<p>MIRAMAR, Fla. – Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union is no stranger to what it takes to survive and is making sure that Florida businesses know it. The credit union is making its latest push for Select Employee Groups by inserting its 2001 Annual Report in the South Florida Business Journal and the Tampa Business Journal. Despite its sponsor Eastern Airlines shutting down its doors, the credit union has grown to over $1 billion in assets and according to EFFCU Vice President of Marketing Gary Lanier, the key is reaching out to the business community. "More loyal members come from our SEGs than the general population," said Lanier. "We want to introduce ourselves to the business community and make sure they understand that we are the premiere credit union in these markets." In addition to the insert, the recently converted community credit union placed ads in the publications that position credit union membership as an employee benefit. "It's our goal to make every business in South Florida and the Tampa Bay Area aware of who Eastern Financial is and what great benefits the credit union can provide their employees," said EFFCU Senior Vice President Stuart Bernstein. "Educating the community about the benefits of credit unions is extremely important to us." Scheduled to run in the publications' big financial institution issue, the annual report was selected not only for its originality but also for the "snapshot" it provides of the credit union's past and present. According to Lanier it also turned out to be a great cost saver since "we had already expensed for an annual report, so we ended up just paying a normal insert fee." The campaign, which will hit the desks of approximately 26,500 prominent businesspersons, came with a total $21,000 price tag including printing and advertising. "This focus on a strong SEG presence is something we began prior to Eastern Airlines going out of business, and what helped us survive," said Lanier. "With this new promotion we want to gain a higher profile while building the quality and loyalty of our members. Taking expansion seriously, EFFCU has developed a two-tier active business development program. Each branch manager serves as "business development representatives". Each branch then supports direct mail campaigns, advertising to the community and works off a Dunn & Bradstreet list. From headquarters there is also a staff of four sales people who handle the cold calls and an additional five employees who support sales managers and are responsible for getting the packages out and fulfilling requests from existing SEGs. In 2001 EFFCU added more than 150 new select employee groups, which Lanier credits to aggressive marketing, community outreach and name recognition. "The name recognition really makes it easier for us to get into meetings with human resource departments," said Lanier. "So far from conversations at Chamber of Commerce meetings and other business functions, many executives have told us that they are very impressed by the campaign." EFFCU serves over 160,000 members and 800 SEGs in South Florida and the Tampa Bay region. [email protected]</p>

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