CUNA-Led Awareness Initiative Launches in Missouri
Saint Louis, MO. July 22, 2019 – Today, the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® awareness initiative kicks off in Missouri with the mission of raising consumer awareness of credit unions by tackling common myths around membership eligibility; access to money; and a limited number of banking products and financial services.
“Last year, credit unions provided about $16.5 billion in financial benefits to members. We have an impactful presence in the financial services industry, and by collectively amplifying our voice, we can help more individuals reach their financial goals,” said Tom Kraus. Kraus is the Chief Operating Officer for Together Credit Union, and its divisions, and member of the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® Awareness Committee for Heartland Credit Union Association, who is spearheading Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) awareness initiative in Missouri and Kansas.
Extensive research for this initiative shows banks outspend credit unions $43 to $1 in marketing. More importantly, 72% of consumers who have heard of credit unions are not likely to consider a credit union because of misconceptions. To combat this consideration issue, more than 540 credit unions and associations have pledged more than $37 million to CUNA’s three-year Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® awareness initiative.
The initiative launched in January with a consumer-centric campaign on digital platforms and a consumer-focused website with a credit union locator tool. Early metrics are exceeding traditional benchmarks, showing the strength and resonance of its messaging.
“The first year of the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® awareness initiative focuses on education. By overcoming common misconceptions of credit unions we are positioning ourselves for long-term growth in the financial services industry,” added Kraus.
The first myth the initiative addresses is the perception that individuals are ineligible to join a credit union. The reality is individuals can join a credit union based on a field of membership, the most common bond between members. For example, in the St. Louis area, Together Credit Union, serves those who live or work in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jefferson County (MO) plus St. Clair County and Madison County (IL). Other credit unions base their field of membership on:
- Family- most credit unions encourage family members (parents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents) to join.
- Employment – many credit unions have relationships with employers, opening up membership opportunities, and benefits, for employees.
- Geographic Location – many credit unions serve those that live, work, worship, or attend school in a designated radius of the branch.
- Group Memberships – a number of credit unions partner with military organizations, schools, labor unions, homeowners’ associations, and/or places of worship to welcome more members.
The second myth the initiative is working to overcome is the perception that individuals will have limited access to their money. In addition to traditional branch locations, credit unions offer online access and financial transactions apps, and direct and mobile deposit. Members of Together Credit Union can access their accounts and perform transactions at more than 5,600 shared branch locations and self-service shared branch express terminals, as well as more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs, through the CO-OP Shared Branch Network in all 50 states.
The third myth the initiative will address is the perception that credit unions do not offer the same financial products as banks. Compared to other financial providers, credit unions offer identical services, but with higher savings yields, lower interest rates, and fewer fees. For example, Together Credit Union, offer over 50 banking products and financial services including, checking and savings accounts; individual retirement accounts; a full-spectrum list of mortgage and loan options; business accounts; investment options; and insurance.
To learn more about the Awareness initiative and Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® visit CUNA’s website at https://www.cuna.org/awareness/. To see the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® in action, visit https://yourmoneyfurther.com/. For more information regarding this announcement, please contact Julie Linder, Public Relations & Events Strategist, by calling (314) 657-9311.
About: As a member-owned, community-focused, not-for-profit financial institution, the Credit Union offers a comprehensive list of banking products and financial services at 27 branches nationwide and through 24/7 Member resources and amenities. In addition, Members can access their accounts and perform transactions at more than 5,600 shared branch locations and self-service shared branch express terminals, as well as more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, through the CO-OP Shared Branch Network in all 50 states.
With more than $1.82 billion in total assets and 132,000 members nationwide, Together Credit Union is named a 2019 Best Credit Union in Missouri by Forbes Magazine and ranked as a “Top 150,” credit union in the U.S. The credit union was also chosen as a 2019 Corporate Philanthropy honoree by both the Credit Union National Association and the St. Louis Business Journal.