War of the Words

Does an advertising campaign targeting credit unions tell the whole truth and nothing but? Not quite.


Actions and results speak louder than promises; ideology that has put credit unions ahead of the curve when it comes to making the recovery touted in headlines, tangible in the day to day lives of their members.

Yet one recent advertising campaign, funded by a group called American Family Voices, has been making an attempt to negate credit unions' positive impact on American families by comparing them to them to profit hungry banks.

Playing off a banking industry slogan, the ad highlights credit union protests over interchange legislation to compare them to banks. Implying that by “protecting profits,” credit unions want to “play with the big boys,” the ad misses the mark on two counts.

One, indicating the “big boys” of profits- the ad highlights the banking industry’s mastery of the same tactics the ad accuses credit unions of.

Two, while credit unions may rely on interchange as a form of income, credit union profits are channeled back to members and the community, rather than shareholders and bonus driven bank board executives.

Here is a "banker confessions" video campaign from America's First Federal Credit Union that emphasizes why running with the “big boys” isn’t something to be proud of, and certainly isn’t a part of a credit union’s business plan.