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PITTSBURGH – Western Pennsylvania credit unions would, of course, be thrilled to have a co-op TV ad during the Super Bowl but, as one marketer here put it last week, “we are only now taking baby steps but we do look to those billion dollar West Coast credit unions to be the trendsetters” It’s only been the last six months that Pittsburgh CUs even started a co-op ad venture with a local TV station to promote shared service centers whereas CUs in California and Washington State, for example, have bought shared branching ads for three years or more. “We’re actually meeting next week with one of the network stations to work out the buy for 2006,” said Christianne Gribben, assistant vice president of the $550 million Clearview FCU, of Moon Township. Leading those negotiations on the next six months of Pittsburgh TV ads is staff from Pennsylvania Credit Union Service Centers, a Harrisburg-based CUSO managed by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, said a PCUA spokesman. Meanwhile, like other state league executives, Jim McCormack, president/CEO of PCUA, praised the Super Bowl buy in Washington State as “absolutely fantastic” and a boon to CUs everywhere. In a good-natured wager with his counterpart at the Washington Credit Union League, John Annaloro, on the outcome of the Pittsburgh Steelers/Seattle Seahawks game, McCormack said his league is betting 50 pounds of Hershey chocolate bars on a Steeler win. But in Seattle, Annaloro countered that his league is betting a case of Riesling wine on its beloved Seahawks, underdogs in the NFL championship game. Demeaning chances of a Steeler win as “statistically low,” Annaloro said Washington CUs look forward to enjoying the chocolate, as “we are poised for a sweet victory with the Seahawks.” Following the league bets, the wagering fun quickly spread to CUs in both states in match-ups organized by the Washington League with more than just chocolate and wine being wagered. “We’re betting 20 pounds of Starbucks coffee and a Salmon sampler on our Seahawks,” said Robert Harvey, chairman of the Washington League and president/CEO of the $422 million Seattle Metropolitan CU. Harvey is paired with his CEO chairman counterpart at PCUA, Norbert Kaczmarek of the $220 million Erie FCU. “We’re wagering 20 pounds of Hershey chocolate plus other candies produced in Sharon and some other communities out here,” said Kaczmarek. Specialty bars from Daffins of Sharon, Pulakos, and Romolo’s are on the line, he said. Kaczmarek confessed his Erie staff has been more enthusiastic about the Steeler game and the wagering than he was “since I’m really a Browns fan.” “You’ve got to remember that we’re between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and I’m used to going to Browns games,” said the PCUA chairman. But the PCUA staff in Harrisburg was hardly reticent about forecasting a Steeler victory. Chirped McCormack, “Pennsylvania is proud to be represented in the second consecutive Super Bowl game and this looks to be the year for the Steelers and a Pennsylvania win.” Harvey of Seattle Metropolitan, who asked to be paired with Kaczmarek, said he knows from experience “those Steeler fans down there are diehard.” “I’m from Boston, but I went to college 90 miles from Erie and they take high school and Steeler football pretty seriously,” said Harvey. Meanwhile, the wagering picked up late last week with the Pittsburgh Chapter of PCUA offering a caseload of Heinz ketchup. Other pairings from half a dozen CUs in Washington State included more salmon, chocolate, wine and apple cider. A Steeler loss, it was pointed out, would bring real heartache to McCormack who might have to pay off again on a Super Bowl bet having lost last year on the Philadelphia Eagles. McCormack had to ship boxes of Philadelphia Cheese steaks and Tastee cupcakes to Dan Egan, CEO of the Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Rhode Island League after the New England Patriots won the NFL championship. [email protected]

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