UW Credit Union has had a presence in Verona for a long time – there’s 5,000 members who live within a few miles.

Now they have a physical location to match.

UW Credit Union opened its Verona office on July 15, making the branch at 651 Hometown Circle its 27th location.

Manager Brandon Day, who transitioned into the financial sector because of how UW Credit Union helped his family while applying for a mortgage years ago, said the reception into the Verona community has been “extremely positive.”

Previously, many of those 5,000 members who live within a couple of miles of the new Verona branch have been going to the Fitchburg branch on McKee Road, he said.

“Members have been kind of asking us to branch out, and it was a matter of finding the right spot,” he said. “It’s been great to be here and support the community. It’s like we’ve already been here with our membership, but we can finally be here doing stuff.”

With Verona being a growing community, Day said, the nonprofit felt placing a branch within the city would be a good opportunity to attract new members, in addition to serving the current ones.

The credit union employs 11 people, including two teller interns from Verona Area High School who are working through the Young Apprenticeship Program. The program allows students to earn high school credits for their work, in addition to wages.

The branch was designed around the member experience, Day said, and is the first branch that fully reflects the rebranding the company underwent earlier this year.

“This is the first time we engaged with an external firm to look at our core values and our service philosophy, and design a space around those and how we want to interact with members,” he said. “Instead of saying, ‘hey architect, give us a branch and we’ll work within that.”

The branch’s lobby features an open concept design, with teller pods on the northern end that allow employees to work more personally with members, rather than put them behind a desk that creates a divide.

Eliminating the standard teller line also encourages those simple instances of customer service, such as greeting people at the door, or walking members around the branch to what they need, Day added.

“The space just sort of helps make that easy,” he said. “Instead of having to run around and go through a door to say hi to somebody, you just walk out and greet them like they’re walking into your home.”

The building also features exterior window walls and interior doors made of glass to allow natural light in as much as possible, a coffee bar, couches and high-top tables with tablets on them to access to the credit union’s web branch service.

Day said the branch, and the company as a whole, prides themselves on fostering financial education, starting on campuses with the University of Wisconsin System. He said he hopes the credit union can provide that to the Verona area with the opening of the branch.

“That’s in the core of our being,” he said.

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at kimberly.wethal@wcinet.com and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.