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2011 Diamond award winners honored at CUNA council conference

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MADISON, Wis. (3/25/11)--Linn Area CU in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was named “Competition’s Best”--the highest “Best of Show” award in the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council’s Diamond Awards competition. The winners were acknowledged during the council’s 18th annual conference, March 16-19 in Las Vegas. Entered in the Television Series category, the $244.2 million-asset credit union aimed to increase the number of new accounts through testimonials of real members in a series of television commercials. By exuding their approachable, feels-like-family branding image, the credit union was able to exceed their goal of new members by 104%. This year’s awards competition received nearly 1,000 entries. Judges awarded four entries as Best of Show, along with 146 Diamond Awards and 237 Awards of Merit. Other Best of Show honorees included:
* Best Association Entry: California and Nevada Credit Union League in Ontario, Calif., for its Annual Meeting & Convention campaign, “Reimagine.” The theme captured the need for innovative thinking on the part of credit unions as they dealt with a changing industry and a down economy. The differing modes of member communication, including print pieces, e-mails, videos and a website, led to an increase of more than 100 attendees over the previous year. * Best Use of Art: Texas Trust CU in Mansfield, Texas, for its “Spirit Card Contest” entry in the Plastic Access Card Design category. By allowing students to submit a design for a Debit MasterCard, the “Spirit Card Contest” was a way to develop relationships with local school districts and businesses and a way to get students actively involved in the credit union. *Best Use of Humor: Central Credit Union of Illinois in Bellwood, Ill., for its “2010 Fall Vehicle Event” campaign. Using multiple mediums, the campaign emphasized a sense of urgency to act on the vehicle loan promotion with their use of a turkey living on borrowed time before the Thanksgiving holiday. The campaign brought in more than $1.9 million in vehicle loans, which was 195% over its marketing goal.
Diamond Awards feature 33 categories, ranging from direct mail and website marketing, to public relations and social media. Judges evaluated entries based on strategy, design and production, creative concept, copy and communication, and results. To see a complete list of award winners, use the link.

Natl experts on innovation headline CUNAs Americas CU Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (3/25/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will host its 2011 America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo June 19-22 in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s conference, Big Time: Big Ideas & Big Opportunities, features powerful speakers, interactive sessions and energizing networking opportunities, CUNA said. The conference’s unique learning environment brings credit union decision-makers together to hear and share success-driving ideas and leadership trends. “Growth, managing change, and operating at peak performance are all top-of-mind concerns for credit unions today,” noted CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. “Our keynoters at this year’s America’s Credit Union Conference will take on these issues directly. Credit unions are sure to benefit from the wealth of ideas and expertise they’ll offer at a conference that has become known for its innovative and thought-provoking programming.” Keynote speakers are:
* Dan Pink--“Drive: What the Science of Motivation Can Teach You About High Performance.” As the best-selling author of A Whole New Mind, Pink uses behavioral research to reveal why the traditional approach to high performance backfires on most organizations. He explains how smart organizations can tap people’s deepest motivations to produce the highest results. * Dan Heath--“Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.” Successfully leading people and organizations through change is a must-have skill for credit union leaders. An entrepreneur and change leader, Heath has worked with organizations such as Harvard Business School, Microsoft, Philips, Vanguard, Fast Company magazine, USAID, the American Heart Association and Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. * Alison Levine--“Beyond Boundaries.” Levine has survived sub-zero temperatures, hurricane-force winds, sudden avalanches and a career on Wall Street. Drawing parallels between staying alive in the mountains and thriving in the fast-paced business world, she will spark new thinking about leadership, teamwork, overcoming odds, taking responsible risks and dealing with changing environments. * Doug Hall--“Innovative Engineering: How to Innovate & Grow Your Credit Union.” Hall, a marketing inventor and the founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch, brings his “invention and research think tank” to credit union leaders. He’ll jump ideas with techniques used by American Express, Ford, Nike, Disney and many others to make Measurably Smarter growth choices. * Eric Saperston--“The Journey: Lessons from America’s Most Influential Leaders.” Challenged by a mentor to make a post-college trip to follow the Grateful Dead and work a ski season in Aspen more meaningful, Saperston convinced a group of friends to ask some of the world’s most powerful people out for a cup of coffee. In their search for inspiration and wisdom, they talked with more than 200 famous and not so famous people. Attendees will hear these stories and Saperston’s search for the meaning of life.
For more information on CUNA’s 2011 America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo, use the link.

IAmerican BankerI Can banks learn from CU Gen Y campaign

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MADISON, Wis. (3/25/11)--In an article headlined, “Does Credit Unions’ Gen Y Campaign Have Lessons for Banks”, American Bankerrecognizes how credit unions are using the Web to create local local online communities and capture the attention of young consumers. Young & Free, a campaign launched in 2007 by Canadian marketing firm Currency Marketing is a blend of social media and product promotion built around Gen Y spokespeople, or “spokesters,” who create buzz through word-of-mouth promotion. The concept is built around a contest to determine who will become the credit union’s spokesperson. Applicants create buzz for themselves--and drive traffic to the credit union’s Web page--through their meet ups, Facebook pages, YouTube videos, and tweets. The spokester is chosen through an online vote, and receives an annual salary from the credit union, plus a car to attend community events, and all the technology needed to keep in touch with the credit union’s Gen Y members. The spokester blogs, posts videos, maintains the credit union’s Young & Free web site and interacts with young members though social media. The American Banker article, which appeared March 24, wonders if banks could benefit from using the Web to build their local customer bases. Observers quoted in the article say, “Yes, but …” Ron Strothkamp, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass., said banks would have to do some “soul searching” to engage in this type of marketing. Count Tim McAlpine in the “Yes, but …” category as well. McAlpine is the president and creative director of Currency Marketing, Chilliwack, Canada. He told News Now that Young & Free is not available to for-profit financial institutions. But concedes the concept could “potentially work” at a bank. But McAlpine further explained that almost none of the Young & Free spokesters were familiar with the credit union cooperative concept when they entered the contests. “When they realized what credit unions were all about, that they were these very cool banking institutions, they knew it was something they could get behind,” McAlpine said. “They are deeply into this. They are credit union members for life.” McAlpine believes that type of passion would be hard for a big bank to create--and to make believable for consumers--but he thinks a progressive community bank, such as Umqua Bank, Roseberg, Ore., or a niche player, such as IMG, could make a play for it. Young & Free indeed appears to fit within the “service first” credit union philosophy. The concept has caught on with credit unions in seven states--only one credit union in each state can participate--and two Canadian provinces. Credit unions have traditionally had difficulty attracting Gen Y consumers. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, only 11% of Gen Yers has a primary relationship with a credit union, versus 15% for all other age groups. One of the reasons for that might be that Gen Y’s financial needs aren’t necessarily found on a traditional products and services menu. “Of course, everyone needs a checking account, but a lot of young people need help with budgeting,” Jessica Emert, marketing director ORNL FCU, Oak Ridge, Tenn., told News Now. ORNL FCU is a Young & Free participant. “That’s not a product we traditionally offer, but it’s a service we can definitely help them with.” Emert said her credit union’s Young & Free spokesperson, Alex Oliver is “fantastic.” She admits marketing to Gen Y can be resource intensive, but she’s hopeful Young & Free has helped her credit union build long-term relationships. “We will be there when it’s time for them to get car loans, start saving and get mortgage loans,” Emert said. “You have to take the time to connect with people first.”

Iowa CUs ask state legislature to allow prize-linked savings

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DES MOINES, Iowa (3/25/11)--Iowa credit unions have put forth a proposal in the state legislature to allow credit unions and banks to offer saving accounts linked to prize drawings. Despite opposition from the Iowa Bankers Association, the legislation--Senate File 490--passed the Iowa Senate Tuesday by a 30 to 20 vote and moves to the Iowa state House for approval (The Des Moines Register March 21). Consumers’ need to find innovative ways to save has never been more pressing, Patrick S. Jury, president of the Iowa Credit Union League, said in a statement, the paper reported. Credit unions need to change their traditional ways of thinking to change consumer behavior, he added. The state bankers have criticized the effort to increase consumer savings by saying they don’t think the possibility of winning a prize should be the basis for encouraging consumers to make decisions about how they are going to save, an Iowa Bankers Association spokesperson, told the newspaper. Iowa credit unions want to start their program based on a similar one in Michigan in which members who open a “Save to Win” account have their name enter into a drawing for monthly cash prizes between $100 and $1,000. Then, once a year, a drawing is held for a $100,000 grand prize. Participants in the program are allowed to withdraw from the account once a year--but two withdrawals disqualifies them from being in the raffle, Justin Hupfer, league vice president of government affairs, told the paper. Prize money generally comes from credit unions’ operating budgets, Hupfer added. To read, the article, use the link.

Maine CUs Campaign for Ending Hunger presents 21K check

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PORTLAND, Maine (3/25/11)--Maine’s Credit Unions recently made its largest, one-time donation ever, a gift of $21,000 made through the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger to the Good Shepherd Food-Bank .
Click to view larger image The Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger presented a check for $21,000 in memory of Good Shepherd Food Bank Founder JoAnn Pike on the seventh anniversary of her death. The funds will benefit food pantries in every Maine county. Holding the check are, from left, Luke Labbe, president/CEO of PeoplesChoice CU, Saco, Maine, and chair of the Maine CU League’s Social Responsibility Committee; Rick Small, executive director of Good Shepherd Food Bank; and Jon Paradise, governmental and public affairs manager for the Maine Credit Union League. (Photo provided by Maine Credit Union League)
The donation was made in memory of JoAnn Pike, the founder of the Good Shepherd Food Bank. Pike began the Good Shepherd 30 years ago and served as its executive director until February 2004. She passed away March 17, 2004. Two days later, Maine credit unions were the first to make a significant contribution in her memory. Every year since, Maine’s credit unions have made a donation to mark the anniversary of her death and to remember the long-time hunger pioneer. Maine’s credit unions also made a surprise contribution of $1,000 to help Good Shepherd defray the significant rise in fuel costs associated with deliveries made by the Food Mobile. Good Shepherd Food Bank serves 95% of the food pantries in Maine. Maine’s Credit Unions recently announced that in 2010 a record of $402,740 was raised, an increase of nearly $27,000 from the previous high, set in 2009. Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised $3.9 million.

CU System Briefs (03/24/2011)

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* HARRISBURG, Pa. (3/25/11)--This year marks the 10th anniversary that the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association has participated in Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway program. As one of its community service projects, the association sponsors the highway cleanup for the interchange at Rt. 22-322 and Rt. 39 (Linglestown Road). Four times each year, a crew of employee volunteers and family members pick up litter along the entrance/exit ramps. The program is coordinated by Sandy Shenk, Pennsylvania Credit Union Service Centers state coordinator. A new sign was recently posted along the highway acknowledging the association’s ten-year commitment to the program … * MADISON, Wis. (3/25/11)--Mary Finnegan-Ongaro, a financial advisor at Members Cooperative CU, Cloquet, Minn., registered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., has received the 2010 Women of Distinction award. The award is in recognition of Finnegan-Ongaro’s superior performance, value and overall contribution to the financial services industry. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. names the top female financial advisors throughout the nation as Women of Distinction. Candidates are nominated by industry peers, and selections are based on the nominee’s annual sales performance and outlined contribution to their clientele, the credit unions they service and the financial services industry as a whole …

Connecticut league announces election results

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MERIDEN, Conn. (3/25/11)--The Credit Union League of Connecticut Board of Directors Governance Committee announces the results of the 2011-2012 election of chapter and at-large directors under the newly restructured director election system. Chapter directors elected include:
* Bridgeport Chapter--Carl Skudlarek, manager/CEO, Bridgeport City EFCU, Bridgeport; * Eastern Chapter --John Dolan, chief lending officer, Charter Oak FCU, Groton; * Hartford Chapter--Joanne Todd, president/CEO, Northeast Family FCU, Manchester; * Moran/Nixon Chapter--Keith Wiemert, president/CEO, Seasons FCU, Middletown; * New Haven Chapter--James N. Farrell, CEO, New Haven County CU, New Haven; and * Stamford Chapter--Kathy L. Chartier, CEO, Members CU, Stamford.
At-large directors elected include:
* John E. Keet, Jr. (three-year term)--CEO, Personal Care America FCU, Trumbrull; * Edward V. Crowley Jr. (two-year term)--CEO, Fairfield Municipal FCU, Bridgeport; and * Garrett R. Gizowski (one-year term)--CEO, United Shoreline FC, New Haven.
Changes in bylaws for the league board elections included a reduction in number from 12 chapter directors and six alternate directors to six chapter directors and three at-large directors to streamline board governance and provide a more equitable representation of the state’s credit unions.