Forward Financial Credit Union in Niagara, Wisconsin, wanted to embark on a new growth strategy to diversify its membership, as Niagara had a primary employer whose employees dominated the credit union’s membership base. Forward Financial contracted a parcel of land in Iron Mountain, Michigan, and then enlisted La Macchia Group to confirm their choice of market, help with land-related issues, negotiations, and contractors, as well as quickly develop a plan commission submittal to set the project in motion.
La Macchia Group’s findings confirmed Iron Mountain as ideal - a small, yet robust community, with opportunity for a strong financial presence. Here, the credit union could make the dynamic entrance to the market that they were hoping for. After the land was purchased, La Macchia Group was instrumental in creating a condo scenario wherein the credit union sold the land to a developer, who then sold a condo in the resulting retail center back to them. This method freed up some of the credit union’s funds, and reduced their responsibility for site/building maintenance. Forward Financial’s end-cap location in the center is located in the busiest corridor of the city, giving them high visibility between retailers Home Depot and Wal-Mart Supercenter.
The open-plan design of the space emphasizes convenience in a relaxed setting, a breath of fresh air in Iron Mountain’s financial services market. La Macchia Group created an image for the credit union that is uniquely theirs in this rural market – refreshing tones define the interiors, merchandise rests on knotty pine retail fixtures, and members are offered hot coffee, warm cookies and internet access. Two personal banking stations flank an interactive wall that uses dynamic imagery to convey the credit union’s brand and product.
Iron Mountain’s reception of Forward Financial has exceeded expectations, while the facility itself raises the bar for architecture in the small community. By combining their strategic plan and targeted results with La Macchia Group’s expertise, the credit union was able to accomplish its goals.
Our new office is the talk of the town! Our members enjoy the comfort and convenience of our Personal Banking area and love the cafe. Working together, La Macchia Group and Forward Financial combined state-of-the-art financial technology with a relaxed northwoods down home feeling.
- ROB LANGSFORD, PRESIDENT/CEO, FORWARD FINANCIAL CREDIT UNION