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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs has launched a public service announcement (PSA) campaign for national as well as regional audiences. The PSAs are expected to run August 1 through October 1. The effort was initiated by sending the PSAs to 28 Region II radio outlets and 107 Region VI outlets. “Our purpose is to increase public awareness of the benefits and security of federal share insurance for credit union members, and raise the profile and recognition of NCUA in the hope that one day the public will readily recognize this agency as the security behind their savings, much like the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) is recognized for banks and thrifts,” NCUA Public and Congressional Affairs Director Cliff Northup said. He pointed out that the FDIC creates PSAs. While many people know what the FDIC is, it is “hard to find anybody who knows what NCUA is,” he said. Northup also hopes the program will boost agency morale. One of the three options for the announcement reads: “If you belong to a credit union, you’re not alone. You’re one of 80 million credit union members in the United Sates with savings insured up to $100,000-or in some cases even more, depending on the structure of your accounts-and backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government through the National Credit Union Administration’s share insurance fund. With NCUA you’re in good company. For more information, visit www.NCUA.gov.” “It’s really important for credit union members to understand with the economy the way it is, their money is just as safe as if it was in a bank,” said NCUA Writer/Editor Molly Schar, who jump-started the idea. The agency began its research into PSAs in April with the Office of General Counsel’s (OGC’s) investigation into the Federal Communications Commission’s laws and regulations on PSAs and was surprised that there is very little in the way of guidance. So with input from OGC and the Office of Examination and Insurance, Schar plunged into writing the announcements, which are tailored to the region where they will be run. The one flaw with the system is that there are no requirements for radio stations, or any other outlets, to even read PSAs on the air. The upside is that if they are broadcast, it is free of charge. Part of Schar’s job will be to follow up with radio stations to see if the PSAs have been read. Additionally, employees from each region were asked to keep an ear out for them. NCUA plans to get PSAs out to each region every couple weeks. But radio is just a jumping off point. “I definitely think this is a starting point for us,” Schar said. She said in the future the agency would look into other media formats, like billboards, print, and other means of getting the message out. When asked, Schar said she feels this is an appropriate role for the regulator to play; “I don’t think we’re advertising for credit unions at all.” [email protected]

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