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ORLANDO, Fla. – What better way for a credit union to get the word out that it offers boat loans than to go to where it’s certain to find boat lovers. CFE FCU did just that at the 38th Annual Central Florida Boat Show. The four-day event was held Feb. 10-13 at the Orange County Convention Center. More than 10,000 people attended which was lower than previous years’ attendance due, some speculated, to the still-felt effects of last summer’s hurricane disasters throughout Florida. Despite the lower-than-hoped for attendance, the $890 million CFE FCU is not disappointed it decided to make its inaugural appearance at the boat show. CFE FCU has been offering boat loans for more than 10 years. It currently has 133 boat loans in its portfolio totaling $1.4 million. The credit union works with two indirect boat dealers in Central Florida – Boat Tree and Central Florida Powersports. CFE offers up to 90% financing on boat loans for a maximum 120-month term. CFE FCU Business Development Specialist Ellen Schrob said the more than 108,000 member credit union decided to participate in the boat show to promote their boat loans, increase their boat loan portfolio and the CFE name recognition, and establish relationships with potential indirect boat dealers. Schrob explains that the Orange County Chamber of Commerce regularly publishes a calendar of events for the year, and the 2005 Annual Central Florida Boat Show caught the eye of CFE FCU’s Director of Consumer Lending David Wysokowski who suggested to the CU’s business development people it would be a good idea for the credit union to have a booth at the show. They agreed and set about getting marketing and promotional materials together to promote the CU’s various products and services, as well as the value of credit union membership. Using art work, boat show attendees who stopped by the booth were encouraged to let CFE “Float You a Boat Loan” with great boat loan rates as well as promoting auto loans for vehicles to tow their new boats with. The credit union also held a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to the Bass Pro Shop. Show attendees who stopped by the CFE FCU booth were asked to leave their name and contact information so the credit union could follow up with them. Based on the information collected, Schrob said the CU estimates about 300 people stopped by the booth, and of those 15-20% were credit union members though not necessarily of CFE FCU. Of those who visited the booth who were non-members, Schrob said the majority were eligible to join CFE FCU because its field-of-membership includes anyone with children in the Orange and Osceola public schools and those attending private schools in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. In addition, the credit union serves select underserved areas. Schrob said CFE FCU is still assessing the results and benefits of participating in the boat show and hasn’t yet decided if it will do a repeat performance in 2006. But she said the credit union doesn’t regret its decision to participate in the 2005 event because of the exposure it gained. -

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