Bridge Credit Union may only have 7,883 members and $43 million in assets, but you’d never be able to tell that based on their new brand.
Following an extensive strategic process, State Transportation Employees Credit Union has decided to rebrand itself as Bridge Credit Union with a new website, new logo and new corporate color scheme. The credit union was definitely overdue for a makeover, since the newly refreshed brand identity is their first in over 45 years.
The new Bridge brand is both a nod to the credit union’s transportation heritage (they primarily serve workers and retirees from the Ohio Department of Transportation), but also reflects the credit union’s strategic decision to begin offering services in other transportation-related industries within the private sector. Those industries now include employees within logistics, construction, engineering, and warehousing.
There are also positive connotations associated with the “bridge” theme when placed in the context of financial services. The credit union can talk about “connecting” people with their financial goals, or putting people on “road” to financial success.
The potential of these marketing metaphors are not lost on Christy Leslie, CEO of the newly rechristened Bridge Credit Union. “The new brand embodies the essence and values of who we have always been and who we will continue to be,” she said of the rebranding initiative. “Our name ‘bridges’ the gap between employees within the public and private sectors as well as symbolizes how we help connect members to their financial dreams.”
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Marketing angles aside, perhaps the biggest advantage of the new “Bridge” name is more practical: it’s 22 characters shorter than “State Transportation Employees Credit Union,” which — at 12 syllables — was a mouthful. It only takes five syllables to say the new moniker. If you think counting characters and syllables is silly, just think about how many times call center staff have to answer the phone — “Hello and thank you for calling State Transportation Employees Bridge Credit Union.”
The rebranding comes at a critical juncture for the credit union. Officials say they need to seek opportunities for continued growth, and had limited options trying to work exclusively within a single-sponsor charter. CEO Leslie said the credit union’s future hinged on expanding their market opportunities and investing in a technology-driven infrastructure, and they needed a brand to complement this new direction.
Ahead of the rebranding, Leslie says the credit union conducted extensive market research to determine the most suitable path for growth while simultaneously honoring its transportation heritage. Leslie said they also performed a lengthy analysis to determine the types of services they would need to offer as part of the expanded strategy.
In response, Bridge Credit Union did more than just slap a fresh new coat of paint on the building, they also retooled organizationally. They upgraded their core data processing systems, streamlined internal operations, and added new services such as private student loans, a dividend checking account, a new online mortgage resource for members, and a membership rewards program.
“By strategically planning for our growth, we have laid the foundation needed to remain a financially strong and member-focused credit union while at the same time building the platform needed to reach the next level,” explained Jarod Bach, VP of Bridge Credit Union.