On its Website and in radio ads, Nevada FCU asked, "Why do business with an out-of-state credit union?" when Nevada FCU "has been locally owned by Nevadans just like you since 1950 and we're ready to service you."
The $4.9 billion America First, based in an Ogden suburb, had submitted the successful bid to the NCUA to take over the $159 million Community First, which for months has sustained large loan losses in its mortgage portfolio, ending up with net worth below 1%.
John Lund, executive vice president of America First, dismissed the Nevada FCU ads as misguided, "considering America First has long had a presence in Nevada" through branches in Mesquite, a community on the Utah-Nevada line.
Moreover, he said. there is a false premise to the ad regarding "ownership" of Community First, which is now a division of America First.
"It's the Community First members now become part owners of a much larger institution. That can be a great thing for them in being able to have available a wider range of financial resources," said Lund. "This is not like a bank stock takeover."
However, Brad Beal, president/CEO of Nevada Federal, maintains the Community First takeover does present new opportunities in offering a "buy local" message.
Ariz. Job Aid
Arizona's grim economic condition is triggering new online efforts by credit unions to aid the unemployed and underserved.
So far, two of the state's largest, the $1.3 billion Arizona State CU and the $420 million Arizona Central, both of Phoenix, have been promoting viral sites which assist the state's out-of-work find jobs and obtain both financial and material help.
Arizona State kicked off the campaign in March with its HelpinzAZ.com, and now Arizona Central has joined in with its own GetAZmoving web, teaming up with local retailers with a goal of keeping business from migrating out-of-state.
Since its May launch, Arizona Central said it has already recorded 5,000 visitors and 15,500 page views.
Arizona State said its site, described as "the first-ever social media Website designed to help Arizonans who have been impacted by the economy" has also seen jumps in usage.
It has recorded over 3,000 comments from users and is designed as a free, virtual one-stop shop of economic resources and information sharing.