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Alerus holds ribbon cutting for new location inside Hugo's in downtown Grand Forks

The new location, sleek, modern and laden with tablets in the center of the lobby, occupies a nook inside the new Hugo’s in downtown Grand Forks where customers will deal with humans less than they will machines designed to do it all.

Alerus ribbon cutting
From left; Grand Forks mayor Brandon Bochenski, Alerus Financial Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Katie Lorenson, Chris Wolf, Alerus Northern Valley Market President, The Chamber's Stacey Brorson and April Loken and Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland react after cutting the ribbon on the new Alerus branch bank in the downtown Hugo's Marketplace Monday, Dec. 13, 2021.
Eric K. Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

Alerus Financial held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, Dec. 13, for its new location in downtown Grand Forks.

The new location – sleek, modern and laden with tablets in the center of the lobby – occupies a nook inside the new Hugo’s in downtown Grand Forks, where customers will deal with humans less than they will machines that are designed to do it all.

Chris Wolf, northern valley market president for Alerus, gave opening remarks about the location and mentioned its layout – a smaller, more bare-bones space – could possibly become the go-to layout for future Alerus lobbies.

“I want to point out that not only is this our newest location in Grand Forks and our company, it’s also the model for the future of Alerus lobbies,” Wolf said. “We’re testing it out right here in Grand Forks. You may have noticed it’s a fairly small space. That is intentional. We believe that not all lobbies have to have significant footprints.”

Wolf said the smaller space and smaller number of employees at the location does not take away from its functionality. Employees will have a different role at this location from just carrying out routine transactions.


“Many of us already do our banking online or through our phones or apps for traditional routine transactions,” Wolf said. “Coming in and stopping in, we don’t do that as often. However, we still believe that there is a time and a place to come in and visit with skilled financial professionals who can help us plan for our futures, suggest options, monitor where things are going and help us with our long-term financial success.”

Part of what allows Alerus to achieve this is the use of ITMs, not to be confused with ATMs. ITMs allow customers to make practically any transactions they could with a teller, as well as allow customers to interact virtually with a teller through a built-in telephone or through video chat on its screen.

“Think of an ITM that is capable of so much more than a traditional ATM,” Wolf said. “You can do the things that traditional ATMs would do, but also can do more, such as processing big loan payments, get cash in different denominations, deposit checks, currency, coins and also if you get stuck, you have the ability to hit a button, and someone will help you. You will see somebody on the screen that will assist you with what it is.”

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