<p>NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. – Forget “Bueller.Bueller” these days Ben Stein is saying, “Bank at SAFE Credit Union” all over the radio stations here. “After a significant brand study in 2001 we decided our CU brand direction would be to build our middle market while not alienating our existing members,” said SAFE CU Vice President of Marketing/Share Services Faith Galati. “We knew we needed a spokesperson who could show members how professional, financially savvy and friendly we are and Ben Stein just embodies that.” “The first question members ask is how did you ever get Ben Stein?,” said Galati. “He is so likeable. Everyone immediately recognizes his voice and it just draws people in.” When advertising agency Mering & Associates first suggested Stein as the “voice” of SAFE CU Galati’s first reaction was “how am I ever going to be able to afford Ben Stein?”. But Stein it turns out is a longtime Los Angeles credit union member himself and had rates that Galati couldn’t refuse. Stein, who currently hosts the game show Win Ben Stein’s Money, is also no stranger to the financial sector and has been routinely interviewed on CNN for his thoughts on money issues. While best known for his role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Stein’s many accomplishments include college professor and speech writer for Richard Nixon. So far Stein has appeared in seven 60-second radio spots that air during the main drive on the city’s four most popular radio stations. The humorous spots feature his signature monotone as he tells different stories that always end with the moral of why listeners should “keep more of what you earn” by banking at SAFE CU. According to Galati, Stein is just what the credit union’s brand needed on the radio. “It was very important to us that our spokesperson be knowledgeable about finances and the credit union movement, said Galati. Stein has even come up with two radio spots of his own. “We had just finished taping one ad and he just said `Faith I’ve got an idea for a spot.’ He told me it and I said we should just tape it,” said Galati. “Then right after taping it he had another idea, and I must admit his two spots are my favorites so far. He is just so great.” SAFE CU members will hear Stein throughout the year and Galati says she has an option to renew for next year. Given the initial response she feels this could definitely be a long term commitment. At press time, Galati is hoping Stein will be available to make a few personal appearances. [email protected] cutimes.com</p>

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