SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – SESLOC Federal Credit Union says connecting with young adults can be just a DVD away. Challenged with providing young adults with some solid financial education basics, the $340 million credit union has produced a Money to the Max! DVD. “Despite our Cal Poly University campus branch and having on-campus ads, spots on the campus radio station and a variety of other things like being there during activities like `welcome week’ we realized we still weren’t reaching this group,” said SESLOC FCU Marketing Director Carla Swift. “I’d also kept hearing comments from students on campus about how their whole paycheck went to overdraft fees or how credit cards got them into a real mess and we knew we needed to do something to help them that was dramatically better than what we were already doing and would really speak to them.” Swift says opportunity knocked when longtime member and former Cal Poly University graduate David Thayer contacted her about wanting to do something to promote credit unions. Originally Swift thought about having Thayer’s company Aspect Media revamp one of her educational PowerPoint presentations onto a disk. “As I was talking to him about what we wanted to accomplish he started saying that this was an opportunity to do a DVD,” said Swift. “It clicked from there because the medium of a DVD is so much more popular with this group.” The DVD asks students “What’s your money strategy when things get tight?” and then provides strategies to maximize a student’s financial resources. It features interviews with college students and offers tips on topics like borrowing, credit reports and credit union benefits in a format that involves the audience and tells the story of credit unions and the credit union philosophy. Swift says it is designed to grab the attention of high school seniors and college students who can simply pop the disk into their computers to learn some basic financial skills. The DVD also invites student members to visit SESLOC and links them to additional resources available on the credit union’s Web site. As a part time Speech Communications teacher at a local community college, Swift tapped some of her students to serve as focus groups and says their feedback proved invaluable. “Not only did they like the idea of a DVD because it was something they could do in their own time but they also suggested that we not just hand them out because they are bombarded with so many giveaways and advertisements they pretty much throw most of them away,” said Swift. “They also suggested that we emphasize how credit reports can impact their being hired for a job. So we got interesting feedback that we are still in the process of developing.” So far 1,000 DVDs have been produced and Swift says they can be easily updated and customized for other credit unions. As far as the marketing push, SESLOC FCU will focus more on generating interest in the DVD and building awareness. In addition, the credit union will have its student representatives serving as orientation tour guides for new students and staffers will be available to speak at a few campus club meetings. “Our focus groups revealed that the message would have more of an impact if it was something the students came into the credit union to ask for themselves,” said Swift. “The idea is to build more solid relationships with the 15,000 or more students that are here during the school year.” While a few copies were released prior to summer break, plans are underway for a major push in the fall using an on campus public awareness campaign developed as part of a PR class student project. “The students had some wonderful ideas and the preliminary feedback has been very good so we’re excited about the big kickoff in September,” said Swift. [email protected]

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