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California consumers burned by their banks can head on over to The Golden 1 Credit Union.The Sacramento, Calif.-based credit union has launched a bold and edgy campaign that plays on consumers’ discontent with their banks over issues ranging from higher credit card fees or interest rates to TARP accepting big banks that still aren’t lending.“We saw this marketplace climate as an opportunity to highlight the credit union difference and encourage consumers to switch to Golden 1,” said The Golden 1 CEO Terry Halleck. “Our goal is to raise awareness of Golden 1 as a great alternative to the mega-banks that have contributed to the economic turmoil or are not treating their account holders as valued and respected clients.”She added that the notion of strong credit unions as safe havens has been growing in California as banks are seized by regulators.The campaign started this summer with newspaper and radio ads and recently expanded to outdoor ads this fall. Developed completely in-house by The Golden 1 CU Senior Vice President Marketing Scott Ingram and his team, the campaign has created a buzz in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley areas.“There typically exists approximately a 15% movement of checking accounts each year when consumers geographically relocate or become frustrated with their financial institution’s practices,” said Halleck. During the summer we saw 30% to 40% growth in the normal number of checking accounts opened each month, and this growth has continued into the fall with a 15% higher growth rate.”She added that so far the message has been well-received and consumers have been supportive of the approach, which in one spot bluntly states, “Tell your bank no thanks. If your bank isn’t helping you, why should you help them?”“In these tough economic times, it is important to have your message stand out and an edgy campaign is one way to achieve that impact,” said Halleck.–[email protected]

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