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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The old days of a corporate having a guaranteed captive CU audience in the region it serves are over. With most state-chartered corporates having national FOMs and with an increasing number of federal-chartered corporates moving to them, corporate CU competition has gone national. Corporate leaders will point out that national FOMs have been around for years, the difference now is corporates are aggressively using them. The most popular way is for a corporae to market investment products outside of its traditional FOM. The $2.8 billion Southeast Corporate FCU has admittedly been a bit lax on the marketing side, but no more. Over the past few months it has been beefing up its marketing staff. Not only does it now have media relations and product marketing personnel, it is adding Member Relationship Managers to the marketing department to work on forging relationships with members in various regions. It has plans for MRMs for the Southern, Eastern, and Western regions of its FOM. Jason Norton, vice president of marketing for the corporate, said MRMs will be tasked with creating affinity relationships with CUs by helping them select products, reduce expenses and create revenue. The bottomline, said Norton, is to be so tightly connected with members that they think of SECORP before anyone else. “We’re making more marketing efforts. There hasn’t been much marketing here in the past,” said Norton. SECORP President/CEO Bill Birdwell said strengthening relationships is more important than ever these days as its member CUs will undoubtedly be presented with investment options from corporates across the country. “What we’re trying to do is establish better relationships. We’re working on parallel fronts trying to improve service and improve in the members’ minds the perception of us,” said Birdwell. But marketing alone isn’t enough, said Birdwell. “We have to do a better job of selling, and we have to have something better to sell. We can have a terrific marketing program, but unless you have good products and services you’re wasting your time.” Since joining the corporate as President/CEO earlier this year Birdwell has made a number of product and service adjustments, including bringing the corporate into the item processing market, which it never was in before. It now has a facility in Jacksonville, as does Southwest Corporate FCU – a competitive threat right in SECORP’s own backyard. Birdwell said he was hoping to have another major product announcement completed soon that he couldn’t discuss, but it revolves around revising certain account structures. “We have a lot of stuff in the works. We’ve come a fairly long way, but we’ll never be finished,” said Birdwell. [email protected]

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