Arizona is one of the hardest hit regions by the mortgage crisis and subsequent economic downturn. In response, Arizona State Credit Union ($1.34B, Phoenix, AZ) is doing what it can to assist members, individually and collectively. One initiative is their new social media website, www.helpingaz.com.
www.helpingaz.com is simply designed to allow members to connect with and help each other - directly addressing the pain that members are feeling in this economic downturn.
The site is organized around four themes:
Sound off: Read the latest news and voice your opinions and thoughts.
Information Exchange: Money saving tips, unemployment benefits, financial assistance.
Need a Job? Networking, job leads, openings.
Helpful Resources: Links to a variety of resources based on your contributions.
The credit union launched the site in less than 30 days for under $5,000 by using open-source applications. Arizona State representatives do not initiate or control conversations on the site it is a genuine exchange of ideas without an agenda. The credit union only monitors the site to remove any spam and inappropriate content that might show up, and tracks the suggestion box. One benefit to this structure is that the credit union doesn’t have to worry about disclaimers, passwords, encrypting, and extra security. The site is hosted through a third party, and there is no compliance review.
To publicize the site, Arizona State employees actively blog and making comments on local news stories online and on other sites related to financial matters. They also promoted the site to their members and received local press coverage from their PR efforts.
The site is not intended to promote any of Arizona States products or services. Other than the mention of their sponsorship on the home page, they are just listed a ‘helpful resource’ along with many other organizations. “The last thing we want to do with this effort is make it look like we are trying to sell something,” says Paul Stull, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Arizona State FCU. “We realize that not everyone needs this website, but want to make sure that this kind of resource is readily available for those that do.”