HOUSTON – Communicators Federal Credit Union is riding into the future with a new name -PrimeWay Federal Credit Union. Faced with a growing and more diverse membership, the 65-year old $176 million credit union became the latest player in the increasingly popular name change game. “Of course we had some grave concerns about this move but we decided it was just time,” said PrimeWay FCU President/CEO Dale Roberts. “We started serving a new underserved area, and with all the questions about how to join we felt changing the name to something more neutral would better represent the overall community and members. PrimeWay FCU is just a much better fit for us now.” This marks the second name change for the credit union, which first opened its doors as Houston Telephone Federal Credit Union. It later changed its name to Communicators FCU in response to major changes occurring in the telephone industry. PrimeWay FCU hired a marketing consultant firm to survey staffers, members, sponsor companies and the local community to check the pulse of where its current image stood. With groups defining the credit union as positive, friendly and progressive a total of about 15 names were generated then whittled down to one. The entire name change process took only four months. “Our greatest challenge was to select something that would carry forward any equity in our old name,” said PrimeWay FCU Marketing Director P.C.M. Shelly Horan. With a new tagline of “Our prime interest is you” a new logo features bold red and blue pyramids to represent being tops in service and a star designed to reinforce the credit union’s image as members’ financial “guiding star.” “We wanted to get the point across to potential members that banking with PrimeWay is doing it the best way possible,” said Horan. “We want them to walk away thinking `I did it prime way!’” To that end the credit union has kicked off a progressive image, eight week marketing blitz of radio and print ads, animated Web banners, billboards, posters and flyers featuring younger professionals. In addition, the credit union has an agreement with local NBC affiliate Channel 2 News. As part of the deal PrimeWay FCU will get not only get on-air television mentions but the station will also reference the credit union’s Web site. “We have better defined our target market and made a concerted effort to bring a more youthful look and feel in,” said Horan. “We know we can’t please everyone so in addition to targeting the Hispanic population as part of our underserved market, we went after the 18-44 year old young professionals who need to borrow money.” PrimeWay FCU made its public debut during the Cinco De Mayo celebration, which typically draws over 100,000 area Hispanics. So far the reaction has been positive from both staffers and members alike. “We don’t expect a flock of people to suddenly join. This brand campaign will be a success for us if by the end of the year we have greater name recognition and people say `Oh I know PrimeWay’” said Horan. -mdigiovanni@cutimes.com