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 October 8, 1999

IBM credit union expanding

LONGMONT — IBM Rocky Mountain Employees Federal Credit Union, following a national trend, is opening a new branch in Longmont and plans to apply for regulatory approval to serve a wider audience.

The credit union now is awaiting regulatory approval to change its name. Its next step will be to apply for a community charter to keep its expansion options open, according to Kerry Parry, marketing director for the credit union. Although the process can be lengthy, such a charter could expand the credit union’s services to a geographic area vs. a charter that limits who it can serve by occupation.

A formal application for a community charter has not yet been received, said Lesia Bullock, a spokesperson for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a federal agency that regulates and insures credit unions. AThe only thing that we have received from the credit union is a request to change their name.@

Parry said the name and logo change hopefully will coincide with the opening of the new branch at 600 S. Airport Road. Construction began in June; the finish date is expected to be in late December or early January.

The credit union will take about 1,600 square feet of a $1 million 6,700-square-foot building; officials plan to lease the balance. The credit union already has a location at 2142 N. Main St.

AThey=re swamped,@ Parry said. AIt=s more difficult for us to serve everybody we need to serve in Longmont just from that one location.@

The trend toward community charters vs. charters based on an employer or an association started a wave of litigation that led to a Supreme Court ruling against such credit union expansion The Supreme Court decision in February 1998 halted expansion of credit unions= memberships across multi-occupational lines. That ruling was reversed, however, last July with the Senate passage H.R. 1151.

The law prompted the NCUA to adopt a new policy that made the community charter a more attractive option; a community charter allows a credit union to serve anyone within a specific geographic area. NCUA has approved entire counties.

AThose (applications that are) approved have to meet a specific requirement that the geographic area that they=re requesting is a well-defined local community where the residents interact,@ Bullock said.

The process can take from three to nine months, depending on how complete an application is or the size of the geographic area. Those with a proposed population of more than 400,000 must be considered by a board of directors that only meets once a month.

AThose sometimes can be in the pipeline longer,@ Bullock said.

Parry said the new branch would not have a traditional teller line but instead would employ a system called point-to-point tellers, which is similar to going through a drive-through teller, but without a automobile.

The customer sees the teller on a TV screen and may pick up the phone and talk privately. The teller, in turn, is able to handle twice as many transactions, and security is addressed.

Credit union officials say a high percent of customers already use the Internet to do transactions.

AIt has more of a retail feel when you walk into the building,@ Parry said. ABut people who are uncomfortable with that environment will still have the traditional lobby on the other end of Longmont.@

LONGMONT — IBM Rocky Mountain Employees Federal Credit Union, following a national trend, is opening a new branch in Longmont and plans to apply for regulatory approval to serve a wider audience.

The credit union now is awaiting regulatory approval to change its name. Its next step will be to apply for a community charter to keep its expansion options open, according to Kerry Parry, marketing director for the credit union. Although the process can be lengthy, such a charter could expand the credit union’s services to a geographic area vs. a charter that limits who it can serve by…

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