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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – A cooperative credit union advertising campaign being run by credit unions in Nevada the past three years is having some intended and unintended effects on northern Nevada consumers. Results of a public awareness survey conducted for the California Credit Union League last month by Strata Research, a subsidiary of San Diego-based research firm Directions in Research Inc., show not only has the number of northern Nevada consumers who have considered joining a credit union increased again, but bank customers are recalling some key messages in the ads more than credit union members are and positive public perceptions of financial institutions are focusing on credit unions. Of those consumers surveyed, 17% of bank customers said the main point of the ads was that credit unions have low interest rates, up from 10% who said so in 2003. However, the number of credit union members who said this was the main point declined. The percentage of consumers who are not CU members but who said they had considered joining one, increased to 42%, up from 39% in 2003 and from 25% when the survey was first taken in 2000. Most noticeable, 50% of nonmembers surveyed who said they had considered joining a credit union said they “strongly considered” joining a CU, up from 38% in 2003. This year, more bank customers also said the ads were influential in their decision to consider using a credit union in the future – 28% called the ads influential, up from 16% in 2003. The percentage who indicated the advertisements weren’t influential dropped from 46% in 2003 to 32% in 2004. In another key area, survey results showed consumers still associate positive characteristics more closely with credit unions than with banks. The most common message recalled from the television and radio ads was that credit unions are member owned – 29% cited this message. Slightly fewer bank customers recalled this in 2004 (22%) than they did in 2003 (23%). However, bank customers in 2004 recalled more than credit union members that credit unions have low interest rates, solicit new members, and offer a range of products and services. Eight Nevada credit unions are participating in the northern Nevada cooperative CU advertising campaign, including one based in Las Vegas that has branches in northern Nevada: E W #401 CU; Great Basin FCU; Greater Nevada CU; Sierra Pacific FCU; Sierra Schools CU; SP Sparks Employees FCU; Washoe CU; and WestStar CU. The television and radio campaign uses the national credit union brand “Public Education,” “Comfort Zone,” and “Switch” series of ads. The campaign was funded and coordinated by the eight CUs, in partnership with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. -

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