PSB Integrated Marketing President Mark DeBellis has hit the road in a wrapped van on long summer trek.
DeBellis kicked off his credit union road trip on April 13 with a simple goal-drive 8,000 miles in the western U.S for 100 days and meet with credit unions and consumers to help ?build credit union visibility while learning what consumers really want from their fin-?ancial institutions.
"The financial climate is continually changing. It's important to understand firsthand the key issues and opportunities within our credit union markets," said DeBellis. "As president I realized that I spend too much time in the office. So why not get out there and talk to people to better understand the real challenges faced by credit unions and what's really going on with consumers? We wanted to do something different and contribute to being part of the solution."
DeBellis said the trip would be a cross between "Ice Road Truckers" and "Survivor Man."
DeBellis added that the trip serves as an opportunity to promote the benefits of credit union membership directly to consumers in a fun, informative and nontraditional manner.
His trip began in Sacramento at the California 2010 Government Affairs Rally. DeBellis said there will be a few breaks in between for family commitments. For the CU road trip, he said he does his best to visit up to three local credit unions each day in addition to random stops at local community events in each city. In addition to tweeting about the experience throughout his trip, he blogs about what credit unions are doing to stand out, and posts updates on where he's headed next on a microsite, www.destinationcreditunion.com. The site also offers financial tips, budget worksheets, music downloads and a link to CUNA's CU Locator to find a local credit union.
"I've been having a great time talking to people. And what I keep hearing is that no one was prepared for what they are experiencing in this economy and the biggest help credit unions can provide future generations is to help them really understand the basics of economics and how to manage their own consumption," said DeBellis. "California has been hit particularly hard so it's been great to see how credit unions have been so proactive in coming up with creative solutions to help people get through these tough times."
In addition to financial education opportunities, DeBellis said conversations with teens and young adults revealed that many are still unaware what a credit union is let alone that there is a credit union difference. He said there's a lot of work to be done in building awareness.
"This is all unscientific, of course, but who knows-maybe the anecdotal feedback from this road trip might spark other ideas on ways beyond wrapping a van and driving 8,000 miles to help credit unions be more visible," said DeBellis. "I'm having a great time and I'm looking forward to getting out in more communities and to more credit unions to learn more."