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Four CUs Have New Monikers
MADISON, Wis. (4/24/13)--Four credit unions--in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Oregon and Louisiana--are sporting new names, the result of rebranding efforts to attract a wider range of members.

Widget FCU, or Widget Financial, based in Erie, Pa. is Erie General Electric FCU's new name.. Originally created 77 years ago to serve employees at Erie's General Electric Transportation plant, the $260 million asset credit union now offers financial services to those living in Erie and Crawford counties.

On Jan. 13, the GE Corporate Office informed EGEFCU  it must stop using the GE mark and eliminate General Electric from its name. Several credit unions bearing the GE name received similar letters across the U.S.

"We actually began the process to change our name about two years ago, so receiving this letter from GE was no surprise and only reinforced our name change announcement in 2013," said Gail Cook, president/CEO of Widget Financial. The new name is a tribute to GE Transportation (widGET) and  the region, which produces widgets.  The name also is familiar in service industries including technology, manufacturing, education and health care.

Nymeo FCU, Fredrick, Md., is the new moniker for the former COMSTAR FCU. Nymeo is "a new way to look at money," says the $234 million asset credit union, which was founded in 1933 by a small group of Bureau of Standards employees as the Standards CU.  It changed its name in 1989 to COMSTAR to reflect growing membership in the Combined Science, Technology and Research areas and merged with Monocacy FCU in 2002.  "As we move forward, we believe our new identity as Nymeo will allows us to change the way we do business and ensure  not only that we'll be here in the next 80 years--but that we will be a strong and viable institution," said its site.

Northwest Resources FCU, Portland, Ore., will change its name to Trailhead CU, with the tag line "Small Enough to Know Better,"  effective June 3. As one of nine credit unions in Oregon with "Northwest" in its name, the $92 million asset Trailhead wanted to better distinguish itself in the marketplace. "We pride ourselves in opening new paths and financial opportunities for our members," said Northwest Resources President/CEO Jim McCarthy. "Both the new name and brand reflect this philosophy as well as the Northwest region and Portland's treasured urban and natural trails."

Shell New Orleans FCU, in New Orleans, is now Xplore FCU. The $112.2 million asset credit union hopes the new name will attract a wider base of members. It has had a community charter since 2007, but many still believe the credit union serves only Shell employees. The new brand is a nod to its roots serving workers in the oil and gas exploration and production industry while better positioning it to grow and diversify, it said  (New Orleans CityBusiness April 9).


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