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DALLAS – Credit union marketers are often called upon to don many hats to perform their jobs – journalism, sales, training, research, business development – but how many can say they have worn Bob the Builder’s hard hat as has Mark Arnold, Neighborhood Credit Union’s Senior Vice President of Marketing? Dressed in flannel shirt, overalls and tool apron, Arnold sought to convey to his credit union staff their role in “building relationships in your neighborhood.” The credit union uses the phrase as a tagline in marketing to the eight communities where it has branch offices. But it’s more than just a catchy phrase. It is part of an extensive branding campaign in which Arnold trains every employee to understand that how he or she treats members is critical to the credit union’s success. Arnold believes in making marketing fun, but he always has a clear set of goals for every marketing effort. Results is the name of the game, and that’s why Arnold recently was named CUNA’s 2006 Marketing Professional of the Year. The award recognizes significant contributions to the credit union industry through education, marketing and business development, and is the highest level of recognition given by CUNA. The Marketing Professional of the Year is selected based on mastery of and contributions to the following: marketing as a factor in the credit union’s success, marketing as a management function, fostering the credit union movement’s success, and enhancing the community through organizational involvement. In Arnold’s seven-year tenure at Neighborhood Credit Union, he has helped the credit union grow from $125 million in assets to $225 million in assets. He oversaw the name change from Dallas Postal Credit Union to Neighborhood Credit Union and has managed successful product launches, such as home banking, e-statements and bill payment. Arnold has been a driving force behind the development of Neighborhood Credit Union’s minority education program to reach the Hispanic market. Neighborhood recently was recognized as Texas Credit Union League’s first “Juntos Avanzamos” (Together We Advance) credit union for providing outstanding service in Hispanic communities. “Since Mark has joined us, he has been a key leader in the credit union’s success. His insights, observations, recommendations and strategies have been vitally important to us,” said Chet Kimmell, president and CEO of Neighborhood Credit Union. A graduate of University of Texas, Arnold has held positions in the past with the Texas Credit Union League and a Dallas credit union. Arnold is the author of Marketing Across the Generations: Gen X, and several white papers. He is an instructor for Southwest CUNA Management School and has served several years as the chairman of the Texas Credit Union Marketing Council. He speaks nationwide on various credit union topics and has won numerous other communication awards, including Texas Credit Union Marketer of the Year. “This is a credit union award,” said Arnold. “I’m honored to have received it, but it is a reflection of the success of Neighborhood Credit Union as a whole.” The greatest marketing challenge faced by the credit union, according to Arnold, is demographics. “Because we are located in multiple, diverse communities, we can’t dump all our ad dollars in one newspaper. We have to advertise in eight newspapers and get involved in community events in each area.” Under Arnold’s direction, Neighborhood Credit Union will continue its branding, efforts, although they evolve and are refined as the credit union moves forward. “In the last year and a half,” Arnold said, “we introduced a new external campaign that fits within our overall brand – World-Class Service, Neighborhood Convenience. It targets four key groups: 1) postal workers – our original sponsor group; 2) the Hispanic market; 3) the college and youth market – this one’s not easy, but it helps us become a younger membership; and 4) areas surrounding the neighborhoods we serve.” One example of the credit union’s world-class service is their “Ask Jack” program. “A member can call Jack – and he is a real person – and tell him what type of car they’re looking for. Jack does the legwork, locates the car and finds the best price possible,” said Arnold. “The member is not obligated to finance with us, but we hope they will. “How we treat our members is our brand. Our CEO has helped employees focus on the acronym K-N-O-W for: Knowing the members, understanding their Needs, Offering products and services, and Wowing them with great service. We tell employees that one bad experience for a member can destroy years of marketing.” -

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