California DFI Warns Against 'Everyone Can Join' Ads
The California DFI on Monday warned its state-chartered credit unions against using advertising statements that claim “everyone can join.”
According to spokeswoman Alana Golden, a DFI employee noticed the offending advertising in a credit union branch.
After a search of credit union advertising in the Golden State, the DFI discovered two more ads that used the impermissible tag lines.
According to an article included in the DFI’s April monthly bulletin, using advertising statements such as “everyone can join” or “all can join” violate the commissioner’s regulation concerning common-bond requirements for field of membership that require members share a common bond beyond obtaining financial services.
The three noncompliant credit unions, which Golden declined to name, received a letter regarding the problem from DFI Commissioner Teveia R. Barnes, Golden said.
In 2012, a marketing firm posted a copy of a June 3 advertisement in the Sacramento Bee by the $8.2 billion The Golden 1 Credit Union that included the headline “Now Everyone Can Join Golden 1!” The statement included a disclaimer at the bottom of the ad that read, “Must meet account opening requirements.”
A Golden 1 spokesman did not return a call Monday asking if his cooperative was one of the three credit unions contacted by the DFI.
According to The Golden 1’s membership application on its website, membership is open to residents of 33 California counties throughout the state, from Shasta and Lassen counties in northern California to Imperial County on the Mexican border.
In addition to hundreds of SEGs, the eligibility portion of the Sacramento-based credit union’s application also includes an option to join the Financial Fitness Association to gain access to membership.