SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The best compliment for the Alamo Chapter of Credit Unions is locals commenting that credit unions seem to be everywhere. What started in 1997 as a counterattack to banker mudslinging has grown into an annual multifaceted credit union awareness event. “When bankers first got into the `put credit unions out of business’ routine, leaders here got together and formed a committee consisting of marketing/public relations experts to make credit unions more visible,” said Alamo Chapter of Credit Unions Advertising/Public Relations Committee Chair John Worthington. “The Texas Credit Union League does a great job but we wanted to do our part on a local level.” The committee of eight members with a budget of $100,000 constantly works on developing fun, innovative annual campaign ideas. “Repetition, repetition, repetition is the advertising motto,” said Worthington. “So each year we try to maintain these various operations to keep us visible, on the top of mind and involved in the community. If there isn’t a particular issue we are trying to push like in the past it was HR 1151 or Y2K, then we focus on spreading the good word of credit unions.” So far the reactions have been encouraging as indicated by TCUL annual Attitude and Awareness survey findings that the general population’s positive feelings toward credit unions continues to grow and according to Worthington is as high in the state as the local area. This year the focus is value and membership with the theme “You’re the one who profits” in radio, transit bus, outdoor and print advertisements to reach out to consumers. Along with the new campaign the Alamo Chapter of CUs also revamped its look with a new logo that features a square grid with a line that mimics a profit line and the shape of the Alamo. According to Worthington, more than the ads the 46 credit unions in the chapter have made sure they are almost ingrained in San Antonio life and community. For example, the chapter makes a point to sponsor the annual Fiesta, which is a 10-day, citywide, fun-filled, multi-cultural, family oriented celebration with approximately 3.5 million attendees and participants. In addition, the chapter looks for other community opportunities from sponsoring radio broadcasts of the very popular high school football games and raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network to recently sponsoring a Red Cross public relations campaign, which ran from July to September. “With all the flooding our local Red Cross chapters were really hurting and they wanted to regain top of mind awareness,” said Worthington. “So we helped them run both the Clear Channel news/ talk radio spots and billboard ads. You know this approach really takes on a synergistic effect as other credit unions advertise with their own products and services and the credit union message is reinforced and resounds with consumers.” On the legislative front the chapter sponsors local chamber of commerce events and periodically hosts luncheons and breakfasts for elected officials to give them primers on the credit union difference. Worthington says it is a great opportunity to meet one-on-one with officials and specifically show the impact of credit unions in their district while addressing whatever concern they may have as well. “It is such a joy to work with the Alamo Chapter,” said Worthington. “Here we are, a local cooperative group of credit unions working together for common interests and you know that the biggest banks here would never work cooperatively for advertising. So others in the community look at what we do and they see the credit union difference.” [email protected]

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