GALESBURG, Ill. — Members of IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union not only are being introduced to a new branch here but also to some new automated technology and concepts.

The credit union, headquartered in Moline, opened a second location this week in Galesburg in a new 4,900-square-foot building at 404 West Carl Sandburg Drive. The non-traditional structure – designed by St. Louis-based Clayco Inc. — features an open-floor concept that has replaced the traditional teller windows with two teller stations and two self-serve stations.

The teller stations, staffed by two tellers each, are equipped with a cash dispenser and recycling machine that performs banking functions such as counting and dispensing cash for the teller.

“This machine enables those functions to be done in an automated fashion and works like a vault,” said Laura Ernzen, IH Mississippi Valley’s marketing vice president.

The open concept teller station, sometimes referred to as a teller pod, is a new industry trend that enables the teller to have more one-on-one member transactions, she said.

“In a traditional teller environment, the teller picks up a cash drawer from the vault and all day long they are pulling funds out of that drawer,” she said. But if they need change, they must return to the vault and leave the customer waiting. In addition, customers who want other services such as opening an account or ordering checks previously would have had to go elsewhere in the credit union and wait for another staff member.

“Because of the traditional branch design, our member staff was walking away from members more than they wanted,” Ernzen said. Now with a new focus on cross-training tellers, “virtually every transaction an individual needs to do can be completely resolved by the first person they approach.”

Christine Denisar, the new branch’s manager, said the new stations “allow for greater interaction between members and staff — helping build member relations.”

In addition, the new branch offers two self-serve stations inside the credit union, which utilize the same pneumatic tubes found in the drive-up and operate much like the drive-up. “The self-serve stations are designed to serve like an express lane does at other retail facilities,” Ernzen said.

A customer using the self-serve station sends a transaction through the tubes to a teller while using a video screen and a phone receiver to talk remotely with the teller. The teller is positioned in the drive-up, handling customers who are using the drive-through lanes as well as the lobby traffic.

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“The self-serve stations reduce wait times for members and can handle basic transactions, check cashing and withdrawals, similar to express lanes at other retail facilities,” Denisar said.

According to Ernzen, some of IH Mississippi Valley’s other facilities are using parts of the new technologies found at the Galesburg branch — but not to the same degree as the new branch. “As we continue to look at remodeling our current facilities and are expanding into new markets in the area, we’ll consider using this technology at other locations.”

“The key is this is taking the basic teller transaction and making it better,” she said. “It will still be the same great people doing all the things you’re familiar with but the technology will streamline the transaction.”

The branch employs 15 and is one of two Galesburg branches. The original branch, which opened in November 2007, will continue to operate as a drive-up-only facility.

IH Mississippi Valley has 16 locations in the Quad-City region. The largest credit union in the region and the sixth largest in the state, it has more than $840 million in assets and more than 100,000 members.