Ads Put CU's Mortgages On Point

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PORTLAND, Ore.-OnPoint Community is crediting several new TV spots for boosting awareness it is also a mortgage lender.

Kelly Schrader, OnPoint's VP of member services and marketing, said the $2.8-billion CU shoots two TV spots each year, with assistance from Seattle-based Weber Marketing Group. Earlier in 2010 "Dream Home" and "Community Connection" began airing. The former shows "Tracy" as she jogs by "the little green house with the big porch" every day. On the day she saw it was for sale, viewers are told, she called OnPoint Community Credit Union on the spot. "I'm ready to apply for the home loan," she says into her cell phone.

The voiceover closes by saying, "The same great place she trusts for her banking is also one of the leading home lenders, with local experts and decisions made right down the street."

"Community Connection" features "Scott, a guy who loves his neighborhood," which is why he is an OnPoint member. Scott, the ad says, values the connection between where he lives and where he banks. "That community connection means banking dollars stay in the local economy, for the people and businesses that need it. After all, when you love where you live, you do what you can to make it great. Join us, at OnPoint Community Credit Union."

According to Schrader, the spots, especially the latter, were "specifically designed" to avoid being negative toward banks. "Instead, we focused on the values and integrity we stand for."

OnPoint has been "beefing up" its mortgages recently, Schrader explained. "And we have spent a lot of time over the last 18 months talking about banking locally and keeping money at home. Both of this year's spots were filmed in Portland and are recognizable. Were able to capture that small-town feel we were looking for. Community Connection uses a local food co-op that is well known in the city. It tells people if they don't belong to a [CU] it is time to take a look at one."

With the TV spots, it provides general direction for what it is seeking in each spot. Dream Home and Community Connection will appear on TV with three different flights during 2010, each approximately six weeks long. OnPoint is also airing radio spots that have some of the same themes and voiceovers. "We look forward to filming these commercials because we have a lot of pride in our brand and we like to represent who we are," said Schrader. "Also, our staff is incredibly proud of those ads and members really look forward to them each year. We budget to do this every year because it is the place to present your brand, which is not a place to cut corners. They are not inexpensive, but well worth every penny. We are the largest [CU] in the state of Oregon, and we have heard from other [CU] CEOs that our ads help them because they generate positive feelings for credit unions."

OnPoint saw an uptick of 20% in mortgage applications when the commercials were running for the first time earlier this year. "People don't think of their credit union as the place to go for a mortgage-they think first of car loans or savings-so once we got people to associate OnPoint with mortgages it really took off. Membership growth is up 2% to 3% over last year, and I'm sure the commercials are a contributing source. We receive feedback from new members who said they saw the ad and decided it was time to make that switch."

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