Frankie Awards Are Long Overdue

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Frank Diekmann, you never change. Several lifetimes ago when you were still with Bank Advertising News, you pretty much said you liked credit unions but disliked the lousy job we did telling the credit union story. It was embarrassing, but you were right.

Credit union people are just as capable of grabbing media coverage as their brothers and sisters in the profit-driven industries. Examples of this are all over the country and include some leagues as well as individual credit unions. Unfortunately, these efforts have a shelf life. Efforts, even campaigns, eventually become forgotten.

Efforts aren't going to do it. When I was still SVP-marketing for Mission FCU I got between 1,300 and 2,000 inches of press annually for more than a decade. Telling the credit union story accounted for a lot of those inches. Some might remember, but I'll bet our target market, prospective members, probably don't. Today, several years in retirement and several months into my term as chairman of the board of First Central Credit Union, it's even more obvious to me how much credit unions care and deliver.

Only an ongoing conciousness will do. That has to happen beyond an FOM or a state. The Frankie Awards could just be the answer. Those awards have no shelf life and promise fun. Even better, they are without borders. It's time to tell our story. Maybe it's time to stop using ongoing bank attacks as big proof that credit unions are better. If we owe the pioneers who made credit unions possible, it may be that we should simply do a better job of telling the credit union story. The Frankie Awards are long overdue.

Dick Hartley, Robinson, Texas


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