NEW YORK (3/24/11)--Credit unions nationwide are doing more advertising to accentuate the positive advantages they provide members compared to banks, and many are even employing celebrity spokespersons, according to a Tuesday article in The New York Times about how several industries are using celebrity pitchmen. “Credit unions historically have been low-key with advertising, but in the past couple of years they have become more aggressive, occasionally addressing the distaste many consumers have shown for big banks whose lending practices contributed to the economic downturn,” the article said. The Times highlighted efforts by Municipal CU, a $1.54 billion-asset credit union based in New York City, who recently hired as spokesman John Franco, a retired relief pitcher for the New York Mets, who noted that his father, who worked for the city, was a member there. Before last year, the 96-year-old credit union had never advertised on television, but decided to elevate its profile without being negative toward competitors, Steve Kibitel, Municipal vice president of marketing, told the newspaper. “We’re not into the attack mode,” Kibitel added. “We’re comfortable within our own skin promoting who we are--the banks are the banks, this is who we are, check us out.” The article also mentioned America’s First CU in Birmingham, Ala.; Financial CU in Jacksonville, Fla.; Public Service CU in Romulus, Mich., and BECU in Tukwila, Wash, which used musician Kenny G. in a commercial promoting its new debit card with the University of Washington logo. To read the article, use the link.