TV Show Helping To Raise CU's Profile In Market

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TruWest CU is quickly becoming known as the first place to go for all things financial as a result of a weekly segment on a local daily television show that has led to the creation of both an e-mail and telephone "hotline" for members of the community.

"Ask Lenore @ TruWest" is a weekly feature of the local show "Your Life A to Z" that focuses on financial matters. "We're the financial expert they bring in once a week," explained Lenore Froelich, the CU's VP of marketing. "We cover a number of different topics, and then we were wondering if maybe we weren't covering everything people are interested in, so we set up a phone number and an e-mail address for people to send in their questions. We also have it up on our website."

Every question sent in is answered directly, with Froelich funneling certain questions to different departments for their expertise, like the mortgage department, for example.

Ask Question, Get Gas

"Every other week or so, we select one question to read on the air and and discuss it on the show," she added. "And if we choose your question to read on the show, you get a $25 gas card."

The most popular topics so far are about how to get out of debt, how to save for a child's college tuition, and a variety of questions about credit cards and mortgages. A recent show about how to start your own business also drew a lot of interest, Froelich said.

Perhaps the most unique question, to date, was the one about whether or not the Iraqi dinar would make a good investment right now.

Although the show has been featuring the weekly TruWest segment for about a year, the "Ask Lenore @ TruWest" e-mail and hotline has only been in place for about a month, and the CU has already fielded about 50 questions.

"That's tremendous response," Froelich said, noting that the vast majority of the questions are coming in from non-members, giving the CU the opportunity to reach out to them and maybe gain new members.

"If the question is about mortgages, for example, I'll forward it on to the mortgage department, and then someone in mortgages will contact the person who sent in the question directly," she commented. "That gives them a chance to interact one on one and encourage the person to come in to the credit union to see what we can do for them. We definitely plan to track this and follow up with these people to try to develop that relationship."

And indeed, it's been TruWest's efforts to develop relationships that led to these opportunities in the first place. "It's all about building a relationship," Froelich related when asked how TruWest was chosen to be the financial expert for the local show. "We had been advertising on Channel 3 for about a year and a half, so they knew us, they felt like we were someone you can trust, that we were like family. Channel 3 is an independent station out here, and it's very family-oriented. They came to us about it, and we knew it was a great opportunity."

Good Publicity For New Name

One of the primary benefits of doing the weekly segment-which may be increased to twice weekly in the near future-is getting the TruWest name out. And that's particularly important, since the CU has only been "TruWest" since Jan. 1, 2003.

"Prior to that we were Motorola Employees, and we had been a single-sponsor credit union for 50 years," she observed, noting that the CU's conversion to a community charter precipitated the name change. "No one knew who TruWest was. This has definitely helped."

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