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News Now

CU System
Traveling billboards a bonus for 17 CU employees
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. (9/11/08)--United Community FCU, West Mifflin, Pa., is going the extra mile to market itself to potential members.
Click to view larger imageUnited Community FCU, West Mifflin, Pa., recently gave each of its 17 employees 2009 Chevrolet HHRs to drive for three years. The cars will market the credit union. From left are: Joyce Anderson, United Community executive vice president, and Michael Pastirik, CEO. (Photo provided by United Community CU)
On Thursday, the credit union handed over keys to new Chevrolet HHRs branded with the United Community FCU logo to all 17 of its employees. The cars will be driven by the employees for three years to market the credit union. “The employees couldn’t believe it,” Michael Pastirik, United Community FCU CEO, told News Now. “They’re as excited as we are.” The goal of the program is two-fold--to attract new accounts and loans, he said. On the back of each car is a number that cell phone users can text and receive the credit union’s phone number and address. United Community will place the numbers in a database and market to those who texted the credit union, Pastirik said. “We’ve had 13 messages since Thursday,” he added. Sixteen of the cars are white, and one is silver. Pastirik said the credit union made sure the logo design looked sharp, so employees wouldn’t feel like they were driving a “clown car.” The credit union is covering the costs for each car--employees are only responsible for gas. As an added incentive, employees will receive cash bonuses if they talk to potential members who end up coming in to sign up for membership. The cars were financed with half of United Community FCU’s marketing budget. The credit union had primarily advertised through direct mail and print ads. “We’ll still do some ads and mail, but about half as much,” Pastirik said. The credit union’s board was “100% behind us,” he said. He emphasized that financing the cars will not affect members’ dividends. Pastirik has been told by some in the industry that the money to buy the cars should be given back to members, but “if we don’t attract new people, we won’t be here,” he said. “We need to have people know who we are.” United Community FCU’s 29-year-old chief financial officer came up with the idea to use the cars for marketing. “He came up with a great idea to attract young people,” Pastirik said. A woman from Pittsburgh recently contacted United Community saying that she’d heard about the marketing program and was so impressed that she was planning to switch her account to the credit union from another institution. “She said, ‘I want to deal with someone who treats their employees so well,’” Pastirik said. “It was refreshing.”


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