by: Troy Hall, Chief Operations Officer, South Carolina FCU
These six words shape the future for credit unions across the globe. Telling consumers to transfer from a bank to a credit union did not start last week, last month or last fall. For over 75 years, American credit unions touted this rallying cry in many different forms at every possible moment. From my very first introduction as a professional in this industry, the indoctrination included a strong message of cooperative ownership, locality, education and democracy. The credit union difference set the tone of the message “join a credit union and not a bank.” Folks making that choice understood the concept of cooperatively pooling their funds for the shared purpose of receiving better benefits than they would have received on an individual basis. With this line of reasoning, it is clear. For a long time, the rallying cry heard in every credit union market place contained these six, simple words: Every day is Bank Transfer Day™.
Maybe the line of differentiation between credit unions and banks has blurred over the years. Tough-talking Troy (TTT) has not forgotten that in the 1930’s only a certain class of people was welcomed at a bank. Yes, Vermont. TTT used the word “bank” several times already. (Check out CUTimes editorial on July 22, 2012.) If consumers think it’s best to bank on their own, then they should go to a traditional bank. When consumers want a cooperative solution sharing in ownership and multiple benefits, then they belong at a credit union. It’s that easy to understand. The founding fathers of America’s credit unions wanted every day as a bank transfer day.
Since the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934, credit unions made minimal progress in gaining market share. Momentum has not been our friend, until a social media event in November 2011 kicked off a national resurgence. It morphed into one of the most important national branding messages for the credit union movement of all time. But, the burden of carrying the message is not on the back of one single person. It belongs to the professionals who wear the name tags and help consumers with products and services. It belongs to the ones who work on grassroots efforts, and those who have positions of power and authority at the national level to influence its acceptance. It even belongs to those who write and speak for free to promote the industry.
We have been given a gift, a second-chance of sorts. The grassroots efforts have begun to take shape. South Carolina Federal Credit Union transferred the ownership of the branded, six-word rallying cry to the national association this past spring. Now, credit unions everywhere may use the trademarked message to continue a conversation that emphatically told people to choose a credit union, not a bank.
Currently, forty-six South Carolina credit unions are leading a national bank transfer day movement during the entire month of October to promote brand differentiation. Through their leadership, many other credit unions across the nation are realizing the power of collaborative marketing and are proudly telling people they know, “Every day is Bank Transfer Day™.” So, check out www.btdnow.org and let me know, “Who you gonna tell?”
Troy Hall is Chief Operations Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, leading a team of senior managers in the disciplines of Retail Branch Sales and Operations, Lending, Marketing, and Business Performance Management. With over 30 years as a lending and sales and marketing professional, Hall has been involved in the credit union movement for 19 years, both on staff and as an outside marketing consultant. Hall is involved with the local Charleston Chapter of Credit Unions and a member of the Credit Union Executive Society Operations Experts Panel and an eMentor with Credit Union Times. One of the featured bloggers for www.simplecents.org, Hall, also, is the co-host for “Radiofreecu,” a blog-talk radio show that serves credit union professionals across the United States. www.scfederal.org