Credit Unions Celebrate International Credit Union Day Amidst Flurry of Media Coverage

As events have transpired to give the credit union movement an opportunity for dramatically increased media attention in recent weeks, and as the movement celebrates International Credit Union Day, one thing is clear: it is a good time to be a credit union.

Several big banks have announced now-notorious plans to increase fees for debit-card use, and credit unions have garnered publicity as consumer-friendly, not-for-profit financial cooperatives as a result. Meanwhile, the Occupy Wall Street movement has generated ever-increasing attention and anti-corporate sentiment, and again, credit unions have been widely recognized as Main-Street, member-owned alternatives to Wall Street.

International Credit Union Day (Oct. 20) has also been responsible for more than its usual share of publicity as we approach the International Year of the Cooperative, and grassroots events like the upcoming Bank Transfer Day (Nov. 5) have served to help conjure up widespread public awareness of—and interest in—credit unions.

In Portland, representatives from several area credit unions will be celebrating International Credit Union Day by joining Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) staff downtown at Pioneer Square from 4 to 5 p.m., where they will work together to share information about the credit union movement. Anyone interested in learning more or taking part in the event is encouraged to join the group at the square at 4 p.m. today.

And chances are, wherever you live, someone in your neighborhood has published an article recently comparing personal banking to a failed relationship, urging unsatisfied consumers to leave their bank and join a credit union.

In Oregon, for instance, the Portland Mercury offered “Advice on How to Dump Your Bank.” In Spokane, Wash., the Spokesman compared banking to a loveless marriage, telling bank customers that “it’s time to dump the scoundrel.” MSNBC explained “how to break up with your bank in seven steps,” and a Scranton, Pa.-based credit union recently ran a “Divorce Your Bank” campaign. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

On a specifically local level, the media in the Northwest has shed light on the credit union movement from a number of positive angles. The NWCUA worked with Glenn Farley from KING 5 news in Seattle on this story as he researched membership growth among Northwest credit unions following Bank of America’s fee announcement, and KGW’s Tim Gordon contacted the Association’s communications team for background on membership growth as part of his coverage of a Bank of America protest as well.

The NWCUA also assisted KEX, KUOW and other regional radio outlets in gathering information about credit unions for news stories. Public radio quoted membership growth at approximately 20 to 25 percent, and here, KBND shouts out to the NWCUA following an interview.

Kelly Gilblom of the Puget Sound Business Journal wrote about the exodus of bank customers to credit unions in Washington, and Northwest Cable News covered the same phenomenon with a video and article of its own.

Coverage has also indicated a growing regional awareness of credit union issues. The Oregonian Editorial Board on Wednesday wrote in support of lifting the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap.

Regardless of the specific topic—or the specific metaphor being used—in the wake of all this positive attention, one thing is clear: it’s a good time to be a credit union.

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events, NWCUA.