A new retail bank is entering the Whatcom County market with some new technology for customers.
First Federal plans to open its Bellingham branch on Monday, Nov. 9, at 1270 Barkley Blvd., near the Lowe’s home improvement store. The bank, based in Port Angeles, had a small lending office at 1313 E. Maple St. before the decision was made to build a full-service branch, said Jeanine Lee, marketing manager for First Federal.
Along with the typical services found at most banks, the new Bellingham branch will have Interactive Teller Machines, known as ITMs. They operate just like an ATM, but a customer with a question can tap the interactive tab, which brings up a First Federal customer service representative.
Lee said the representative can answer nearly every question that’s typically asked inside the branch to a bank teller, such as balance inquiries and check cashing. One service the interactive feature can’t do is open a new account for someone.
“It’s pretty new technology and it is going very well,” Lee said.
The ITMs provide extended hours for customers to talk to someone — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Outside those hours, the ITM functions as a standard ATM. The branch will have an ITM in the drive-through lane as well as the branch’s vestibule.
Along with the new technology, First Federal will have the traditional banking services for consumers and businesses, including commercial, consumer and mortgage loans. The branch also will have bankers with strong ties to the Whatcom County community, including Troy Wills, who will manage the branch.
First Federal currently has nine full-service branches in Western Washington. Details can be found at ourfirstfed.com.