Ent Credit Union plans to build a new service center at 30th Street and West Colorado Avenue that will bring enhanced financial services to businesses and residents on Colorado Springs’ Westside.
The new building will be what Ent calls a hub location. The 5,000-square-foot, freestanding building will be significantly larger than Ent’s current 1,700-square-foot “spoke” location at 3141 W. Colorado Ave. in the Red Rock Canyon shopping center, said Victoria Selfridge, Ent’s vice president of corporate communication.
Ent has purchased the two adjacent lots at 3005 and 3009 W. Colorado Ave. and plans to demolish the car wash and office building that currently occupy those lots, Selfridge said.
In addition to the new building, the site will have three exterior drive-up lanes and about 40 parking spaces.
The new hub location will enable Ent to expand the products and services it currently offers at its Westside location, as well as install updated technology. One such improvement will be biometric safe box access.
“In the past, you had to be escorted into the vault to access a safe box,” Selfridge said. At the new center, “a scan of your hand opens the vault; then you open the box with a key.”
The drive-up lanes will have interactive teller machines, a new technology that will function like an ATM to perform basic transactions. In addition, Selfridge said, these machines will have a touch screen that will enable drive-up customers to have a real-time, video chat with representatives during certain times when the center’s lobby is closed.
While the lobby will be open during traditional business hours, the ITMs will be operational from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturdays.
“The extended service hours at the ITMs will be more convenient for businesses,” Selfridge said.
The inside of the center will look very different from the current site.
“We’ve created a lot more space where members can have one-on-one conversations” with mortgage loan officers, investment representatives and business bankers, Selfridge said.
Instead of the traditional teller counter, “the new center will have pods, like stations, where member service representatives will assist customers,” as well as private meeting rooms, she said.
The center will offer a full suite of business banking products and services.
“We have the ability to have a business banker available at that location,” Selfridge said. “That should make it very convenient for answering requests, discussing proposals on business services and getting advice more directly as opposed to driving farther away or talking to someone on the phone.”
A tech bar will provide tablets where members can interact with the Ent website or test-drive online tools that allow people to run calculations and simulations.
Remote services such as depositing checks by scanning with a smartphone are very popular, Selfridge said.
Businesses with a high volume of checks to deposit can purchase a TWAIN-compliant Panini scanner to use with Ent’s Remote Deposit Capture service, to make depositing multiple checks faster and easier, she said. A single-feed scanner costs about $400, and a multi-feed scanner runs about $750.
There is no charge from Ent to use the Remote Deposit Capture service.
“We’re continuing to keep up with developments in the payments industry,” Selfridge said. “We want merchants to be able to accept payments by phone, mobile phone or in their car.”
Businesses can call an Ent business banking specialist to learn more about the service.
Businesses that do a lot of coin processing will no longer have to visit another Ent center.
“We will have a coin counter on-site that will be free and convenient,” Selfridge said.
The credit union must navigate the city’s planning processes before it can begin scraping the lots and building the new center. Those include obtaining formal approval for the demolitions; replatting the two lots to create a single lot; rezoning the lot to allow banking as a commercial use; and completing a detailed design plan and submitting it to the city Planning Commission for approval.
There will be opportunities for Westside neighbors and customers to weigh in during the city processes, but Selfridge said she has already reached out to some neighborhood groups about the project.
“We haven’t been made aware of any concerns,” Selfridge said. “People are interested in opportunities to revitalize the Westside, and we’re very pleased to be part of that.”
Welling Clark, immediate past president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors, said he is waiting to hear details about the new center but thinks it will be an asset.
“It’s going to bring services to the community and the neighborhood,” Clark said. “You don’t have to drive as far. To me, it’s kind of a win-win situation.”
Clark said he hopes Ent will take steps to assure the new center blends in with the historic Westside.
“We did Westside historic guidelines while I was president of OWN,” he said. “I will provide that to them and ask if they will incorporate it.”
Tim Payne, a partner in the Mason Jar restaurant just east of the Ent site, said he thinks the new service center will be a good neighbor.
“Their facilities are first rate,” Payne said. “I think it will be a very positive addition to the Westside.”
Both Clark and Payne said they also hoped Ent would improve security and assist the Westside in dealing with a persistent issue — vagrants and homeless people who camp along Fountain Creek and sometimes panhandle around Westside businesses.
“They’re going to have people on-site to see things and report them,” Clark said. “That will be a benefit of having a business like that.”
The credit union likely will have much tighter security than the car wash and office building had, Payne noted.
“I don’t think they will tolerate people loitering around the property,” Payne said. “That will have a positive impact. I think if they limit access from their property to the creek, that will help as well.”
“We are very aware of the trespassing issue on the Westside for property that is adjacent to the creek,” Selfridge said. “During our construction, we are routinely monitoring the property and involving the Colorado Springs Police Department as necessary.”
Ent will be constructing a fence before the demolition takes place and is considering longer-term measures to reduce trespassing.
“There may be additional security systems, including motion-sensitive lighting and audio, particularly on the side of the building facing the creek, to discourage trespassing,” Selfridge said. “We haven’t finalized those systems yet.”
Selfridge said she hopes demolition can begin in October.
“We anticipate starting construction early in the new year and opening in early summer of next year,” she said.