WASHINGTON -- Washington Post readers could learn all about credit unions in a 16-page advertising supplement Wednesday.

The section, which cost $100,000, was sponsored by the D.C. Credit Union League, said Dana McLellan, a Falls Church, Va., consultant who oversaw its production. Revenue from advertising covered the cost of the supplement, she said.

The primary goal was education, according to Ms. McLellan.

"We need to promote the idea of cooperatives and the philosophy of credit unions," Ms. McLellan said. "The line between which financial institutions do what is getting fuzzier all the time, so we need to try to reestablish what makes [credit unions] different." A credit union is "a cooperative financial institution, and I don't think people understand that."

Besides advertisements from about 25 credit unions -- complete with information on how to join -- the supplement included articles about community development credit unions, credit union history, and one story about how a credit union helped a family climb out of debt. One article touts the strength of National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, calling it the "stronger alternative" to its "more famous" cousin, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Other leagues have run similar advertising supplements, but the D.C. League's effort is the first to run in a paper with the stature of The Washington Post, Ms. McLellan said.

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