Friday, October 3, 2008

Leagues' efforts in media outreach succeeding

MADISON, Wis. (10/3/08)--Leagues across the nation are reporting success in their efforts to educate the public and the media about credit unions safety, soundness and strength. Many of their media outreach activities have resulted in positive press for credit unions.

The Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) reported a "busy week for talking to the media about credit unions on both a national and local level, and we are only half-way through," said Laura Weiking, director of communications. "We are in a great position to be the 'good guys' and we are taking every opportunity to tout that credit unions are safe, sound and still lending," she said.

"In each interview we are stressing that credit unions are insured, they are sound, they are lending and they are ready to talk to consumers about becoming a member," Weiking told News Now.

CUAO President/CEO Troy Stang participated in a live show, "Think Out Loud," on Oregon Public Broadcasting and spoke with the Oregonian. Weiking and Pam Leavitt, CUAO vice president of government affairs and public relations, were interviewed for separate shows on KEX 1190 News Radio. CUAO also is running an ad, "There is a Credit Union for You," as part of its statewide awareness campaign the week prior to International Credit Union Day (Oct. 16).

New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile was quoted in the state's largest paper, the Star-Leger about credit unions' ability to help consumers and businesses in the tough times because of their strength.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Gentile Wednesday, and the league recently published an op-ed touting credit unions in the Jersey Journal. Today he is in New York City to record a video message about the safety of New Jersey's credit unions that the league's member credit unions can put on their websites. The league's trainer is conducting a 25-minute webinar to train frontline staff on how to explain share insurance to members.

"We have made emergency funds available to do ads on 101.5, New Jersey's largest radio station, touting credit union safety and our strength," Gentile said in an e-mail. "We are using the slogan: 'New Jersey's Credit Unions, Banking You Can Trust.'" Funds are also earmarked for ads in three major newspapers.

Credit Union Associations of Colorado and Wyoming CEO John Dill was featured prominently in Rocky Mountain News Thursday in an article, "Bailout tough pill, Colo. leaders say."

"The current conditions clearly call for drastic action, and the Senate approval is a first step toward unfreezing our credit markets," said Dill. He was the first Colorado leader quoted in the story.

He told the publication that consumers' anger is justified. "Credit unions, like most Americans, are not the source of the problem that has led to the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression," he said. "Despite the fact we're fully insured by the federal government and our efforts to help members, we still need action to address the psychology and the substance of the problem."

Sylvia Lyon, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM), was interviewed Thursday on Channel 13-KRQE, a local television news station. The segment focuses on how credit unions are performing in the current economy and the financial crisis, and emphasizes credit unions federal insurance coverage and the increase in coverage through the U.S. government's rescue plan.

Lyon also explained why credit unions didn't get involved in subprime mortgages, and she discussed membership eligibility and how to locate a credit union.

The Ohio Credit Union League has sent chapter presidents sample press releases and guest columns they can customize for their local media. It also is sending an ad stressing credit unions' safety and soundness and ability to offer loans during the credit crunch.

The Massachusetts Credit Union League will publish quarter-page ads in major newspapers throughout the Commonwealth on Sunday. The ads reinforce the message that credit unions are safe, sound and secure (E-Weekly Oct. 1).

The Delaware Credit Union League sent out a press release developed by the Credit Union National Association about the increase to the federal insurance coverage, which includes credit unions.

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