Finding real brand confusion among lawmakers and the public, Mid-America Credit Union is doing a name switch. It's now the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas.
The original name, as introduced with much fanfare in 2007, was meant to be an all-encompassing trade group moniker suggesting future regional linkups with neighboring leagues.
But staffers and CEOs said the Mid-America name has drawn blank stares from legislators and others who wondered whether MCUA, which combined the North and South Dakota leagues, was a CU or a vendor.
"We even had trouble with Congressmen and their staffs during the mid-terms asking who we were," said Jeff Olson, vice president of advocacy and awareness.
The name change still must go through a formal bylaw switch to be approved by the 77 affiliated CUs in the two states, "but we're now effective today DBA as Credit Union Association of the Dakotas," Olson said.
The website, phone messaging and literature will also be changed though the transition may take some time, officials said.
Whether CUAD would still look beyond the Dakota boundaries for league affiliations remains to be seen, Olson said.
"But in this kind of economy, anything is possible when you look at how Arizona and Colorado teamed up and they are not even bordering each other," he observed.
Any affiliation move would be left to the Dakota membership and the managementled by Robbie Thompson, a former general counsel for the New Jersey League who took over as CEO in June. Thompson was previously
vice president/general counsel of the $280 million Members Cooperative Credit Union of Cloquet, Minn.