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Architects’ drawings showing the basic street views of the new Premier Financial Credit Union branch being constructed in Chilton.

is any delay because of the highway project it will allow Premier Financial to take its time in doing the finishing work and fine tuning inside the new office.

Once members do see the new office for the first time, they will find amenities such as safe deposit boxes (not previously offered), a drive-up ATM instead of having to go into the office’s vestibule, a conference room, a coffee bar/waiting area, and an expanded and dedicated children’s play area. “The hope is that it feels like a living room more than an institution,” Nothem said.

The exterior of the new office will be distinctive with brick on the bottom, siding on top, and a coopala on top of the roof helping to bring light into the lobby.

The new office also will have a relatively new manager in Fritzy Brady, who became Premier Financial’s Chilton branch manager in January. She has been with Premier Financial for three years and had prior credit union work experience as well.

Chilton branch staff

She is joined in the Chilton office by new member relations specialist Tami Schroeder, deposit specialist Katie Schneider, and member relations representatives Kourtney Keberlein, Sue Berres, and Sydney Foote. Schroeder, Keberlein and Foote are new additions to Premier Financial in the past year.

Construction of the new office will help establish the brand for all three Premier Financial offices. Much thought, planning, and vision have gone into how to make all three offices appear similar, and that is the ultimate goal of the credit union, Nothem said.

A next step in that process will be a new marquee which has been ordered for the Kiel office. The new marquee in Kiel will match the new one to be installed in Chilton but will be slightly smaller.

Even more exciting for the future of the Kiel office is a planned building expansion, although Nothem said they will have to let the dust settle—literally— from the Chilton project before even considering that next phase. “In an effort to make the buildings as similar as possible, we have a vision for Kiel for years down the road,” Nothem said.

Although the New Holstein office has seen extensive remodeling projects over the years inside and out, additional exterior work to match the Chilton and Kiel offices may be in the long-range plan as well for Premier Financial Credit Union.

Tied into the plans for matching exterior looks for its buildings has been work over the past year on branding or rebranding Premier Financial. They worked with an outside marketing firm which identified three words which seem very important to the credit union and its members—integrity, passion, and opportunity. Staff members made it clear that their core values center around those words, so that will be a tag line seen more often in the coming months and years on PFCU advertisements, brochures, and other marketing materials.

Through discussions with staff and a survey of members, it was determined that Premier Financial’s current logo and the color scheme used with it should and will stay the same.

New additions to all three PFCU offices are self-service coin counting machines installed as a service to credit union members. The machines are easy to use. After they count the members’ coins, a ticket is printed which the member takes to a member relations representative for a payout in cash.

Technology such as that continues to be a big part of today’s world. Another example at Premier Financial Credit Union is the rolling out of chip technology on credit and debit cards. The small, square computer chips on cards make it harder for criminals to reproduce fraudulent cards. PFCU members started seeing the chips on their cards in January if their credit cards were due for renewal, and debit card upgrades should begin taking place this year as well.

As Premier Financial’s staff looks forward to future changes and growth, they also can look back at a successful past year. Nothem said the credit union continued to grow and be profitable in 2015. Loan delinquency rates are low compared to their peers. Loan volume at PFCU was up in 2015, especially in the area of vehicle loans as an improving economy helped vehicle sales.

Also helping in that area as of March 1 is the kickoff of Premier Financial’s special on all secured loans, whether they be for cars, boats, motorcycles, houses, etc. The rates are as low as 1.99 percent for three years, 2.49 percent for four years, and 2.99 percent for five years. (Please see details in PFCU’s ad elsewhere in this section.)

Deposit growth at Premier Financial in 2015 was the best it has been in six years, and its total number of members continued to grow as well. The growth seen in 2015 helps make it clear that Premier Financial is more than ready for the physical growth in buildings which will continue in 2016 and beyond.