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New NEFCU ad lampoons bankers

Actors as bankers sing "If I Only Had

Actors as bankers sing "If I Only Had a Heart," in a scene from a new NEFCU commercial, produced by Manhattan advertising agency DeVito/Verdi. Credit: NEFCU

NEFCU, Long Island's third-largest credit union, whose "smoke-filled room" commercial lampooned bankers as greedy and uncaring, is preparing a new salvo in its campaign to contrast its culture with that of banks.

The latest commercial, which shows three well-heeled bankers dancing and singing "If I Only Had a Heart" from "The Wizard of Oz," is scheduled to debut Monday. The 30-second spot by New York City agency DeVito/Verdi will air on sports and news channels, including ESPN, SNY, YES, CNN, CNBC, FiOS1 and News 12 Long Island, a unit of Cablevision Systems Corp., the parent of Newsday.

Eileen Nolan, senior vice president and chief branding officer at NEFCU, said the original spot, by the same agency, set the stage for the credit union's effort to contrast its services with those of banks during its run in 2013 and 2014.

It "was something very theatrical to say we can provide you with financial services with significant value," she said.

Westbury-based NEFCU, with about $2 billion in assets and 11 branches, trails two other Long Island credit unions, Teachers Federal Credit Union in Hauppauge and Bethpage Federal Credit Union in Bethpage, each with more than $5 billion in assets.

Nolan said credit unions have less than 10 percent of the LI banking market, based on a survey in which households were asked to name their primary financial institution.

"We're an alternative to banks," she said.

Last Monday, NEFCU started airing six other lighthearted 15-second informational commercials. NEFCU began in 1938 as Valley Stream Teachers Federal Credit Union and became Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union in 1981. In 2010 NEFCU, which now only uses its initials, was granted a community charter. Nolan said that widens eligibility to anyone who lives, works or worships on Long Island.

Nolan said the initial commercial in the series, in which callous bankers shuffle papers as operatic music plays in the background, introduced the not-for-profit NEFCU as an alternative that offers up to 3 percent interest on checking accounts and does not answer to shareholders.

NEFCU declined to provide the cost of producing and airing the commercials.

The latest spot concludes with three bankers converging and crooning: "I could be kinda human if I only had a heart."

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