EducationFirst will be joining forces with supermarket retailers Kroger Food Stores and Texas-based Brookshire Brothers Food and Pharmacy in the Southeast Texas markets.
Jimmy Lackey, president of EducationFirst Federal Credit Union, and executives from Kroger Food Stores and Texas-based Brookshire Brothers Food and Pharmacy today announced the formation of a joint venture that will bring in-store banking to Southeast Texans.
The $219 million credit union with two offices in Beaumont has signed contracts to open and operate nine additional in-store branches later this year and in 2009. Two will be within Kroger grocery stores in Orange and Beaumont; another seven will be housed within the Brookshire Brothers locations in Vidor, Silsbee, Kountze, Woodville, Jasper, Sour Lake and Newton. 
 “Response to the retail store banking concept has been exceptional nationwide,” Mr. Lackey said. “Our credit union wants to maintain its reputation as an innovator in providing state of the art banking convenience for our members – both existing and prospective. Our move into Kroger and Brookshire Brothers stores will open new opportunities for expanded service and market share.”
Kroger executives echoed Mr. Lackey’s comments, adding that having EducationFirst inside its grocery stores will offer traditional banking services plus extended banking hours six days a week. Convenience always has been the primary reason customers give for choosing their financial institution and the grocery store can provide convenient “one-stop” shopping, according tomarketing research.
Officials at Brookshire Brothers Ltd. are excited about the opportunity to offer their customers a convenient service in predominantly rural communities in Eastern Texas.
EducationFirst joins an extensive network of financial institutions across the United States moving to provide in-store banking through their licensing agreement with Financial Supermarkets, Inc. of Cornelia, Georgia. Financial Supermarkets introduced The Supermarket Bank® concept in 1984 and since has been instrumental in establishing and consulting with in-store banking facilities in the U.S. and Europe.
Roy Bell, President and CEO of Financial Supermarkets, Inc. stated that his company welcomes the EducationFirst team as the newest members of the supermarket banking “family.”
“The management of this financial institution is demonstrating its commitment to remain on the cutting edge of today’s highly competitive financial services market,” Bell said. “In-store banking means that EducationFirst members now can be in two places at the same time – banking and shopping under the same roof.”
“EducationFirst’s in-store branch program indicates a competitive, innovative financial institution that continues to develop more ways to be more things to more people in the communities it serves,” Lackey said.
“We are excited about our new venture and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with both Kroger and Brookshire Brothers Ltd.,” he added.
In-store branch construction and Grand Opening details will be announced at a later date.