DES MOINES, Iowa – The Members Group looks different these daysand its leaders hope everyone notices. The Members Group is owned50/50 between the Iowa CU League and Iowa Corporate Central CU. Itsleaders describe it as one of the best-kept secrets in theindustry, which they're hoping to change. “We've been in business,providing financial services since the mid-`80s. We expanded ourmarket and decided to go national in the mid-`90s but never reallycreated an identity,” said Tom Kuehl, president CEO of IowaCorporate Central CU as well as The Members Group. The CEO of theIowa League, Tom Griffiths, serves as EVP of The Members Group. Itrecently launched a new branding image featuring a new logo withthe tagline “Unwavering passion. Endless dedication.” “We've had avery plain logo and no consistent marketing approach. We're tryingto create an identity people can recognize. Most people have notheard of us. We've seen that as we've expanded into new markets,”said Kuehl, who noted it is planning to launch national advertisingcampaigns in credit union publications. The Members Group has 150credit union clients spread over 16 states. Together those CUclients represent 1.6 million members. It's also a money-maker – itbrought in $25 million in revenue last year. The Members Group'sprimary products are in the card arena. It offers ATM, debit,credit card processing and gift card services. It provides itsclients with customized products that utilize First Data Resources.“We're like a PSCU and TNB. They're all doing the same things we'redoing,” said Kuehl. “I think our edge is we customize all ourproducts. We take a complex product like FDR's services andcustomize them to meet the needs of the credit union. We don'toffer a canned package.” Kuehl said The Members Group has been onthe leading edge in the card arena as one of the first credit uniongroups to offer a complete gift card solution and a true onlinesignature-based debit authorization. It recently rolled out apaperless e-statement as part of its online creditcard information solution. Members Group CIO Jeff Russell saidpaper statements can cost between $.50 and $.55 per cardholder,while the e-statements cost a fraction of that. “We are seeingother industries offering incentives to their customers to move toan e-statement or even going as far to charge to produce a paperstatement, so consumers are getting used to not receiving themonthly statement in the mail,” said Russell. waslaunched in 2001 to give credit union members real-time credit cardinformation. It features online card activation, e-alerts andsingle sign-on, allowing users to get to their card information viaa single sign-on from Internet banking. [email protected]

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