Siren Song Designed To Lure Emergency Workers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Hoping to appeal to a larger number of potential members, K.C. Police Credit Union is approaching that task with lights and sirens on.

The $95-million CU has introduced a subsidiary called Code 1 CU to more broadly appeal to law enforcement, fire, and emergency services agencies within its field of membership. Code 1 is the local law enforcement term for responding with lights and sirens, and KCPCU CEO Aaron Goff said that's the approach the CU will take when promoting the new subsidiary.

"We just sent out marketing materials to the chiefs of the local agencies within our field of membership, and when you open up the card it makes a siren sound and says that Code 1 Credit Union is on the way," Goff explained.

Taking The Show On The Road

The CU is also sending the heads of local law enforcement and emergency service agencies account opening materials and will be showing up at various department headquarters with its barbecue road show. "We'll grill up lunch and talk credit union," said Goff.

KCPCU kicked off Code 1 by presenting at the monthly meeting of all the police chiefs in the Kansas City metro area. "The response to Code 1 has been excellent," Goff said.

Code 1 CU should help bridge the gap the KCPCU name has created between the credit union and thousands of potential members. "Back in the '90s we added the other local emergency service agencies to our field of membership," Goff said. "But I don't know how many times over the years we've had people tell us they never knew they could join K.C. Police Credit Union."

The 8,000-member KCPCU hopes to expand membership by 5% by the end of the year with Code 1 CU, which offers members the same products and services as the parent credit union. The only difference will be in branding, including Code 1 Visa credit and debit cards and a separate website (www.code1cu.org).

KCPCU's three branches will not carry Code 1 branding on their signs or on the doors. "But we are looking for opportunities to put small branches in sponsor spaces outside of the Kansas City police department, and those would carry the Code 1 name," Goff said.

Among those potential sites is the police headquarters in Independence, Goff said, noting that an ATM with Code 1 branding is already inside that station. Goff said KCPCU will continue to move forward with plans to establish a new office within a Kansas City police department on the south side of the city, and that location will carry the KCPCU name.

Time For A Change

It was simply time to make a change, said Goff about establishing Code 1, which has not been a costly move. Outside of the time invested to promote the subsidiary to the various agencies, the biggest expense is $5,000 for the website.

Negative feedback from long-time members isn't expected, according to Goff. "We are counting on the fact we will bring in more members under this banner," he said. "We did not want to change our name and forget about our roots. But at the same time, the old name was not letting us reach out effectively to the other agencies."

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