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Founded in 1951, LGE Community Credit Union (LGE) employs over 210 individuals and has a current asset size of approximately $742 million. LGE is an extremely well run credit union that is not only weathering the current economic downturn quite well, but is thriving as evidenced by the fact that they are looking to expand their branch network across northern Georgia from seven to nine locations. The credit union prides itself on providing exceptional service to their 94,000+ members, so it is no wonder that they chose to bring the convenience of coin counting kiosks to their branch network via a partnership with the world’s leading consumer coin counting provider: Coinstar.
Starting in 1992, Coinstar has grown to become a widely recognized and trusted brand that now processes approximately $3 billion in coins each year. Like every credit union, LGE Community Credit Union places a high value on trust and community affinity, which is one of the reasons that they were drawn to work with Coinstar. Terri Paris, LGE’s assistant vice president of Retail Sales, recalls that “we were sold on Coinstar from the very first presentation, and we ordered one of their self-service coin counting kiosks right away.” The results were just as she imagined: “the feedback that we received from everyone at the pilot branch was 100% positive.”
Before LGE installed Coinstar’s coin counting kiosks, they were using the long-established method of handling coins – paper rolls. This traditional option that virtually all financial institutions used was quite unappealing, and the credit union was determined to find a better way than providing members with paper rolls and asking them to count and sort their own change. Paris, who started as a teller at the credit union over 19 years ago, knows from real world experience that “handling rolled coins is labor intensive for both members and our staff. We wanted to put a solution in place that was easier for everyone.”
Fortunately, the credit union’s goal of finding a simpler and better way of handling loose coins from their members and the public was easily realized with the rollout of the Coinstar self-service coin counting machines. Paris comments that “it was everything that we were looking for: simple, easy to use, quiet, low maintenance and affordable. Our members and our employees just love it.” This is exactly how Coinstar designed their service from the outset – they wanted it to be completely turnkey and allow the credit union to focus on their core competencies of serving their members and efficiently running their day-to-day operations.
Additional benefits of the Coinstar partnership include organic growth through increased foot traffic, assistance in differentiating the credit union in a highly competitive market, the ability to attract new members, and financial education opportunities for parents and children. Paris observes that “in this tough economy, we are seeing more and more people bring in their loose change. This increased foot traffic gives us a chance to cross-sell our members and sign-up new members.” LGE’s excellent pricing also helps: it is free for members and only a small fee for non-members.
Paris was also pleased to find out that placing the kiosks was quite easy: “we try to locate them front and center in our lobbies which is facilitated by the fact that they only need power and a shared phone line. They come with good signage and the machines that we use are specifically designed for credit unions and feature sound deadening technology.” LGE’s IT Department also appreciates that trained Coinstar field technicians install and maintain all equipment, and the kiosks come with built-in fraud protection. Meanwhile, LGE’s CFO welcomes the financial upside of the partnership: zero capital outlay and no hidden costs. Paris notes that “the cost is so low that we can even justify putting machines in all of our locations so none of our members have to miss out on the convenience of using the machines.” She concludes that “we highly recommend working with Coinstar – everything about the relationship is great!”