For the first time since moving to its current location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI in 1988, Kent County Credit Union is undergoing a major renovation. Completely gutting their building, they have been working for almost a year to expand and renovate with the goal of being more efficient and inviting – all while remaining open and available for their members and community. While the construction is ongoing, CUSO Magazine took a look around and sat down with KCCU CEO, Barbara Page, to get details on the process of the renovation, and what she would recommend for other credit unions looking to do the same thing.
CUSO MAGAZINE: First things first, what motivated the decision to do a renovation?
BARB PAGE: There were a few reasons we were motivated to renovate. The interior of the office was outdated and arranged inefficiently. We had people scattered all over the building. The member service area was not particularly inviting, and some members of the lending team were tucked away in back corners of the building. We had team members sharing offices and one working out of a storage room! Externally, we knew we needed to make some changes because the facility was remodeled before we expanded our charter in 2002 and definitely had the look and feel of a county building. It was important for us to present a different image to our neighborhood to help potential members understand that we are here to serve the community.
CUSO MAGAZINE: The building looks great so far, it’s a completely new image! On that topic, how important would you say brand and appearance are to a smaller credit union?
BARB: It’s very important to us. Strategically, we recognize that developing our brand and image is critical to growth. Admittedly, we didn’t really have a brand before we expanded our charter because we were “The County” so we didn’t think about it too much. But as time goes on, the industry is changing; branding and imaging have to become important to you to survive in this market, because that is what everyone is doing, they’re changing by creating brands.