often, we want to make sure there’s that intimacy and our staff come up with solutions for our members.”
“We want to roll this out in some of our other communities, and we’re looking forward to that.”
“We can do this more efficiently than the traditional customer lineup setting,” Suraci said, adding there may be some imitation of Northern’s new concept among other local financial institutions.
Northern Credit Union management officials were also clearly enthused Tuesday over City Council’s June 24 decision to award the financial institution naming rights to the West End Community Centre (WECC), soon to be known as the Northern Community Centre.
Ward Six City Councillor Joe Krmpotich and Commissioner of Community Services Nick Apostle attended Tuesday’s ceremony on behalf of the City, with congratulatory notes sent by Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes and Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti.