Friday, 24 September 2010

Nationwide Advertising Campaign

I am delighted this week to announce the launch of our new nationwide advertising campaign entitled “Credit Unions – We look at things differently”.
The aim of this campaign is to highlight the differences between the credit union and other financial service providers. With this campaign we wanted to focus on the uniqueness of the credit union brand by focusing very much on the strengths and values of the credit union itself. Our commitment to co-operation, mutual self help and dedication to the communities in which we operate are represented strongly throughout the advertising.
In the current economic climate, people are looking for more from their financial services providers and the credit union is offering something different - we take pride in this difference and in our strength and stability. We research what people are looking for and the views of members and non members across the country shaped our thinking on this campaign. We primarily looked at attitudes to existing services; willingness to use future services and the difficulties faced by people in the current economy and used this when creating our message.
We are very happy to welcome Grainne Seoige, the current new face of GMTV in the UK, as a partner in this campaign and I want to take this opportunity to thank her for coming on board with the ILCU and we look forward to working with her again in the near future.
Grainne has lent her voice to the radio and TV elements of the campaign which is set to target the 25- 44 year old market.
The first phase of the campaign will consist of: TV adverts, radio announcements, local and national print advertising (including a new suite of product specific adverts), outdoor city billboard advertising / bus side advertising, online advertising and in-store communications materials at local credit unions country wide.
We have also created a new iPhone App which provides a credit union locator, credit union news feed and credit union history and information – a useful tool for existing and future credit union members across the country. Also remember to visit us on our Website / Facebook and Twitter pages for all the latest news about what is happening in credit unions around the country.
This is something of a milestone for the Movement as, for the first time, ILCU affiliated credit unions will have a national and local brand that has been developed to incorporate any advertising and promotional requirements that may arise. This will bring about uniformity in above the line marketing material across the Movement, reducing cost substantially.
The campaign kick starts this Friday September 24th with the TV ads and will run for a three week period.

Friday, 3 September 2010

CUs Lead the Way on Student Loans

The great philosopher Aristotle once mused that “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity”. In the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, there was a certain ‘chutzpah’ that one could strive for any job one wanted, regardless of skills or qualifications. It was an age of up selling yourself rather than upskilling.

With the demise of the Celtic Tiger, realism has hit home that as a nation, we need to re-focus on training and personal development, with a particular emphasis on third level education. But this certainly does not come cheap. Research produced by DIT Office Campus Life* has highlighted that over a nine-month college year, the cost of living for a student living away from home is €7,470 and €3,789 for a student living at home. Rent can account for over a third of the cost of students who live away from home.

Above any year, students and parents are finding it difficult to finance third level education, particularly those up-front costs such as registration fees, books, rent deposits etc. Other factors which are impacting on the affordability of college are the 5% reduction in the student grant announced in last December’s budget and the scarcity of part-time or summer work for students. The majority of students work during the summer months and many during the college year in a bid to finance the costs of third level education. With increasing unemployment rates, this seasonal work is much harder to come by.

Credit unions across the island are reporting an increase in enquiries for student loans as more and more students start to feel the pinch. In an effort to make education as affordable as possible for members, many credit unions have special student loan rates which are significantly discounted from their standard loan rates. Indeed, both Rathmore Credit Union in Kerry and Mountmellick Credit Union in Laois are offering rates as low as 4% (4.1% APR) for student loans. Each credit union sets their own lending policy and depending on individual situations, a parent may be required to act as guarantor.

Credit unions have no hidden fees or transaction charges and won’t charge you if you wish to repay your loan early or make additional lump sum repayments. So while other financial institutions attempt to woo third level students with gimmicks or introductory offers, credit unions will continue to offer straight forward, low cost loans tailored to meet the individual’s needs.

* DIT Campus Life (Cost of Living Survey 2010/11)