SC League & Credit Unions Show Value of Building Relationships with Reporters

A hearty shout out to the SC Credit Union League’s Brandon Pugh and credit unions in the Columbia area who emailed Warren Bolton, the Associate Editor of the Columbia newspaper The State, about the sticky Courtesy Pay issue. Bolton penned two columns on Courtesy Pay and the attention it’s been getting on Capitol Hill (and with consumers, who have been burned by excessive fees for that matter). The follow-up column came as a result of emails Pugh and credit unions sent to Bolton.

In speaking with Brandon after the column ran, he noted that Bolton has a good history with SC credit unions, which extends back to an anti-predatory lending bill that the League and credit unions supported a few years ago. Credit unions are also noted for their continuing work in the financial education arena.

Brandon added that the League and credit unions also contacted editors & reporters regularly when the issue of predatory lending came up again this year. These contacts were not done with the expectation of getting a story, but merely to share opinions and reinforce existing positions on the issue.

Courtesy pay is no doubt a sticky issue for banks and some credit unions. Bolton inquired about the practice earlier this summer, and the League shared best practices, while at the same time acknowledging that it is a slippery slope in the credit union industry.

When Bolton penned a column last week blasting the practice of Courtesy Pay, it opened the door for local credit unions to share their consumer-friendly approach with Bolton via email. These email contacts resulted in a follow-up column that praised the efforts of these credit unions.

(Special kudos to Lucille Beckwith, who not only wrote an email, but also as it ended up – wrote Bolton’s headline and lead!)

The column can be found by clicking here.

The League and credit unions in SC did a masterful job of getting a fuller picture of courtesy pay painted, without as Brandon noted, an excessive amount of spinning on the issue.

To recap, their process works this way …

1. Establish relationships with the media.
2. Stay in touch by stating and re-stating positions on issues of importance.
3. Work together!

The steps that got them there are terrific, and I’m going to look into integrating their strategy here in NC. Nice work, South Cackalack!

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