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I read with great interest and agreement Paul Gentile’s Jan. 4 column about the need for a strong branding campaign. When I started in the business in 1976, it was obvious that this industry needed a national marketing/branding program to educate the American public about credit unions, who we are and what we do. Thirty years later most people still don’t know what a credit union is and we still need a national program. It appears that some state-sponsored campaigns are working and a nationwide program is overdue. We should have started one when bottom lines were healthier, but if we don’t start one soon they may never rebound. It is also obvious that a dues increase will be necessary to build the funding to launch a national campaign, and if allocated proportionate to size, the larger credit unions will do the heavy lifting. Then, if in fact the larger credit unions benefit the most from the campaign, the program’s expenses and benefits are distributed equitably. However, I believe that small credit unions will also benefit a great deal from a national campaign. How else could they afford to do media marketing? Most can’t afford to do local media marketing and to be involved in a campaign to educate consumers about what they are all about. There are several cooperative marketing/branding campaigns in the national media. Before starting our own, research should be done to determine the best of class so we can produce a successful program. It needs to be professionally done and be an honest reflection of credit unions’ values and purpose. And as you stated, a campaign should also clarify who we are in the eyes of Congress as they sift through the negative propaganda from bankers. We have a logo and a slogan, now it is time to tell America what it means. Dave Osborn CEO Anheuser-Busch ECU St. Louis

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