Last week's post on the Soapbox was a reaction to the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation sending a C&D to VSECU to stop using the word "bank" (or any derivatives thereof) in marketing materials. It was one of our most read posts to date and one of the biggest industry stories this summer. Here are some other blogosphere reactions:
from the Financial Brand:
This point is not lost on Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation, who uses the term “banking” liberally throughout its website when refering to the activities of both banks and credit unions. There is an entire “Banking” tab used as a catchall for banks and credit unions. The chief regulator for both banks and credit unions is the Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Banking Division. Its newsletter is called the “Banking Bulletin.” If you have a complaint about a bank or credit union, you call the “Consumer Banking” hotline.
from the CUANY's "New York's State of Mind" blog:
Instead of referring to itself as a “banking cooperative” – which sounds kind of socialist anyway – it should describe itself as a financial institution started by a bunch of people so fed up with banks that they put their money together and decided to lend and borrow from one another. This is much more honest and informative. And you know what? I am proud of the constitutional stand that the state of Vermont is taking.
The tongue-in-cheek tone of this blog belies an interesting point. Could CUs start using this moment to completely separate themselves from banks in terms of perception? Sure. Will they? Probably not...
from Vermont Commons
Remarkable because it's the opinion of a non-industry insider...just your average Vermont citizen. From the blog:
That you would choose to devote my tax-dollars to suppressing a credit union ad campaign in order to benefit banks is absolutely unconscionable. If you want to protect the consumer, you should be deploying every available resource to monitoring the banks so they don't derail our financial system (and economy) again.
from the Your Full Potential Blog
...my goal was to ask 10 individuals that I thought were most likely in the Gen X or Y demographic if they knew what a credit union was. Only 1 of the 10 knew – and do you know why? It turns out that person was an attendee of this particular conference. Then I asked another question of the same group – I wanted to know if anyone knew what a “share-draft” account was. Having told the credit union employee that she was not allowed to answer – absolutely NONE of the remaining 9 had any idea what I was talking about.
An interesting fact-finding mission. Further down, the author talks about using "Coke" interchangably with "Soda" and how many people will as for their favorite drink without regard to brand...just on instinct.
from Keith Leggett's Credit Union Watch
We went looking for the Banking industry's take and found this pretty straight-forward blog from Keith Leggett, VP and Senior Economist at the ABA. The post itself was fine, but the second (anonymous) comment really got our attention.
Must be lean times for any meaningful dialogue on credit unions Dr. Leggett. Can we settle this and agree that the use of the four letter B word should be stricken from the vernacular.
Now there's no way of knowing, but I'm betting there are plenty of people in the banking industry that would agree with this sentiment. Prohibiting CUs from using the word "bank" and its conjucations in marketing would mean CUs would have to do some big-time thinking to come up with a new word or describe their services more efficiently.
Have you seen any other articles on the topic? Let us know (and provide links, if you can) in the comment section.