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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-Planning to take advantage of banks' poor consumer image will be even more critical in 2011, according to PSCU Financial Services.

Interim CEO Michael Yatros told Credit Union Journal that PSCU is emphasizing to its credit unions, as the company did in 2010, that they need to keep their foot on the gas pedal when it comes to leveraging banks' unpopularity because the window of opportunity is running out.

Acknowledging that increasing revenue pressures can make marketing budgets a target for cuts, Yatros emphasized the importance of spending on efforts to gain share. "Now is the time to invest to fuel future growth. The optimal time to invest is during the trough of a down economic cycle. This is the time to enter, not when things start swinging up. That is the most expensive time to gain market share. We think that through prudent financial management, credit unions can invest in their future growth."

Longer term, plans should be made to deepen penetration levels with Generations X and Y, turning greater attention to e-delivery channels. Yatros stated that it is also time to become less "gun shy" about first mortgages and credit cards. "The CARD Act regulations that came down this year have made credit unions wary of the credit card market," added Yatros. "But there is great opportunity here, especially with all the large issuers being much less aggressive and investing significantly less dollars in marketing."

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