Open Your Eyes: The Timing Could Not Be Better

Over two years ago, the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Creating Awareness Advisory Group was created to discover why our industry’s market share is lagging. According to CUNA our industry’s market share has grown a modest 1.8% from 1992 (5.6%) to 2017 (7.4%). This group worked with an established brand agency to research the problem extensively, listened to the public, and discovered there are many misperceptions about credit unions.  

CUNA found that for many Americans, myths about credit unions include member eligibility, accessing their money (lack of ATM’s and technology), less secure (too small), and existing to service low-income consumers. CUNA’s response is a national brand campaign called, “Open Your Eyes” that will launch in 2019 with a goal of raising $100 million to sustain the effort for three years.


My project proposal compliments the Open Your Eyes campaign in several ways: timing, opportunities, and messaging. When this campaign launches in 2019, it will increase new opportunities for credit unions to add new members. Credit unions must be prepared to take full advantage of this with a laser focus on their value proposition. My project proposal will be a key tool for Unitus to stand out and resonate with these new members, giving us a better opportunity to expand relationships and retain them. 

At its core, the Open Your Eyes campaign centers on demystifying credit unions and revealing the value of being a member. I share this focus with my project proposal. As I have mentioned in my application videoand in subsequent blog posts, a member rewards program gives Unitus a way to engage members. This becomes a tool to incent members to discover things they thought we did not have available (nationwide ATM access, online and mobile banking features, etc.) It is a great time for Unitus and other credit unions to leverage the credit union difference via a rewards program. 

As I have mentioned before, my proposal is bold and large in scale. Prior to the NTCUE contest, this proposal did not exist at Unitus and this project was not on our roadmap. Proposing this project within my organization has required a thoughtful approach including research, seeking assessments, gaining buy-in, and fine-tuning my vision for the project. Through this process, my proposal continues to gain momentum as I share it throughout my organization. I have pitched my project to many of our executive leaders, and with every conversation, the proposal gets stronger. I am hopeful I am fortunate enough to continue this competition, and share my progress in the weeks to come. 

Blaine Bartholomew