For Corporates, Shrinking Numbers Has Led To Different Strategies

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West Virginia Corporate says it has always been there for members, and a newly designed logo is intended to send the message that it will be for a lot longer.

The $245-million WVCCU remains unique as a corporate serving a relatively small number of natural-person credit unions even as other corporates are merging all around it, including the pending merger between giants Mid-States Corporate in Illinois and Empire Corporate in New York. Officials with the WVCCU acknowledge their members may look at services provided by other corporates, and it has been working to reinforce a message that there are benefits to doing business at home. President Charlie Thomas said he wanted to recommit to his 119 member CUs and reinforce the point that they own it.

"We felt the need to present an updated look to recommit to our credit unions," Thomas told The Credit Union Journal.

Thomas and staff looked locally for inspiration and settled on the official state tree and the deep blue that borders the West Virginia state flag. West Virginia's state tree is the sugar maple, which has broad leaves up to six inches across. The border of the state flag was selected for the corporate's name, while gold was chosen for the leaf. The new slogan, "Capitalize On Your Ownership," stresses that credit unions own the corporate and need to use its assets to their benefit.

As for joining with another CU, Thomas said West Virginia Corporate isn't planning a merger and doesn't consider the $25-billion WesCorp a direct competitor. "That's not something we're overtly concerned with," Thomas said. "We've always been here. We plan to be here."

Thomas said West Virginia Corporate will be spending more time communicating with its members, including more "fact-to-face" meetings with its member CUs.

Thomas turned to Paul J. Lucas, a Virginia-based marketing and branding consultant with extensive experience creating new logos for credit unions, for the new WVCCU brand. Lucas called the West Virginia Corporate CU well managed and strong with several products priced better than "larger, super-corporates." Lucas said the new logo reiterates West Virginia's core message of solid, strong leadership and reminds CUs to take advantage of their ownership.

"Let's face it: some West Virginia credit unions are looking at other corporates," Lucas said. "We wanted to make sure they didn't look too far."

Lucas said the West Virginia Corporate isn't seeking any CUs for membership outside of the state and offers personalized service a larger corporate can't provide.

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