As Patelco Credit Union entered its 75th year, the board resolved to remake the brand, and address the awareness deficit surrounding the many advantages available through Patelco’s “non-bank” banking alternative.

The Challenge

As a credit union, Patelco has always struggled to compete with big banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America. With a relatively unconventional and somewhat convoluted business model and a lack of brand recognition, pulling banking business away from “the usual suspects” was a challenge. So IRON was contracted to re-build the brand – from the ground up.

The Strategy

People are wary of the differences between credit unions and banks. But we realized giving those differences the right context could make all the difference. And given the recent mortgage crisis, we defined that context as the way in which a credit union’s differences make it more trustworthy. All that remained was positioning Patelco against other credit unions – an easy feat, given that Patelco is one of the largest in the country.


The campaign copy made a bold confident statement about the restoration of faith in a financial institution – and the art direction treated an old-fashioned visual language in a unique new way, immediately imparting this idea of restored faith.


IRON developed guidelines for the campaign, as it would live in collateral and in-branch materials – assuring continuity at each and every consumer touch point.


IRON also extended the campaign to television and radio – with the television leveraging a partnership with the Golden State Warriors, (predicated on the fact that a huge percentage of Warriors fans are ideal credit union prospects).

Radio: Siberia

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Radio: Disclaimer

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Radio: Larry

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Radio: Payments First

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75th Anniversary Campaign

IRON was also charged with developing a “grass roots” sub-campaign, that worked in conjunction with the Bank on Trust campaign to rally around the fact that the credit union was celebrating 75 years in business, in 2011. Patelco’s stated purpose has always been to help people achieve their financial goals. So IRON proposed surprise visits to Patelco’s community supermarkets, gas stations and more – to cover people’s purchases and spread the word about Patelco through branded materials.

The Results

We launched the strategy through digital, print, radio and television, and immediately began generating leads for home equity lines of credit, as well as other featured products. Beyond this, the trust-centric positioning has been internalized by Patelco’s management – guiding day-to-day decision-making and assuring a clear direction for the future.


Membership before campaign


Membership after campaign


Success led to 75th Anniversary campaign