Case Studies

Britt Phillips – Sharonview Federal Credit Union

Facilities leader helps credit union bank on improved member services

Despite a digital age shift that, according to Forbes, has seen the percentage of people who prefer to use apps and websites for banking increase to 78 percent, personal interactions are the foundation for Sharonview Federal Credit Union in North Carolina.

As Sharonview approaches its 70th anniversary, Britt Phillips, its vice president of facilities and operations, says emphasizing the personal touch for financial services can be seen in how he manages facilities, guides renovations of existing branches and builds new ones.

Britt Phillips | Vice President of Facilities and Operations | Sharonview Federal Credit Union

Britt Phillips | Vice President of Facilities and Operations | Sharonview Federal Credit Union

Some changes, such as increased cleaning, have been implemented to ensure employee and credit union members’ safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other changes include removing ATMs that were inside credit union branches and adding exterior windows for walk-up service. As for the outside ATMs, Phillips recently partnered with a new service provider to ensure rapid response should an ATM malfunction.

“Sharonview wants to move from transactions to interactions,” Phillips says. “So, we redesigned our branches to support that philosophy.”

Hybrid work is here to stay

Sharonview was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1955 by 20 employees of the chemical manufacturer Celanese. The credit union is named after Sharon and Fairview roads in Charlotte and had $11,000 in assets when it opened.

The credit union expanded throughout the Charlotte area and into South Carolina and reached $25 million in assets in 1979. When the banking industry was deregulated in the 1980s, Sharonview added services including 30-year mortgages, credit cards and individual retirement accounts and its assets reached more than $133 million.

Britt Phillips | Vice President of Facilities and Operations | Sharonview Federal Credit Union

In the past decade, Sharonview’s assets have surpassed $1 billion and it currently has 18 branch locations. But in the past several years, Phillips and his team have been helping reassess how much space the credit union needs. This is due in part to shifting to a hybrid work schedule for employees at the Indian Land, South Carolina, headquarters it moved into in 2020.

Sharonview’s headquarters occupy a four-story building it owns, and the credit union takes up the first and third floors. Phillips says he and his team have increased open space on the second and fourth floors to provide more options to businesses that might want to lease space.

He also hired someone to clean office common areas and restrooms at headquarters during the day even though a cleaning company also cleans the offices every night.

“We like the presence it creates,” Phillips says. “People see someone actively cleaning and it leaves an impression of comfort.”

Evolving branches

Phillips says Sharonview had begun redesigning branch interiors before the COVID-19 outbreak. However, once the pandemic began to wane, it removed eight interior branch ATMs to increase interactions with Sharonview members and cut costs. The ATMS weren’t placed in vestibules, so they were available only when branches were open; exterior ATMs have not been removed.

Maintenance and troubleshooting for the exterior ATMs has improved as well. In March, Phillips partnered with Consolidated Banking Services Inc., and says if an ATM outage occurs, the company can restore service to remotely manage them. He says CBSI, working online, can return ATM service in 20 minutes about 40 percent of the time. When an on-site service call is required, the technicians now have better information about what the problem is—they no longer have to diagnose on-site and can return an ATM to service sooner.

Britt Phillips | Vice President of Facilities and Operations | Sharonview Federal Credit Union

Additional interior design changes have included replacing teller lines with teller pods, allowing members more space to meet with staff for other credit union functions such as lending. Sharonview has also removed the bullet-proof glass to improve interactions. After the pandemic outbreak, Phillips and his team also installed exterior customer service walk-up windows.

While guiding the physical branch changes, Phillips also consolidated Sharonview’s vendor network for everything from cleaning to office supplies. Working with Amazon Business Prime and Staples has cut costs and improved delivery times. Contracting with property managers JLL to maintain headquarters also lowers supply costs. Consolidating companies to clean credit union branches reduces costs and improves security, he says.

“Our ‘branch of the future’ strategy has changed a bit for ease of use and operating efficiencies as well as for the pandemic,” Phillips says. “We support and take care of employees with improvements to structure, layout and operations so they can better support members.”

Scalable change

Before joining Sharonview, Phillips spent almost 20 years at Lowe’s Cos. Inc., rising from managing a store to becoming a regional sales and event manager and regional sales director. He was named market director for 14 stores in the Charlotte area in November 2012.

A native of Lithonia, Georgia, which is east of Atlanta, Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gardner-Webb University in 1997 before joining Lowe’s.

Britt Phillips | Vice President of Facilities and Operations | Sharonview Federal Credit Union

Simpsonville

Outside of work, he and his wife are raising two sons, which he says can mean lots of driving to baseball and basketball practices and games. Phillips also enjoys working out.

He joined Sharonview as a regional manager in January 2017, overseeing the Charlotte area branches. In August 2019, he was promoted to assistant vice president, overseeing two of the three regions the credit union serves.

In June 2020, Phillips took on the new role of vice president of facilities.

“I needed to assess where we were and how I could put in sustainable and scalable processes for current and future growth of the organization,” Phillips says. “I wanted to ensure we had efficient and effective processes and procedures in place. We were able to leverage technology and we also restructured the roles in the department to help with these efforts.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. V 2023 Edition here.

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