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EWING, N.J. – How do you go about changing a name that members have been very attached to for the past 59 years? Very carefully and slowly says New Jersey Department of Transportation Credit Union Vice President of Marketing Valerie Metzker. It took three years of research and hard work, but effective November 1, 2002, NJDOT CU will become the Credit Union of New Jersey. According to President/CEO Andrew L. Jaeger, the new name is more inclusive of the current and future membership. “We are proud of our heritage and our affiliation with the Department of Transportation,” said Jaeger. “Today the credit union is comprised of many different employer groups, state agencies, associations, members from previous mergers, the community of Ewing, family members and retirees – in addition to the NJDOT.” Given an upcoming merger with Trenton, New Jersey-based The State Credit Union, the credit union turned to a name change consultant from Indianapolis-based credit union marketing firm Englehart Dicken to help find a name that would describe what NJDOT CU wanted to be and still appeal to the loyal base of members from NJDOT-who were very proud of the existing name. “It was a challenge,” said Metzker. “Because with the merger we will be able to offer membership to all state agencies here with the exception of Law & Public Safety but with the current name whenever we did community events it was a real struggle for us to educate potential members that yes they can join and that membership is not limited to only department of transportation employees. So our members understood why it was necessary to do the name change but they didn’t want anything too drastic.” While many names were tested, Metzker says Credit Union of New Jersey jumped out immediately as the one since it “was so all inclusive and captured the characteristics of the credit union and the reasons why CUNJ would still be around in 10 years.” Four different focus groups of members and nonmembers revealed that the name was indeed a hit as long as the credit union didn’t lose sight of service. “Our DOT members liked the name because it wasn’t too much of a stretch for them and they still felt as if they belonged,” said Metzker. “And our nonmembers said they didn’t care about the name but please don’t change the service and the personal touch which is just some of the things we really like about the credit union.” According to Metzker the name says that the credit union is not “just a little fish in the big ocean – we have what the big guys have but we are better because although we are going for the bigger field we won’t lose that warm and fuzzy feeling that makes us stand out.” In keeping with the theme of staying within the members’ comfort level, the new logo uses the colors cyan (the old logo also had a bluish tint) and black with a clean modern feel. Prompted by research that found over 40% of consumers in the geographic area were not aware of the benefits of joining a credit union or even how to join a credit union, CUNJ will launch an educational campaign “Have you heard?” in November. “We decided this is a great time to do it,” said Metzker. “And we just decided to jump clear over the hurdle at the start so we will be telling members not only are we now the Credit Union of New Jersey but also here is how you can join.” The Web site redesign is scheduled to be launched the first quarter of 2003 and will include a pull down menu of all the different field of memberships. With the merger the credit union will pick up an additional three branches so there are no plans to build new branches yet. Metzker says the total rebranding/name change will cost approximately $65,000. [email protected]

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