HOUSTON (7/23/08)--Is it possible to be progressive--without making change? The newest branch of People’s Trust FCU in Houston would say yes. The branch, which opened in May, doesn’t give out loose change to its members. Instead, the credit union places the change into members’ accounts, or gives them the option of contributing the money toward charity through the credit union’s foundation. So far, two members have chosen give their money to the foundation. “We’ve gotten very positive feedback,” Vernon Babilon, executive vice president and chief financial officer, told News Now. People’s Trust decided to go coinless to encourage member savings. “It’s an easy way to get them started,” Babilon said. “When we gave members change, they didn’t count it.” Going coinless is also safer. Without coins, tellers at the credit union don’t need cash drawers, which can attract robbers. Instead, they use bill dispensers. “It’s better for the members, and it’s safer for the members and the tellers,” Babilon said. Though the tellers don’t give back coins, the branch offers a cash machine for members’ loose change, and has rolled coins available, Babilon said. The branch has a nontraditional teller layout. Members are greeted when they walk in the door and can use one of four dialog stations. The four tellers share two bill dispensers. So far, the new Houston branch is the only one of seven that is going coinless. “We hope in the future other branches will follow suit,” Babilon said. The branch also is the only coinless branch in the area, and has generated interest from local financial institutions. The chief financial officer at a Dallas bank recently called Babilon because he liked the idea, Babilon said. Even if the idea of “going coinless” catches on, Babilon doesn’t expect a cashless society. “There’s too much of a need,” he said. “There are always walks of life [that need cash].” People’s Trust has $288 million in assets.