Telco Plus held a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration Friday, inviting many people and allowing members to the open house, giving them access to tour everything but the vaults, Tyler Branch Manager John Murphy said.
Murphy, 45, has worked for Telco Plus for a few months. He has worked in financial services for 22 years, spending the last 21 years with companies, such as JP Morgan Chase and Sun Trust in Orlando. He moved to Tyler about a year ago for the career of his wife, Renee Gray, who is a neonatal nurse practitioner. They have two sons who are 21 and 17.
Telco Plus started out as a telephone company credit union 60 years ago. Legislation changed in the 1990s, allowing credit unions to expand from just offering services to a specialty, such as a hospital, newspaper or phone company. It allowed Telco Plus to open its client base to become more competitive with commercial banks, Murphy said. Telco Plus, which has about 150 sponsor companies, began offering its services to anyone working and living in Gregg and Smith counties, he added.
Telco Plus started in Longview and added a Tyler location in a small facility on Front Street, before moving into the bigger building on Front Street and recently constructing an even larger facility on South Broadway Avenue. While the Longview branch has 30 employees, the Tyler branch has nine employees on staff, with two extra staff members added since the relocation.
Murphy said that because South Tyler is growing, they thought the move would provide a growth opportunity for the credit union. The new building is about 5,000 square feet, about double the size of its former building on Front Street, he said.
The new facility does not have traditional teller lines or drive-thru tellers. It uses a “teller pod system,” allowing customers to interact easier with tellers while standing beside them without a two-foot barrier, Murphy said. The drive-thru has an audio and visual system so the person pops up on a monitor for their banking instead of the traditional drive-thru teller, he said.
The Tyler facility includes a community room the company will use for things such as teaching its identity theft prevention programs and putting on their reality fairs to teach school children about budgeting money.
Nonprofit organizations can also rent out the space, which can hold 40 people, for a minimal fee for meetings or other gatherings, Murphy said. Because credit unions are nonprofits, he said it supports other nonprofit organizations.
Murphy said Telco Plus has a unique self-entry, self-service safe deposit box room where clients can use a hand scanner to enter the room and use their key to open their box. “They're good to go at their own pace,” he said.
Telco Plus' membership is 9,357 people. It has total assets of $63 million, and has an 8 percent loan growth year over year, Murphy said.