People don’t visit banks as often as they used to.
Kelly Montefiore, COO of Erie-based Marquette savings bank, jokes that due to all the mobile and online banking options, some customers open accounts and are never seen again.
But not everyone understands how to use these tools, and they don’t always have someone to ask.
Marquette, who was scheduled to host a ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon at his new $ 8.25 million operations center in downtown Erie, was determined to bridge that education gap – and find new ways to connect with the community – when he started planning building at 930 Peach Street.
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The new operations center, designed by architectural firm Erie of Weber Murphy Fox, addresses the need for additional office space with a sleek new three-story building a few doors down from the current Erie-based bank headquarters.
The sound-absorbing design creates a quiet atmosphere in a series of glass-enclosed offices and comfortable collaboration spaces used by depository operations and IT workers.
The operations center also includes a training center on the second floor, equipped with Zoom compatible television screens, which can accommodate up to 110 people. The training center, combined with a small catering kitchen, will provide training space for 150 Marquette employees and is available for hire by outside groups.
Bring the community to the bank
The discussion, however, is likely to focus on the building’s 2,000-square-foot Innovation Learning Center, which opens onto West 10th Street and in a neighborhood that is emerging as the innovation district of Erie.
This is thanks to the $ 8.5 million reconstruction of the old Rothrock building as the headquarters of Velocity Network and the continued efforts of Gannon University to reinvent the former Verizon call center into the 28 million headquarters. dollars from the Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge.
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With large windows and a massive 54-square-foot video bulletin board that faces 10th Street, the new Marquette building blends in perfectly with the neighborhood’s high-tech aesthetic.
At first glance, the Innovation Learning Center looks like an internet cafe.
He fulfills this role. The cafe there, operated by the owners of Main Street Cakery Café Restaurant and Bakery in Fairview, will offer drinks, pastries, sandwiches and salads.
Mike Edwards, CEO of Marquette Savings Bank, acknowledges that Cakery could be what drives people through the door.
“They are the draw, at least at the start,” he said.
Montefiore, to whom Edwards credits the concept for the Innovation Learning Center, hopes customers will find other valid reasons to spend time there.
One of the main attractions is likely to be a manned help desk, where a rotating group of banking experts will offer free advice and guidance in areas such as information technology, bank fraud, shopping for money. ‘a home and information on mobile banking.
These services will be provided free of charge to everyone, not just customers of the bank, which operates in Erie and Crawford counties, Montefiore said.
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Blaine Fellows, chief information officer for Marquette, said his staff would not open cases of broken laptops, but expect to help customers with email and other issues. .
“Let’s say someone walks in and they have issues with their phone dying all the time. They just can’t hold a charge and they want to know how to fix it,” he said.
Fellows hope his staff can help him.
Getting help or learning something new doesn’t always mean waiting to chat with the help desk person.
The new space features two digital kiosks – they look a bit like automated menu boards – where customers and other customers can learn about a range of Marquette’s digital anti-fraud and banking products.
“We want to increase the penetration of these digital products,” Montefiore said. “We are spending a fortune on them. We want people to know how to use them safely.”
The kiosks also provide entertainment and education for children.
A decade in the making
The plans for the Innovation Learning Center were born out of 10 years of discussions, Montefiore said. It was also born out of the realization that many people do not know how to use products designed to protect them from fraud and designed to make banking easier.
“I think we’ve had a ton of those conversations where we were like, ‘I wish I could do that. “But there wasn’t enough time in the day and there was no hook to get customers to come see us,” she said.
Marquette executives aren’t the only ones who think it’s important for consumers to know how to make a mobile deposit or protect themselves against fraud.
“There’s a lot of pressure from regulators on us to make sure our customers understand our products, understand what we’re doing and what the risks are,” Montefiore said.
Edwards said there is no certainty the public will connect with what Marquette is offering.
“It’s an experience. It’s a leap of faith,” he said, adding that the learning center could be converted into office space if needed.
Edwards, whose bank is an investor in the Erie Downtown Development Corp., said he was proud of Marquette’s contribution to the construction boom taking place in downtown Erie.
“I think it exceeded expectations. I am certainly delighted that we have come to this,” said Edwards. “This is the Peach Street corridor. It is one of the main corridors in the city center and I think this building adds a lot. “
Marquette President Stephen M. Danch said in a statement that recent construction in Erie, including the new Marquette building, EDDC projects, Erie Insurance and UPMC Hamot, represent a welcome start for the community.
“It wasn’t that long ago that construction in downtown Erie was very rare or nonexistent,” he said. “Today you can see and feel the change happening.”
Montefiore said she feels good about adding Marquette to downtown and the message he’s sending to the community.
“It’s important to say that our arms are out,” she said. “We welcome people in any way we can.”