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EWING, N.J. – Credit unions in the Garden State celebrated their first New Jersey Credit Union Day October 19. The following week a leading local newspaper carried a special supplement focused on the benefits of belonging to a credit union. The ad supplement produced by Credit Union Affiliates of New Jersey (CUANJ) and that ran in the October 25th edition of the Trenton Times featured five articles that were written by the Credit Union Affiliates of New Jersey’s Derrick Stokes – “Own Your Financial Future”; “The Customer is Always Right”; “It Takes a Credit Union to Build a Community”; “Educating the Public”; and “Just the Basic Facts.” CUANJ and nine area CUs purchased ads in the supplement, as did one vendor. The Trenton Times, the fourth largest newspaper in the state, has a daily circulation of 95,000 throughout central New Jersey. New Jersey 300 CUs’ Credit Union Day celebrations came after more than a year’s work in drafting legislation and finding sponsors in the state Senate and Assembly. CUANJ marked the event with a tour of credit union offices in the north, south and central parts of the state including Hamilton Horizons FCU, Hamilton Township, City of Trenton Employees CU and a stop at New Jersey Department of Department of Transportation Credit Union (NJDOTCU), Ewing. “This day will raise the profile of the credit union movement and show people what we are all about,” said Russell Clark, president and CEO CUANJ at DJOTCU offices. He is considering more radio public service announcements and paid advertising to promote credit unions to the public. Broadcast news coverage highlighted the days events with television journalists running segments on local stations such as CN8 (Comcast Cable), WPMI Channel 6 in Philadelphia and WZBN in Mercer County and regional newspapers such as the Trenton Times. The New Jersey Credit Union Day bill was co-sponsored by legislators including Assemblymen Christopher Bateman (R-16) who is chairman of the state banking committee, Richard Bagger (R-22) Reed Gusciora (D-15) and Senators Ray Lesniak (D-20), Gerald Cardinali (R-39) and Shirley Turner (D-15). The bill was signed by Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco on July 26. Asked why he supported the legislation, Gusciora replied, “Because credit unions play a major role in keeping banks honest and competitive. Besides offering a personal touch to members, credit unions help keep the playing field level in regards to other financial institutions. Gusciora, a member of the state transportation committee, is a member of Washington, D.C.-based Wright Patman Congressional FCU, which he joined some 20 years ago when working in the capitol city. Andrew Jaeger, president of NJDOTCU and chairman of The New Jersey Credit Union Advisory Council, representing the 27 state-chartered credit unions, read the official resolution at the event. In other news, Jaeger, in conjunction with Michael Horan, director of governmental and public affairs at CUANJ, is now working to garner legislative support to revise New Jersey’s Credit Union Advisory Act so that it “better reflects today’s environment,” said Jaeger. “We want to change the act and add new field of membership provisions, following the example of more progressive states such as California.” In an article spotlighting the council (CU Times, Feb. 28), Jaeger said he wanted the act changed to give credit unions the ability to add communities or geographic areas to their fields of membership without having to change their charters. One goal in changing the act is to have more state-chartered credit unions, Jaeger commented at the Credit Union Day event. “This is all in the preliminary stage. We are working with CUANJ in drafting a bill and searching for sponsors.” – [email protected]

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