Nussle Opens ACUC with Awareness Initiative ‘Open Your Eyes to a CU'

CUNA intends to raise $100 million over the next three years to fund and sustain a research-driven national credit union awareness program, CUNA President/CEO told attendees at America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC) in Boston on Friday. America’s credit unions and business partners, with support from CUNA, set the funding goal to launch in the digital marketplace through 2021.

“The future of our movement depends on more Americans than ever opening their eyes to everything a credit union offers them,” Nussle said. “By leveraging modern digital media tools to reach the right consumers at the right time, we’ll create a fresh image for credit unions and challenge their assumptions about who we are and what we do. When they open their eyes to a credit union, they’ll be pleased by what they see.”

Nussle said that the credit union market share has been at 7% in recent years, while banks out-spend credit unions $43 to $1 on marketing.

“We can’t afford to wait on the sidelines any longer,” he said.

The funding will create a national program designed to be:

  • Sustainable, with a digital-first, hyper-targeted approach to get maximum impact for its dollars. This program will allow credit unions to work together to tell a compelling story about the entire credit union movement. This will complement and amplify every credit union’s individual marketing spend—creating a rising tide that lifts all credit unions;
  • Equitable. As part of this movement-wide initiative, every credit union will have the opportunity to contribute in a fair, appropriate manner. CUNA will be sending information packets to credit unions in the coming days and weeks with a personalized as specific to that credit union; and
  • Transparent. For every dollar contributed, 90 cents will go to a national media buy, and the remaining 10 cents will be used for future consumer research, creative content development and operations.

“Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union” is an industry-wide initiative to educate a new generation of consumers.

CUNA invested over $2 million to create a Creating Awareness Advisory Group comprised of marketing experts who devised a data driven campaign to combat two myths consumers believe: they can’t join a credit union and they can’t access their money. Now credit unions across the country are joining together to tell a new, compelling story to disrupt the financial services industry and retain relevancy in the future. 

“This national program is designed by credit unions for credit unions,” said Teresa Freeborn, chair of the advisory group and president/CEO of Xceed Financial CU, El Segundo, Calif. “It is critical that we embrace this long-term initiative that will dispel the myths associated with credit unions and establish the credit union category clearly in the consideration set for consumers. It’s time.”

To learn more about the “Open Your Eyes” campaign go to and type the password “openyoureyes” to access the messaging guide. Additional materials will be added soon.