Ardent Credit Union earns patent for state-of-the-art ‘Cube’, an expandable pop-up branch of the credit union

The concept was created as an efficient alternative to the typical brick-and-mortar branch model

PHILADELPHIA, PA (January 8, 2020) — Ardent Credit Union (ACU) was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark for its “Cube,” an expandable, small footprint branch. This patent protects Ardent’s innovative design, which allows a full-service branch to be placed into an existing building, such office lobbies and shopping malls.

“We’ve noticed that even with the advancements in online banking, consumers are still looking for nearby in-branch access when selecting a financial institution. This is especially true when it comes to millennials, as their financial needs continue to grow with age,” said Rob Werner, President & CEO of Ardent Credit Union. “The Cube is a perfect model of what can exist between the mobile phone and the freestanding corner branch.”

The Cube is 10 feet tall, 14 feet wide and 14 feet long prefabricated structure broken into three sections. The two end sections expand on rails with the push of a button to create a 24-foot long branch. The structure is made out of plastic laminate with solid surface material as cladding and a steel plywood substructure. It can be staffed by two employees with space for a few members at a time.

The first Cube was installed inside of GlaxoSmithKline’s Collegeville, Pa. location in late 2018. The credit union’s primary objective for this project was to create a full-service branch in a small GSK lobby space to serve the 3,000 employees at the site.

“The Cube really unlike anything we’ve ever seen from a financial institution, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of the industry, utilizing cutting edge technology and design,” said Werner. “We’re excited that this patent will give us the opportunity to market these structures to other institutions.”

Ardent plans to eventually sell Cubes. Financial institutions are often caught between needing to maintain a presence in the community and keeping expenses down. The Cube will allow financial institutions to do both. The structure will cost approximately $250,000, significantly less than a branch built from the ground up. In addition to being more cost effective, the Cube can go from approval to open in a much shorter period of time.

The concept behind the Cube was born from Werner and Ardent’s Chief Operations Officer, Wade Bennett, brainstorming more efficient alternatives to the brick-and-mortar branch model. The duo was looking for a way to affordably expand the credit union’s footprint, while controlling costs. They met with architects from HOK and Diversified Storage Solutions to develop a smaller format branch that could be operated by a limited staff, yet was still secure, attractive and functional.

This is not the first innovative idea Ardent Credit Union has brought to market. Employees are encouraged to suggest new ideas for products and services during meetups in the “Innovation Garage” located in the center of its headquarters. In 2017, the credit union launched its Auto Buying Concierge service, revolutionizing the car buying process. The free service is run by former auto sales professionals, who provide members the inside knowledge of cars and the buying process. Buyers work with a concierge one-on-one, which alleviates stress and results a better deal. In just two years, the service has saved members more than $1 million. Additionally, Ardent has launched a low, fixed-rate Lend-a-Paw Line of Credit specifically to cover pet expenses.

Since becoming a community charted credit union in 2016, Ardent has been on a growth trajectory. In just the last year, Ardent has opened three new branches, added more than 20 employees, and expanded to more than $700 million in assets and $500 million in loans.

To coordinate an interview with Ardent Credit Union President & CEO Rob Werner, please contact Gabrielle Schwab at (215) 627-4747 or e-mail

About Ardent Credit Union

Ardent Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Ardent was founded in 1977 by the employees of the SmithKline Corporation. With more than $650 million in member assets, Ardent serves Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester Counties. For more information, visit


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