FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Piggybacking its success on shared branching, the Washington Credit Union League is moving ahead this month with using a $500,000 ad kitty for a new campaign pitching advocacy and membership as well as shared branching. The League characterized its voluntary ad and branding campaign as a “significant industry milestone” because of the size of CU contributions and its revised message of pushing membership. Credit union execs and some regulators led by NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson have recently called attention to flat membership numbers as an industry concern. The League said it also recognized that it needs to step up membership and intended to use the state’s shared branch record as number one in the U.S. as fastest growing in transaction increases as a springboard for the new ad blitz. The League said it has hired a Seattle ad agency, Ed Steenman & Associates, to start producing the new series of membership and branding ads to start running this summer on Seattle ABC and NBC stations with spots slated to run during next January’s Super Bowl XL and during a Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. That event would “highlight community involvement and educate viewers on the credit union difference,” said the League. And the League stressed that “this is the first year that Washington’s credit unions will cooperatively advertise” such a CU difference message. “Our significant expansion of this campaign is targeted to produce the same results for membership that we’ve experienced with shared branching,” said Gary Oakland, president/CEO of BECU of Seattle. “This is far more than a feel-good campaign. Our goal is new members.” The coop ad contributions totaling $512,000 have come in from 19 Washington CUs, said the league, and it cited “leadership spearheaded by Washington State Employees CU of Olympia, which has long been a leader on shared branching. Reaching the $512,000 milestone “allows us to continue our promotion of shared branching. It also expands our campaign to include the credit union difference and how to join a credit union,” said League President and CEO, John Annaloro. “This accomplishment is a testament to the enormous success of the first-round of advertising and the outstanding spirit of cooperation by our credit unions.” A League release noted that “additional plans for this year include having a separate regional campaign for eastern Washington credit unions to run in the Spokane media market.” Steve Dahlstrom, CEO of Spokane Teachers CU, said CUs in eastern Washington “were impressed with the results our colleagues got on the other side of the mountains and so it made sense for us to form our own regional cooperative campaign group that piggybacks on the success of the first round.” In addition to CUs that will form the regional campaign in the Spokane area, the cooperative group in the central Puget Sound region “also has attracted new participation including Sound Credit Union and School Employees Credit Union of Washington,” the League said. [email protected]

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