Lending Humor to Fed Loaners

By Glen Fest

DALLAS–With the research help of Levenson & Hill here, the Federal Home Loan Bank discovered that many bankers were as confused about the FHLB system as consumers.

So with tongue in cheek, Levenson and the government-sponsored home loan credit provider created a campaign that humorously educates the public by lightly ribbing the banking experts.

‘Our strategy was to use humor to turn the lack of knowledge about the bank into a vehicle for educating the financial community,’ said Levenson chairman Bill Hill.

The campaign is played out in two 30-second TV spots and print ads that will appear in the Baton Rouge, La., market for a 90-day test run. The future breakout of the series in the FHLB’s five-state territory will be determined based on the success in Baton Rouge, said L&H creative director Louis Tridico.

The FHLB of Dallas extends low-cost credit to member banks and lending institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. There are 11 Home Loan Banks, acting as private enterprises, serving different regions of the country.

In the ‘Boardroom’ commercial, a nervous assistant is asked to explain the FHLB to a group of executives after his boss takes five. As he struggles with a cracking voice and wild gyrations, a voiceover says, ‘All you need to know is that the Home Loan Bank is one of the largest lenders in the United States . . . The big question is, is your financial institution a member?’

The ‘Classroom’ spot shows a stodgy economics professor explaining the federal banking system to his students before one interrupts seeking a definition of the FHLB. The instructor, caught off guard, spies the clock indicating the period will be over in a few minutes . . . so he stalls his lesson until he can dismiss the students. ‘The Federal Home Loan Bank,’ he says, as the bell rings, ‘is a topic we will discuss next class.’

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED