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<p>DALLAS/FORT WORTH, Texas -Some people still don’t know what a credit union is, but the Dallas/Fort Worth Credit Union Awareness Council is working to change that. Made up of CEOs and marketers from area credit unions, the Council is working to generate public awareness of credit unions as a viable financial institution alternative. In cooperation with the Dallas and Fort Worth Chapters and the Texas Credit Union League, participating credit unions pool funds to buy radio and television airtime. The group utilizes the “Comfort Zone” spots produced by CUNA. “Persons belonging to credit unions aren’t just members, they are also owners and have come to expect the most competitive rates while receiving quality service and products. The Council is instrumental in helping make the consumer aware that credit unions are a valuable choice when choosing a financial institution,” said Council member Bill Marshall, president of General Technologies Credit Union. The September 11 tragedies occurred just as the Council was preparing to solicit funding from credit unions for its 2002 campaign. Anticipating that credit unions, like the rest of the country, would not be conducting “business as usual” for awhile and that they would want to channel available funds into relief efforts instead, the Council quickly shifted gears. A decision was made to halt awareness efforts for the remainder of 2001 and use the $29,000 remaining in the Council’s 2001 budget to sustain a leaner 2002 campaign. Council member Pat Mott, president of Arlington Federal Credit Union, said the council chose to “slow down” and “slim down,” but still continue the momentum of the program. Spots resumed in February and will continue through September 2002, airing on many cable stations including CNN, Discovery Channel, Fox Sports and the Weather Channel. The 2001 campaign also carried spots on network television, including during the David Letterman Show. Radio spots during 2001 aired on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network. Spots direct viewers to call Texas Credit Union League for information. TCUL answers caller questions and informs them of the credit unions they are eligible to join. Viewers are also directed to the Council’s Web site, www.dfwcreditunions.org, where they can link to the home pages of participating credit unions. According to AT&T Media Service statistics, Council ads reached 760,000 households during 2001. Mott said TCUL receives calls from many different sources and doesn’t specifically track how many are a direct result of the Council spots, but that “the increase in calls during certain times would suggest that people are paying attention to our ads.” The Council changed its name in February from DFW Credit Union Advertising Council to DFW Credit Union Awareness Council, according to Council member Rick Stokes, Southwest IBM Employees FCU. “We wanted credit unions to clearly understand that the emphasis of this organization is not on promoting individual credit unions, but rather on promoting the entire credit union movement,” Stokes said. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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