CU's New Magazine Makes It The Biggest In The Market

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A new, full-color magazine called "Connections" made its debut to nearly a quarter-of-a-million Redstone Federal Credit Union members.

The publication, created and developed in-house, includes 16 pages of "creative, fresh and informative" CU-related materials, said Ken Jost, assistant VP of marketing at RFCU. It replaces a four-page newsletter the credit union had been publishing.

"To our knowledge, the style, the quality and size of this magazine is the first of its kind in the credit union industry in the southeast," Jost said, adding that 150,000 copies would be delivered to households in the Tennessee Valley area with more available for pick up at any of the CU's 16 branches.

Connections Editor Thom Tingle said the first issue highlights the real benefits of belonging to Redstone FCU. It includes a feature about the Redstone difference, a story about lending and various articles on the credit union's involvement in community events, including a story on a member who won a vacation give-away. On the cover is a portrait of three generations of members-a grandmother, her daughter and her granddaughter.

The magazine will be produced quarterly with the next edition already in production, Tingle said.

Credit union executives were supportive of the idea and have been impressed with the outcome.

"They are very pleased and that is the truth," Tingle said. "And, we're just going to make it better each time."

Gerald Toland, president of RFCU, added, "By changing the look and feel of our existing newsletter to this magazine style format, we're able to offer a tremendous amount of news and information that will reach our broad-based membership here at the credit union."

The name, "Connections," by the way, was selected from an in-house contest to name the new publication. "We thought it was a good name that reflects how Redstone Federal Credit Union truly connects with the communities it serves," Tingle said.

Jost said he is hoping that the credit union's SEGs will see the publication as an opportunity to advertise their products and services as well. Staff is in the process of formulating a plan to offer ad space.

"We want this magazine to not only be used as a financial resource, but as a community-focused informational resource," he said. "We want this magazine to be helpful to our members and service groups."

Redstone FCU is the largest credit union in Alabama with nearly $1.6 billion in assets. It employs some 600 people and is North Alabama's largest local financial institution.

While the publication sounds like an expensive venture, Tingle said costs are only "minimally higher" than they had been to hire an outside advertising agency to produce and distribute a four-page newsletter.

"We have tremendous inside resources," Tingle said, noting that the staff includes more than enough writing talent, photo skills and graphic and layout ability to produce a professional magazine. "Any credit union can do just a quarterly newsletter. We wanted to use our creativity and knowledge to go above and beyond that-do something that would show our members the experience, the knowledge and the expertise we have at Redstone."

Many of the team, he said, were hired in the last year to enhance the credit union's over all marketing efforts.

"I am very pleased and very proud to be part of this collaborative effort," Tingle said. "I'm looking forward to doing it on a quarterly basis."

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