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This article was published 7/2/2010 (4191 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The credit union with a lovable St. Bernard as its official greeter is coming to Winnipeg, promising animal lovers that they'll be right at home.
Selkirk-based Sunova Credit Union plans to open its first Winnipeg branch this year.
Sunova CEO Edward Bergen said the Riverbend branch will be the first of many in Winnipeg.
"We plan to build one branch every year (in Winnipeg) for the next 10 years," Bergen said. "Ninety per cent of the province's population is in Winnipeg. For your long-term future, you have to be where the people are."
Sunova raised eyebrows in the financial community when staff at its Selkirk branch adopted a St. Bernard pup, Takoda, in 2006 and made her the branch's official greeter.
Bergen said having a friendly dog as an official greeter is part of the welcoming environment Sunova cultivates.
"When people walk into a bank they usually see busy people who don't want to talk to customers," Bergen said. "Customers are really taken aback when they see a relaxed atmosphere in a branch.
"We have many people who come in regularly (to the Selkirk branch) just to see the dog."
Bergen said the credit union is considering placing dogs as greeters at some of the new branches it opens in Winnipeg.
Sunova is furthering its the customer-friendly environment by implenenting pod-style banking: Customers will no longer line up in front of a counter and wait for service.
"When customers walk through the door, they'll be greeted by an associate who will take them to their pod and help them with their banking," Bergen said.
Sunova's temporary branch in Oakbank is its first with the pods, and Bergen said they've been well-received there.
The Winnipeg branch will be built with the pods, Bergen said, adding that the other branches will be renovated to accommodate them.
The Riverbend branch will be built on a four-acre site on the west side of Main Street, just south of Red River Boulevard.
Coming to town
Sunova Credit Union, formerly known as South Interlake Credit Union.
What's new: Building its first branch in Winnipeg, on Main Street in Riverbend.
Sunova is known for: Takoda, a four-year-old St. Bernard that has been the official greeter at its Selkirk branch since 2006.
By the numbers:
10: branches, in Selkirk, Oakbank, Stonewall, Teulon, Beausejour, Inwood, Pine Falls, Lac du Bonnet, Whitemouth and Pinawa.
$600 million: assets.