Repossessed Suburban Turned Into Way For CU To Wave Its Flag

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When Zellco Credit Union expands into Mississippi later this year, a patriotically painted repo shall lead the way.

"I had wanted to use PT Cruisers," explained Kathryn Hand, marketing/business development manager for the $47- million credit union. Hand had gotten the idea from an article she saw in the pages of The Credit Union Journal last year about an Arkansas credit union that had painted two of the popular Chrysler roadsters with a flag motif to show its patriotism and promote its services. When Zellco repossessed a silver Chevrolet Suburban, Hand adapted to the new opportunity.

The vehicle now sports a car-length version of the Stars and Stripes waving in the breeze, courtesy of artist Alton Quave at Tank's Rod and Custom Shop in Westwego, a suburb of New Orleans. Zellco on Wheels, as the Suburban is called, hit the streets Feb. 15 and Hand hasn't looked back.

House-shaped magnetic signs on either side of the vehicle promoting mortgage loans alternate with truck-shaped signs that promote auto loans. Hand also is in the process of having a drawing of an eagle done by a seventh-grade student at Bogalusa Junior High School made into a magnetic sign that will affix to the Suburban's front end. Zellco's name and the phrase, "America's Credit Unions" is prominently featured.

Hand says the vehicle's striking paint job has turned more than a few heads and made a positive impression for the community-chartered credit union

"We could never have gotten the response we have to the Suburban through local media advertising," Hand enthuses. "Our CEO, Cliff McDaniel, is extremely pleased."

Credit union officials expect Zellco on Wheels to make quite an impression later this year when the Louisiana credit union expands across borders into Pearl River County, Mississippi, to open its first out-of-state branch thanks to an NCUA charter expansion granted last August.

"This is an area that doesn't even know what a credit union is," Hand says. "We plan to have our first Mississippi branch opened by the end of this year and a second branch in Marion County by the end of next year."

Until then, it will be up to Zellco on Wheels to make the right impression among potential new members.

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