Northwest Credit Unions Show Support for Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union Initiative

Credit union leaders express why they believe the initiative is critical for membership growth.

6/4/2019

Frank Chinn, Unitus Community Credit Union Board Chair, supports the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union initiative. Click the image to read his blog.

The Credit Union Movement in the Northwest is strong, with more than 50 percent of the region’s population belonging to a credit union. However, national consumer research shows that there are two myths keeping people from joining – they think they’re ineligible to be a member, and they believe local credit unions can’t meet their financial service and technology needs. 

To dispel these myths, the Credit Union National Association launched the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union initiative, which will educate non-member consumers about why they should make a credit union their financial partner. Currently, the initiative is live in four states – Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Michigan.  

The initiative’s targeted advertising already is making big impacts, with the latest metrics showing 9.3 million consumers reached, 7 million promotional videos viewed to completion, and 45.7 million impressions gained from targeted online advertising. More than 525 organizations across the nation have made pledges, contributing $36 million toward the $100 million three-year fundraising goal.  

“The Northwest Credit Union Association, NWCUA’s Board of Directors, and the Strategic Market Share Task Force support this initiative and are leading fundraising efforts here in the Northwest,” NWCUA SVP of Marketing and Communications, Danielle Sittu, said.  

In the Northwest, fundraising is off to a strong start. Credit unions have pledged more than $1.1 million toward the $2.5 million needed to launch the region-wide initiative, and they have pledged nearly $3 million toward a 3-year, $8 million goal. 

“I have worked in the credit union industry for over 24 years and we’ve gained 2 percent market share in those two decades, which isn’t as robust as any of us would like to see,” said Larry Ellifritz, President and CEO of Consolidated Community Credit Union. To grow and succeed, we must increase awareness as an industryNow is the time to tell our cooperative story. What could be more powerful than 170 credit unions in the Northwest coming together to encourage our communities to open their eyes to a credit union? That’s why Consolidated Community Credit Union is supporting the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union initiative, and our hope is that other Northwest credit unions will join us.” 

At Unitus Community Credit Union, Steve Stapp, President and CEOspoke in a video about why he believes the initiative is critical. And Unitus’ Board Chair, Frank Chinn, also recently penned a blog and gave his endorsement in a video to support the initiative.  

“Since the global financial crisis, big banks have just gotten bigger and bigger. So that’s why right now is the time for us to launch the Open Your Eyes campaign,” Stapp said. “This is an excellent opportunity to get our message out about what credit unions are doing in our communities, in our nation, and also throughout the world.” 

Chinn’s blog and video echoed Stapp’s sentiments. He encourages credit unions to think about non-member consumers and make a connection with them. 

Its time that we try and reach these people to show them what credit unions are all about,” Chinn wrote. “The campaign is designed from extensive market research where we learned that 98 percent of consumers have heard of credit unions, but 72 percent of non-members wouldn’t consider a credit union for their financial needs. When you understand these myths, that 72 percent starts to make a lot of sense. 

To read Chinn’s full writeup, visit NWCUA’s Open Your Eyes website.  

“Our credit union leaders are leading the charge to make Open Your Eyes a success,” Sittu said. Their voices and support are criticalWe’ve seen positive responses to this important initiative, and encourage Northwest member credit union leaders to reach out with questions or to make a pledge.” 

 To donate to Open Your Eyes, contact Sittu by email at [email protected] or by phone at 206-519-9405. To learn more about the CUNA-led initiative, visit CUNA online. An FAQ online answers many questions about the initiative, and a webinar hosted this winter by CUNA and NWCUA takes a deep dive into the initiative’s goals and tactics.