Long-Time Single-Sponsor CU Spreads Its Wings To Serve New Groups

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CU: Alliant CU

Category: SEG Recruitment

In the year since former United Airlines Employees Credit Union changed its name to Alliant Credit Union, it has done much more than just unveil a new logo-it has reinvented itself.

For starters, the $4.4-billion ACU, which, since its founding, had served employees of the airline and some related groups, now serves more than 80 employers nationwide and has sought to build a strong brand name in the human resources community.

Among its other accomplishments:

* In 2004, ACU had record new member growth, topping more than 10%. First quarter of 2005 netted nearly 3%, putting it on target for similar growth this year.

* In one year, ACU snagged major SEG partners that include the National PTA, Ardent Health Services, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Life Time Fitness, 1-800-Flowers, Travel Centers of America and the California and Illinois CPA Societies.

How'd they do it?

For starters, the credit union hired Judy Whitcomb, a former human resources practitioner and marketing professional, as its director of business development.

Whitcomb said she recognized the unique opportunity ACU had to position itself in the human resources community on a national front and immediately went to work placing the credit union in places where it would be noticed. Among them, local and national human resources venues to create greater awareness of the CU industry and where it also felt it could develop new SEG relationships. She said ACU actively sought out support from the largest nationwide human resources publication, HR Magazine, to write a piece on the value of credit unions as a no-cost benefit.

"Alliant met with editorial staff from HR Magazine and provided them with research content supporting the value for employers of a credit union relationship," she wrote in her Best Practices submission " 'Credit Unions Widen their Welcome' was published in HR Magazine in 2004."

Next, the CU targeted HR Executive, another human resources publication, to create a similar awareness piece.

"This resulted in an industry awareness piece entitled "Credit Where It's Due" in the June 16, 2006 issue of HR Executive," she said, noting that ACU provided research materials and provided a contact at CUNA for interview purposes.

Whitcomb said ACU has also become a regular fixture at local and national human resources conferences and events.

"For the third year in a row, Alliant participated in the National Society of Human Resource Management convention as an exhibitor," she said, adding that the CU also had a strong presence at the 2005 National World at Work Convention.

In addition, she said, Allliant CU has also led seminars and roundtable discussions and has contributed information to local human resources publications on the value of a credit union partnership for employers.

ACU's successful participation at the 2005 National Society of Human Resource Management convention was featured in Employee Benefit News.

She said all of the human resources exposure has been complemented by ACU's aggressive advertising efforts in those same publications.

"Alliant markets itself as a no-cost, high value benefit- and membership at Alliant is like giving employees a raise."

To ensure ACU's continued success with human resource partners, their employers and ACU's members, ACU has established a team focused on relationship management, Whitcomb said.

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