Publisher Mike Welch’s Jan. 26 column on credit union public relations, “Despite Growing Need, PR Expertise in Short Supply”, struck a chord in me with regard to effectiveness and focus of PR efforts on behalf of the movement. While there is always room for improvement, I submit that there is indeed a vigorous outreach program being conducted on a regular basis, although readers of Credit Union Times nationwide may not see that outreach in their specific community each day. First, each of the state leagues maintains a public relations program aimed at reaching out to local media to explain and expand upon the credit union difference, its impact on consumers, and the absolute value credit unions have to offer. Programs in states such as California, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are just a few examples of successful efforts to reach out and tell the credit union story. Second, CUNA’s Madison operation helps credit unions tell the story themselves to their members, potential members and communities. Our publications and programs in consumer and financial education take a back seat to no one in the movement when it comes to providing a first-class resource in telling the “good news” about credit unions. Third, our Washington operation not only reaches out to the trade press (keeping it apprised of CUNA’s activities on behalf of credit unions), but to the vital Capitol Hill press – those media outlets that are watched and read by members of Congress and their staffs. Finally, CUNA actually makes news to display how credit unions are serving their communities, offering their members the best deal possible, and delivering a clear message to Capitol Hill. Among the newsmakers: our annual consumer survey on holiday spending (in conjunction with the Consumer Federation of America), the Governmental Affairs Conference, sponsorship of events such as the recently-held Hula Bowl and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run, and development of special events such as last year’s National Hike the Hill. By developing news, CUNA shows how credit unions provide low-cost financing, support their communities, have a voice in Washington, and are committed to taking part in the political process. Sure, there is room for improvement. On the other hand, credit unions expect CUNA to help tell their story, and CUNA is finding ways, wherever possible, to do just that. Dan Mica President/CEO CUNA Washington, D.C.

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