Case Studies/ Public Affairs – influencing public policy

People helping people: The Ohio Credit Union League

Banking trade associations across the country used their clout in state legislatures and Washington to attack credit unions, the only alternative to banks that we have. In Ohio, only one in 10 credit union members of the Ohio Credit Union League regularly participated in grassroots action. Working with the League, Siefkas Public Relations created an ambitious and aggressive public advocacy program to nurture a political environment for credit union growth. The program leveraged credit unions’ goodwill within their communities and their success in helping individuals attain their financial goals.

The results were significant: Ohio legislators passed League-supported regulatory reform; in Washington, a “Hike the Hill” advocacy event sponsored by the League attracted the largest delegation ever, and more than half of the participants were new advocates; more than 100 credit union leaders in Ohio volunteered to become Key Contacts and build personal relationships with their legislators; contributions to the League’s political action committee reached their highest level since 2001; and, innovative legislative materials told the credit union story in new and effective ways. Credit unions generated positive media coverage, including an in-depth article in USA Today. Siefkas also helped launch “MoneyAndStuff,” a youth-oriented financial education program that won the praise of elected officials and educators.