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Connexus : Issue 43
"We are a long way from that yet, but if we can engage the local populations and our members, then we are going to have a strong grassroots campaign." In Orange, McNamara argues that the sector needs to promote itself constantly on the national stage. "We need to let people know we exist and that we are a viable alternative. "The overall awareness of our customer-owned banking sector needs to be improved." Parsons urges the reactivation of a national media campaign to advance the sector as a collective banking entity. "We have to get off our butts and be prepared to invest some dollars in that education of the community and to let people know how simple it is to transfer between fnancial institutions these days.” Bow calls on individual credit unions to maintain momentum for change and build on the Balance Banking campaign. "We need to be energised among ourselves to keep pursuing it. "The industry as a whole needs to get behind this. Too often we tend to look after our own patch and don't do enough collectively." In Lismore, Sweeny says Summerland has not yet seen a rise in memberships since the bus campaign. However, the promotion raised public awareness of her credit union and people may now be more likely to switch if they have a bad experience with a major bank. "To me, it was a darned good start," Sweeny says. Cameron Cooper is a freelance writer. Hopefully the Balance Banking campaign can energise the public to demand more of their politicians and enable us to make some more noise. CoverStory www.customerownedbanking.asn.au 29