Friday, October 17, 2008

Two leagues, CUs promote safety and soundness

MADISON, Wis. (10/17/08)--Some state credit union leagues and individual credit unions are continuing to promote the message about the safety and soundness of credit unions in the unsettled U.S. marketplace.

During the recent financial uncertainty, the Alabama Credit Union League (ACUL) has reached out to various media outlets in the state in an effort to inform and reassure the public about the safety of credit unions. In addition to spreading the message that credit unions continue to be safe havens, the league has actively been providing the media with financial experts and information.

"During these times, people are looking more carefully than ever at their own personal financial situation. The league has been providing pertinent information on the safety and soundness of credit unions to the media to help reassure the public," said league Gary B. Wolter, president/CEO.

"In particular, during the Wall Street panic and the economic relief package debates, the league stressed the message about deposit insurance, reassuring the public that like banks, credit union accounts are federally insured through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. In addition, we are using the opportunity to point out some of the distinct benefits of credit unions and credit union membership," he added.

Articles and letters to the editor have appeared in the Montgomery Advertiser, the Mobile Press-Register, the Birmingham News, and are planned for additional newspapers across the state. Credit union CEOs have been featured in television news interviews and newspaper articles on the economy within the last weeks and the league is currently looking for additional ways to raise the visibility of credit unions in Alabama.

The Wisconsin Credit Union League issued a press release Oct. 7 on credit unions' share insurance being raised to $250,000 after passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

"Recently, credit unions have gained national attention as strong and secure institutions that have generally avoided the bad lending practices that contributed to today's financial crisis. As a result, credit unions are recognized as healthy lenders that are well positioned to fill a growing demand for personal, auto, business and student loans, as well as mortgages and more," the release read.

Brett Thompson, president/CEO of the Wisconsin league, said in the release: "Although credit unions have remained stable and well capitalized through our nation's ongoing economic struggles, we welcome this extended coverage on deposits and hope this further strengthens people's confidence in their financial institution."

Community First CU, a $1.089 billion asset, Appleton, Wis., credit union, has placed radio, newspaper and TV ads locally to highlight the strength of the credit union for its members and communities in Northeastern Wisconsin. The spots highlight not only the credit union's safety and soundness, but its gratitude to members, and Community First's willingness to continue lending.

In addition, Community First's website highlights safety and soundness with a home page banner and landing page, as well as a similar banner within its Home Banking product. Its current newsletter edition also carries a similar message on the front page.

Citadel FCU, A $1.086 billion asset, Thorndale, Pa.-based credit union issued a press release earlier this month about the new share insurance fund bump to $250,000.

"Recently, the majority of our member questions have revolved around the security of their deposits," said Carol Humenick, Citadel senior vice president, in the release. "There has been a great deal of media attention on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, but a lack of focus on credit unions and their security in general. With the increase in deposit insurance, we are pleased to have an additional opportunity to reinforce the message of deposit security to our members and the marketplace."

"Citadel focuses on the long term needs of our members. We have avoided risky lending practices, preventing us from being caught up in the current credit crisis. The increase in deposit insurance provides further safety, soundness and security for Citadel members," the press release concluded.

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