On Wednesday, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Sarah Snell Cooke and branding guru Denise Wymore joined Power of Performance co-hosts Jason Dias and Deb Schaffer for an on-air debate about using the words “credit union” in branding.
GTE Federal Credit Union’s re-brand move last month to drop “credit union” and become GTE Financial sparked some pretty strong reactions across the industry. From Cooke’s perspective “it was one of the wisest things the credit union could have done.”
Wymore read the column from the Florida credit union's CEO, Joe Brancucci, and penned a column of her own that bluntly stated why the name change game is a losing one for the industry as a whole.
- CATCH the great debate.
Wednesday’s webcast show, dubbed “The Power of Persuasion”, delved deeper into both sides of a conversation that Dias said the industry as a whole needs to be having.
Citing Navy Federal as an example of great brand recognition in spite of no “credit union”, Cooke and Schaffer discussed that looking ahead it may become more of a trend, particularly if the words “credit union” become more of a stumbling block.
“Navy Federal just added their four millionth member and by the end of the year they will surpass $50 billion in assets, so something is working there people,” said Schaffer.
“It’s pretty apparent, the industry will never come together on a uniform branding campaign. So credit unions need to decide for themselves what to do,” said Cooke. “I’m pretty much live and let live. If credit union is working for you, great, but if others choose to drop it then I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing either because they know their markets better than anyone.”
As a believer in cooperation among cooperatives, for Wymore, it’s about being united as a brand.
“If we had to rename a financial cooperative today, would we use credit unions probably not. I’m not married to the words credit union as much as I am to presenting a unified brand,” said Wymore. “When the economy took a nose dive in 2008, I thought what an opportunity this economic disaster could if handled correctly could breathe new life into financial cooperatives for the same reasons it did after the Great Depression. Bank Transfer Day was a little blip but we blew it because we didn’t build momentum.”