SEATTLE (10/6/09)--Group Health CU, Seattle, encouraged members to be more environmentally savvy with a promotion that will literally bear fruit for the community. The credit union launched a Neighborhood Harvest promotion last month that involved placing a fruit tree at each Group Health branch. The credit union branches cared for the trees until the trees were taken to their permanent home--the Dakota Orchard and P-Patch in Rainier Valley. The fruit from the trees will be shared with the community, and the overflow will be donated to local shelters and food banks. The credit union used the fruit trees and Neighborhood Harvest promotion to encourage members to sign up for the credit union’s paperless services--including e-statements and online bill pay. Members also could opt to receive the e-mail version of Gear Up, the credit union’s newsletter. The credit union got the idea for the promotion with connections it received through social networking site Twitter. Shannon Perry, Group Health CU assistant marketing manager, posted a tweet on Twitter asking for some ideas to help the promotion. Perry connected with an executive from the Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska, which eventually led to Perry talking with a Seattle arborist (Seattle Times Oct. 4). The experts led Perry to a local tree nursery--Raintree Nursery--where she was given several recommendations for fruit trees that would do well in the Seattle area. The credit union then used the trees as a part of the Neighborhood Harvest promotion. Group Health embraces environmentalism as a corporate strategy, the Times said. In addition to the Harvest promotion, the credit union offers discounts on loan interest rates for hybrid vehicles, the newspaper added. Group Health CU has $285 million in assets.