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COLUMBIA, Md. – The Maryland and D.C. Credit Union Association is getting ready to launch its 2006 cooperative advertising campaign, which takes its 2005 campaign “Get the Difference” a step further by telling credit unions to also “Be the Difference” for their members. As it did in last year’s campaign, the 2006 initiative is designed to raise the visibility of credit unions and emphasize what differentiates them from other financial institutions. In 2005 the Delaware Credit Union League also ran the “Get the Difference” campaign, and this year marks the first time credit unions throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia and Delaware will unite the same theme. Paul Rosenberger, chief operating officer for the Maryland/D.C. Credit Union Association’s Credit Union Services Inc. (CUSI) and one of eight members of the association’s cooperative advertising council – the other seven members are marketing directors with Maryland and D.C. credit unions – developed a brochure for the campaign. The brochure includes a letter from MDDCCUA President Mike Beall and Chairman Rick Stoll that states that, “This year will be a critical one for credit unions across the country. While federal and state representatives continue to show their support of the CU movement, recent assaults on our tax-exempt status indicate that credit unions remain under attack from the banking industry and other special interest groups.” It asks credit unions to invest in the cooperative campaign on several levels – it suggests CUs consider a fair share contribution of $20 per $1 million in assets. Vendors and business partners are also asked to make a $500 contribution to the cooperative ad campaign. In 2005, about $120,000 was raised through letters and electronic newsletters and solicitations that the Maryland league sent out. The 2006 campaign brochures were scheduled to be mailed to credit unions last week. Included with the brochure is a CD that provides credit unions with “Get the Difference” art and articles they can print on their own. Credit unions also have the opportunity to purchase inserts and other materials. In addition, the CD contains links to congressional and local legislators, with sample language that CUs can use when writing to their elected officials urging their support of credit unions. As part of the cooperative ad campaign, the council has designed a commercial that will be broadcast on radio stations throughout Maryland and D.C. Rosenberger said the commercial – there’s a 15-second drive-time version and a 60-second version – will begin airing the first quarter of 2006 and run throughout the year. Lastly, the MDDCCUA plans to develop a newspaper tabloid during the year which it will distribute to credit unions for them to determine how to best get it into the hands of their members and communities they serve. The tabloid will feature stories on various credit union financial literacy activities and how credit unions work with members to improve their financial lifestyle. Rosenberger said MDDCCUA wants both affiliated and non-affiliated credit unions to take ownership of the tabloid and determine how to best distribute it. “Having watched first hand the House Ways and Means Committee hearing last fall on credit unions, we want to help demonstrate that credit unions are making and being the difference in the lives of their members,” said MDDCCUA President/CEO Mike Beall. -

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