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ONTARIO, Calif. – Consumers in over 100 different radio markets will have a chance to hear a lot about credit unions over the course of the next few months as CO-OP Network and CUs in their area sponsor a popular nationwide radio program. “Handel on the Law” is a weekend program hosted by radio personality Bill Handel and syndicated on over 100 powerful radio stations nationwide each weekend. On the show Handel, who is a lawyer, dispenses what he describes as “marginal legal advice for free” and generally offers help and opinions on a wide variety topics. His is an opinionated, brash, and direct voice which, thanks to a roughly $200,000 media buy from the CO-OP Network, the nation’s largest credit union owned, surcharge-free ATM and EFT network, will carry a pro-credit union message from now until at least the spring of 2007. “You know I love credit unions,” Handel starts out his spot for CO-OP Network. “There is no conflict. The customer and the shareholder are the same person, me! And credit unions actually like to cooperate with each other. Banks can’t wait to tell you why the other bank stinks.” And he ends it with “Open a checking account in a credit union, it makes so much more sense than in a bank! That’s CO-OP Network.org.” “Bill is definitely very big on credit unions,” said Kristin Witzenberg, CEO of Market and Sales Logic, the credit union marketing agency that facilitated the sale. Witzenberg explained that the firm decided to move forward with the buy after Handel joined the $357 million, Los Angeles area-based, Southland CU. Handel liked it so much that he began talking about his experiences at the CU on his top-rated syndicated drive time program in the Los Angeles area, a move which quickly brought the credit union $12 million in core deposits in just a few months. “I think he connects with his listeners in a very real and direct way,” Witzenberg said. “His listener base is very loyal and open to hearing advice and his opinion on different topics. Plus, when he speaks about credit unions his voice is so sincere. He really believes in them.” Witzenberg said Handel had bad experiences at banks in the past and really doesn’t like them very much. In addition, until recently, he didn’t use ATMs and wouldn’t let his wife use ATMs because, years ago, a close friend had been killed during an ATM robbery. “It was his credit union showing him their security procedures and telling him about CO-OP Network that helped get him to trust ATMs again,” she explained. “Now he uses ATMs and was very impressed that when traveling in Europe he was able to use his credit union ATM.” Also, because of the large advertising buy in the show, Market and Sales Logic was able to reserve space in the local markets for those area credit unions to also sponsor the show with messages more closely tailored to their own markets. “A credit union is the most convenient place for a checking account,” Handel begins the spot for the $737 million Altura Credit Union. “You might be under the misconception that those big McBanks are more convenient because they have more ATMs or branches. Not true. You know, credit union members have access to more branches and more ATMs than any one of those McBanks, even the biggest one.” While Altura has not yet formally calculated the spot’s impact, the CU has started to see new members who have come in because they heard about the CU on Handel’s show. The low price that the CO-OP Network buy was also able to dictate has also helped CUs decide in favor of the spots. “We are excited for the opportunity to have our credit union endorsed by such a well-known and respected radio personality,” said Donna Michalka, vice president of marketing for Altura Credit Union. “This year, our biggest focus is on member growth and increasing core deposits. We know this program will drive those initiatives. And with CO-OP Network’s support, how can we beat the price?” -

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