Cities branding exceeds all expectations

The “branding boyz” got back a week ago from another fantastic brand consulting trip to Cities Credit Union just outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. I just received this email from Scott Olson, President:

Hi Morriss;

I just got done with my monthly ritual of looking at and evaluating our results for the month. I usually wait for the month to end before I do this, but this month is different. Some very visible things have been happening that I wanted to share with you:

Vehicle Loans: WOW! We’re having a record month. At last check, we were 13% ahead of our best May ever and we still have several days left! That is exciting in itself, but the best part is the fact that as I go down the list, there are some very prominent names: O’Brien, Weigele, Anderson, and many others. These are not people that came in as a result of mass media advertising. These are Chamber of Commerce members and other members of the Community who joined because of word of mouth. The fascinating thing about all this is I know each of their stories and they know ours.

New Members: Last month, we only had one person that joined with a $5 savings account. The rest either brought in a significant deposit or took out a loan. We used traditional forms of advertising in the past and we had limited success. The funny part about it was it brought a lot of $5 savings accounts, but little else. Most of these “members” eventually moved on or turned into dormant accounts. The members that are joining now will provide a wonderful base membership to balance our declining SEG base (ie. telephone employees).

Employee job satisfaction: Believe it or not, most of our employees are now excited to come in to work. Their spouses are noticing the work attitude difference as well. I believe we always had a staff that enjoyed their work, but they are now passionate about it. The difference is there is a purpose – it’s no longer just a fun job, but we are now involved in the community and people’s lives. Volunteerism brings rewards that are much deeper than just a paycheck. We always were proud of knowing our members personally, but now we know their hopes and dreams…their stories. That is incredibly satisfying.

Board relationships: We just had our Annual Meeting. Normally, we have the same group that comes for the food and to see their old peers from the telephone company. This time was different. We saw quite a few community members and other new faces. Our board members were obviously having a great time. They were very enthusiastic and it was obvious to all that they were having a good time. That was good on its own, but the real results are just starting. We had one of our longtime members come in and want to volunteer for the board. She wants to be part of all this. She saw and heard as speaker after speaker poured out their hearts talking about what we are; a community based/family friendly credit union that really cares for its members. I know that many credit unions have a hard time finding qualified volunteers to fill their boards. As we get involved in peoples lives, we’re finding that more and more people want to be part of this movement.

It’s been 5 months since we started the branding process. I noticed subtle changes in the early phases, but now it is becoming very apparent that this will forever change our credit union. By discovering who we are, we can be authentic and comfortable in our relationships with our members and one another. Not only will this positively change our community, but our credit union will be much stronger as a result.

Thanks again for your help in making all this possible. I would not have believed it by just hearing about it – the results are can be seen and more importantly felt.

Scott Olson
Cities Credit Union


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