We Pause to Give Thanks for This Server Meltdown …

There seems to be a lot of pessimism in credit union circles these days. Member growth seems to be a lot less than we’d like, and surveys show that people who don’t know about us really don’t know about us.

Meanwhile, new competitive threats seem to emerge weekly in the tech-happy world we live in. Companies and concepts such as ING and microlending seem to be like the Prius to our credit union Yugo.

But anyone who saw Liz Pulliam Weston’s column titled “Ditch Your Bank for a Credit Union” in MSN Money this week had to feel a little better. Weston wrote a simply GLOWING article about the positives of credit unions, written to those in her large audience who might just be a little sick and tired of their fee-happy, money-grubbing bank.

And apparently, more than a few folks were receptive to the message. Weston included a link to the California Credit Union League’s national CU Matchup web site in her column.

In the wake of the column’s release online, the ensuing rush to CU Matchup crashed the site’s server!

This episode tells us a few things …

  • Credit unions need to continue telling their story to reporters. Advertising is nice, but how much would you have to pay to get the reaction a column like Weston’s sparked?
  • A lot of people simply hate their bank, and many banks have spent millions in advertising to address it and build a more customer friendly-image. But as the late Molly Ivins once said, “You can put lipstick on a pig and call her Monique … but she’s still a pig.”
  • If you’re emulating banks with your branding and messaging, see point # 2.
  • Weston’s column includes an important piece of shorthand that connects with people. Weston wrote: “Banks hate — hate — credit unions.” To many consumers, the resulting logic goes … “I hate my bank, and my bank hates credit unions … h-m-m-m-m credit unions must be pretty good.” When you talk about your credit union, whether it’s with a reporter or in the quarterly newsletter – always, always … always contrast yourselves with banks.

So let’s cheer up, keep doing great things and start talking about those great things more!

I leave you with this lovely commercial produced by WaMu. Funny stuff, but it’d be funnier if it weren’t so true. 🙂

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