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Pioneer builds a Teays Valley branch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union is building its first branch in Putnam County, near the entrance to Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

The 2,780-square-foot branch is expected to open in mid-June, said Shannon Bradley, Pioneer's vice president of member services.

Inside, "we're going with a nontraditional banking environment," Bradley said. "Everything is going to be open." Instead of traditional teller stations, there will be "dialog pods," where customers can interact with staff.

"The goal is to allow for more conversation to take place," Bradley said. "We won't have any walls or barriers there. It will allow for more relationship building.

"We anticipate having five employees to start," she said. "They will all be cross-trained in every aspect of the credit union, to provide superior service. The branch manager can do teller functions. Anything you request, any of the employees can help.

"With the pod concept, we're not going to have the drawer where the money is usually handled. For more security, the money drawer is gone." Instead, a compact machine will disburse and take in cash.

Instead of traditional safe-deposit boxes housed in a vault, the branch will offer self-serve "convenience boxes," that customers can access with a key.

All of the offices will have glass inner walls.

The branch will have three drive-through lanes. The outer lane will be equipped with an automated teller machine. There will be 16 parking spaces.

The branch is at 3746 Teays Valley Road, between the Hurricane and Teays Valley exits of Interstate 64.

Pioneer is headquartered at 1320 Kanawha Blvd. E. The cooperative has branches at 4802 MacCorkle Ave. in South Charleston, at Riverside High School in Belle, and at 1507 Main St. E. in Oak Hill.

The Teays Valley branch is the first Pioneer has built from the ground up. The branch represents an investment of more than $1.5 million in the community.

It will be Pioneer's showcase branch and serve as the model for future branches, Bradley said.

The exterior will feature natural stone, "to fit in with the natural setting," she said. "The roof will be our brand of blue. The vestibule will be glass, lit up at night. There will be a 30-foot tower that holds a three-dimensional compass that will be lit and rotate.

"We've worked hard with the construction company to make sure we have good forms of entry and drive-through to make it easily accessible," Bradley said.

Jarrett Construction Services Inc. of Charleston is general contractor. Structure First of Van Wert, Ohio, is project manager. Design Collaborative of Fort Wayne, Ind., is the architect.

Educator Virgil Summers established Pioneer in 1940 out of the trunk of his car. Originally known as the Kanawha County Teachers Credit Union, the name was later changed to the Kanawha County School Employees Federal Credit Union. From 1998 until 2002 it was known as the West Virginia School Employees Federal Credit Union.

In December 2002 Pioneer changed from a charter that allowed it to serve mainly teachers to a charter that allows it to serve anyone who lives, works, worships or volunteers in Kanawha, Putnam, Clay, Roane, Fayette or Greenbrier counties.

Pioneer has 13,000 members and $148.5 million in assets.

Contact writer George Hohmann at or 304-348-4836.


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