COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sporting a new name, the $356 million AllSouth Federal Credit Union – formerly called Fort Jackson FCU – said its decision to rejoin the South Carolina Credit Union League comes at the right time – when CUs are coming under bank attack. "Many years ago our management and board made the decision to drop out of the League because they could not justify the cost of membership dues," explained William A. Koehler, president/CEO, noting the trade group also seemed to have a bias toward "helping the small credit unions yet the larger credit unions were funding the cost." But now the League with its "networking opportunities" has taken "a very active role in fighting off the attacks by the banking industry," making it imperative that AllSouth rejoin, said Koehler. League officials said the return of AllSouth brings 100% affiliation in the state, "a ranking we're pleased to achieve" particularly considering AllSouth is the sixth largest CU in the state and third largest in Columbia. The League said it joins Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire and Iowa with 100% affiliation. In changing its name March 1, the 92,000-member AllSouth, with its strong ties to the U.S. Army's Basic Training Base here, said the process of making the switch had been in the works for three years. "Roughly a third of our membership are military," noted Audrey Brown, vice president of marketing, maintaining the CU did not seek to disturb the close ties with the base and yet AllSouth still wanted to broaden its membership base. AllSouth has 14 offices in five counties. "We have grown tremendously in the past few years, but our name still left many people with the impression that only military personnel can join our credit union," declared Koehler. While the CU will continue to "honor our roots in the military community, our new name says, `all are welcome'" Koehler concluded. Brown, the marketing exec, said the trademark application for the name and logo of AllSouth is still being processed by federal agencies in Washington. "Anyone who has dealt with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office knows the procedure – it takes a long time," said Ruth Ann Kearley, head of a Fort Worth ad agency which researched the name and has been doing the creative for AllSouth. "To get a clean registration," said Kearley, the application process can take up to 18-24 months, adding, "this is an agency not in a big hurry." Kearley said AllSouth took on the name change in a methodical "and very serious" manner, being "conservative" in trying to pick a name that would underscore the changing mix of the CU market as it tries to reach non-military individuals, associations and South Carolina businesses. The Columbia-based CU, she said, had "looked at the name, Palmetto, the state tree" as well as the state's geography located "between the ocean and mountains" but decided on the AllSouth name as all encompassing. As for the League re-affiliation, "having AllSouth reunited with the League is a hallmark," declared Executive Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Public Relations Stephen Fowler. Having AllSouth resign with League demonstrates a new spirit of industry cooperation, said Fowler. And now, he said, there is no longer "a single exception." -

Continue Reading for Free

Register and gain access to:

  • Breaking credit union news and analysis, on-site and via our newsletters and custom alerts.
  • Weekly Shared Accounts podcast featuring exclusive interviews with industry leaders.
  • Educational webcasts, white papers, and ebooks from industry thought leaders.
  • Critical coverage of the commercial real estate and financial advisory markets on our other ALM sites, and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.