Availability Of Parking Becomes Sales Point In LA

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With competition here fierce and advertising fiendishly expensive, First City Credit Union decided to kill two birds with one stone. It recently placed a 30-foot banner on the exterior of its downtown branch promoting validated parking as an enticement for new members.

Tom Thompson, First City CU's director of corporate communications, said the credit union wanted to do something to increase visibility in the neighborhood- membership in the CU is available to all who live or work in downtown Los Angeles-but it found the price of conventional advertising daunting.

The solution, he said, was to use the side of the building as an attention-grabber. The downtown branch is at the corner of Temple and Figueroa Streets; a few blocks north of the main cluster of office buildings.

"We get a lot of people driving by, but not a lot of walking traffic on the street, which is why we put up the sign," Thompson explained. "We are across the street from the DWP [Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power] and near the new cathedral. There is lots of activity and new construction going on around here, and there will be for many years."

According to Thompson, the downtown branch manager reported quite a few people have come into the branch in response to the sign. "Though, it is difficult to track things like this," he added.

First City, a $340 million CU, serves 40,000 members in several communities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.

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