SACRAMENTO (2/10/10)--The Golden 1 CU in Sacramento has taken its mega-bank competitors to task through an ad campaign that targets consumers’ frustration with the big banks and the bailout money they received. The campaign began with radio ads last fall and soon evolved into billboards, according to The Sacramento Bee (Feb. 9). One billboard asks: “Chased by high bank fees?” in reference to JP Morgan Chase and Co. Another says: “Bank in debt to America? Come on over.” The words “bank” and “America” are in blue and red, like Bank of America’s logo. Consumers are fed up with the mega-banks that took bailout money, Teresa Halleck, CEO of The Golden 1 CU, told the newspaper. The ads let consumers know they have another option--a credit union, she said. The billboard campaign was launched as the credit union experienced a 30% increase in checking accounts last summer--which the credit union attributes to consumers’ dissatisfaction with banks, the newspaper added. Overall, Sacramento-area credit unions experienced an increase in business last year, according to the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. Membership in Sacramento County-headquartered credit unions rose by 2.13% to more than 1 million from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30. Deposits also jumped by 9% to $9.98 billion during the same time period, the newspaper said. Henry Kertman, league public relations director, told the Bee that the growth was probably because consumers are more frugal and because they are frustrated with big banks. The Golden 1 CU has $7 billion in assets.