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When it came to the grand opening of its latest branch in Bellevue, Wash., Group Health Credit Union opted to feed the needs of its new community.“It takes some new tactics to get attention when you’re a financial institution with good news these days,” said Group Health CU Senior Marketing/Communications Specialist Shannon Perry.Over 1,200 cookies were hand delivered by Group Health CU staffers to surrounding communities within a half mile of the new branch the day before and day of the grand opening event. Keeping with the theme of being the latest member of the community, the snicker doodle cookies were ordered from a local bakery.In addition, to generate even more buzz the credit union used a media mix of postcards and social media by Twittering updates about the event at twitter.com/GHCU. Perry said the move is just part of the credit union’s commitment to expanding its members’ financial competency and confidence through free public seminars and newsletters.“The new location-just across from Overlake and Group Health hospitals, surrounded by medical industry of all kinds-is perfect for a credit union with roots in the health care community,” said Perry. “We knew the community outreach effort would be a perfect fit. We Twitter regularly and we were advised that it would provide a great opportunity to generate some buzz and let everyone know about our grand-opening event.”Perry said 1,200 cookies and 200 cups of free espresso later combined with grand-opening-week-only deals helped make the event an “unqualified success.”“Never underestimate the lure of a snicker doodle,” said Group Health CU Marketing Manager Arden Clise. “While the cookies and coffee and special deals might have brought new members in, it’s the great rates, low fees and personal service that’ll keep them with Group Health Credit Union.”Perry added that from the time the branch officially opened at 9:30 until close of business that day, it was busy with constant traffic.The facility, which focuses on convenience while playing up a welcoming environment, is designed to help build lasting relationships. Banishing the traditional teller line, members walk in and are invited to sit side-by-side with member service representatives to conduct business. Perry said the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive with members saying that they feel the layout creates a warm, friendly environment.“Our connection with health care workers dates back to Group Health Credit Union’s very beginnings over 60 years ago. We know how hard these folks work taking care of other people; they don’t have much spare time to take care of their own needs. We’re happy that we’re close by to serve them better,” said Group Health CU CEO John Iglesias.–[email protected]

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