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Michigan Credit Union League

External Communications Best Practices

As your members grapple with the reality presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, being a calm, reassuring voice is a way to help lead your community through this emergency. Please use the below guidelines to inform your communications to members and media stakeholders.  

Developing Talking Points and External Statements

Prior to announcing any changes to your business operations, ensure you have prepared staff to respond to any questions from your members, the media and other stakeholders.

  • Identify lead spokespeople within your credit union
  • Develop talking points that answer frequently asked questions
  • Prepare a holding statement to share externally to press

For a collection of credit union responses to COVID-19 FAQs, click here.

Communicating Business Decisions that Impact Members

If you make any changes to your business operations that impact your members, including closing your lobby, instituting drive thru-only services, changing hours, etc. make sure you take the following steps:

  • Develop a timeline for deploying information that reaches all of your key audiences
  • Inform your Board of Directors, as appropriate
  • Update your website and call center
  • Send a direct email to your members
  • Send a press release to the media
  • Share information on social media
  • Prepare staff with talking points to respond to member questions
     

Using Your Voice in the Media

Public Relations: Ten Commandments Your Credit Union Needs to Know

CU COVID-19 Response Press Release Template

SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Press Release Template

Financial services are essential services, and our communities and members want to hear from their credit union about how you’re ensuring folks maintain access to your services.

Work with your communications team to field and rapidly respond to reporter inquires:

  • Find out the reporter’s deadline
  • Gather as much detail about their story as possible
  • Follow-up to find out about the go-live date of the story
  • Share final story internally
  • Share final story on your social media channels, tagging the news outlet.

Identify the appropriate spokesperson or subject area expert for all interviews:

  • Draft and/or edit talking points based on the topic of discussion to prepare spokesperson
  • Use a conference line so that communications leads and/or other stakeholders can listen in and provide feedback after the interview
  • Encourage them to be a thought leader – whether it is using their social media platforms or drafting an opinion editorial piece or letter to the editor.

Provide quick resources to members of the press even if it is not a formal press release.

Get acquainted with the credit union industry press (Credit Union Journal, Credit Union Times, CUInsight, CUToday).

For questions, templates or additional support, reach out to your League and/or CUNA’s communications leads.

View CUNA's sample pitch to local media outlets.
 

Reaching People Through Social Media

Social media is a quick way to amplify the impact credit unions have on their communities and to share information about business operations.

Messaging should come from credit union social accounts or CEO accounts.

  • These posts can then be amplified by MCUL and CUNA

Social media posts should include:

  • Photos, graphics or videos to share a visual element
  • Tag MCUL so we can see the posts

In light of Michigan's recently announced shelter, MCUL wanted credit unions to have the following video links for your immediate social media and digital advertising use. Whether with this message, or one of your own, it is important that credit unions, individually and cooperatively, calm members’ concerns during these particularly troubling times.

The MiMortgage Relief Partnership was created with more than 200 of Michigan’s financial institutions to recognize and expand upon the measures that these institutions have been taking to assist customers to ensure that no one experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will lose their home during this public health crisis. For many homeowners with mortgages, there’s help. Click on the Consumer's Guide to Coronavirus Mortgage Relief link below for detailed information.

Feel free to share these resources with your members by directing them to our Consumer's Guide to Coronavirus Mortgage Relief at CULinkmichigan.com or by using these downloadable social media ready videos.

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