By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
Banking will be a little less convenient for some West Volusia customers of Space Coast Credit Union after Friday, Sept. 28.
The Melbourne-based financial institution is closing its office in Gateway Village shopping center's north segment at the close of business and consolidating its DeLand operations at a branch on the south side of town at 1450 S. Woodland Blvd.
Heather E. Hickman, SCCU's vice president for retail branch administration, said in an e-mail there are several reasons for the branch closing.
"Some of the reasons for this decision were that our DeLand North branch is close in proximity to our larger DeLand South branch, serves the same membership base in the area and does not provide drive-through services due to its physical location," Ms. Hickman wrote.
"Combining the staff and operations of the two DeLand branches will allow SCCU to increase operating efficiencies and provide our members with a higher level of service, including the expansion of Saturday drive-through hours at the DeLand South branch for members."
She did not address questions about the lease expiring in Gateway Village. Sources told Hometown News that the shopping center management was insisting on a seven-year renewal term, even though the center has several vacant storefronts, including a former Food Lion that closed in 2009.
Nor did Ms. Hickman address a new Sonny's restaurant that opened earlier this month at the front of the center and whether that could have brought more customers to the shopping center and the soon-to-close branch.
The sources also said SCCU was looking for another location for a branch on the north side of town, or at least a site for a free-standing ATM, to serve its members who live farther north in West Volusia county.
"Space Coast Credit Union continually looks for opportunities to increase service delivery to our members in the West Volusia market, including new ATM and branch locations," Ms. Hickman said. "Many factors are considered in such decisions, but SCCU members will always be notified as new service locations are announced."
But there are no plans to reinstall an ATM that once was located inside the DeLand Police Department lobby, she said.
Bob Turk, DeLand's economic development manager, said he had been in contact with SCCU officials several weeks ago and offered the city's help in finding another branch location.
"They told me they were looking for a 'more acceptable' location on the north side of town," Mr. Turk said. "I told them about some vacant bank buildings, but they said they were aware of them and considering their options."
With the consolidation to its DeLand South facility, Space Coast will have nine branches throughout Volusia County as part of its network of 56 branches in seven counties. SCCU also has branches inside the Walmart Supercenter on Saxon Boulevard in Orange City and at 940 Deltona Blvd., next to a Deltona Post Office. There also are two branches each in Port Orange and New Smyrna Beach, and one each in Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach.
None of the other Volusia County branches are in danger of closing, Ms. Hickman said.
Mr. Turk said it also was his impression that SCCU wasn't going anywhere.
"They're not leaving DeLand," he said. "They just want to improve services for their members."