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Forest Kraft Federal Credit Union Partners with LEVEL5

Facilities development firm assists credit union with strategic growth initiatives

ATLANTA--(www.allCUnews.com)--LEVEL5, a consulting and facilities development firm specializing in financial institutions, announced today that it has partnered with West Monroe, La.-based Forest Kraft Federal Credit Union to help develop and execute a growth plan to better serve the community. The $71 million federal credit union has contracted LEVEL5 for its strategic consulting, real estate, integrated design, construction management and branding to expand its reach and provide enhanced service to its 11,000 members by remodeling its main office and opening a new facility for one of its four branches.

Established in 1937 to originally serve the community’s paper mill employees, Forest Kraft expanded to a multi-SEG credit union in 1996 when it merged with a hospital-based credit union. Forest Kraft realized that growth decisions were being made for its four branches without experts providing detailed research, demographics and vital statistics to ensure that the tactics they were deploying would dovetail with the credit union’s goals. Forest Kraft considered seven companies and selected LEVEL5 because of its overall expertise and integrated approach, the personalized service its employees offer and their experience with dialogue delivery, a layout enabling employees to better serve members and handle transactions in a more retail-oriented environment rather than traditional branches with teller lines.

“Forest Kraft is dedicated to providing our members with the same services as mega-banks in our area,” explained Chris Craighead, president and CEO of Forest Kraft Federal Credit Union. “LEVEL5 is a unique company where experience truly meets innovation to help us meet our goals. They offer much more than branch design; the company helps us to maximize the impact on our members. Thanks to their strategic guidance and the understanding of our industry, our remodeled main office will be open on Saturdays for the first time, which will greatly benefit our members.”

LEVEL5 worked with Forest Kraft on a strategic market study that resulted in a plan with the strongest opportunities to best support the credit union’s philosophy, strategy and budget. Remodeling of Forest Kraft’s main office will begin in the spring of 2008, and the office will remain completely operational throughout the entire process. Construction for the credit union’s new branch facility will begin in August 2008 to optimize convenience for its members. Forest Kraft will implement a dialogue delivery layout in the main office and new branch. The credit union’s members will experience more personal relationships with employees who will be thoroughly trained to identify various cross-selling opportunities.

“Forest Kraft Federal Credit Union’s firm commitment to its members is evident by realizing the importance of a comprehensive facility strategy,” said J.F. Kassler, CEO and president of LEVEL5. “It’s rewarding to see an institution that takes advantage of all the services we provide. Our consultants truly understand the industry and know what works for credit unions of every size. Forest Kraft’s main office remaining open during the remodeling and extending to Saturday hours demonstrates how financial institutions can focus on members while enhancing their overall service.”

About LEVEL5

Headquartered in Atlanta, with other offices located to best serve its clients, LEVEL5 is a consulting and facilities development firm that works exclusively with financial institutions across the United States. The company assists those institutions in the development and implementation of growth strategies through its unique services that include strategic consulting, real estate, integrated design, construction management and branding. For more information about LEVEL5 call 404.761.0008 or visit the Web site at www.LEVEL5.com.

Mike Colvin, 404-761-0008
Heather Cunningham, 678-264-8011
Emily McDermott, 678-781-7226