The other week our own Sarah Simmons and Keith Metz-Porozni had the opportunity to attend the annual Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Spectrum Awards at Hotel Monaco in Portland, Ore., with our client First Tech Federal Credit Union. The Mountain View, Calif.-based CU claimed two awards at the banquet, taking home the Public Relations Honorable Mention Award and the Annual & Sustainability Reports First Place Award for credit unions with more than $500 million in assets.

Within the PR category, the independent judging panel praised First Tech and MasterCard for breaking through the clutter in what was ultimately a complex security story. In the fall of 2015 First Tech conducted the first pilot program in North America using a new MasterCard biometrics payment method that utilizes fingerprint scanning and self portraits to verify online payments for fraud prevention. To breathe excitement and context into the news, we seeded the program to press as ‘selfie pay’ to generate buzz on the back of a pop culture phenomenon—securing a host of top-tier national placements from press that had never covered First Tech before, including Business Insider, The Daily Mail and MarketWatch. In the first week we generated more than 40 million impressions across 51 placements nationwide. 

The judges also praised First Tech for the elegant design and wealth of information articulated in its annual Community Engagement Report—a project between our R/West creative team and the community relations staff at First Tech. It’s an excellent capstone to all the amazing work First Tech employees and member volunteers do for their communities, last year completing more than 20,000 hours of volunteer service while contributing $1.7 million in donations. 

Although based in Silicon Valley, First Tech maintains a sizable presence in the Northwest as the employee credit union for tech powerhouses Microsoft, Amazon, Intel and more. And having worked together for more than a decade, we’re as excited as ever to help sustain First Tech’s rapid growth while leading the credit union industry forward through creative marketing execution. 

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R/West’s Keith Metz-Porozni (second from left) joined Jack Weldon (left), First Tech VP of marketing, and Brian Ziff-Levine (second from right), director of cards and payments at First Tech, on stage with Troy Stang (right), president and CEO of NWCUA, to collect the Public Relations Spectrum Award for our work with First Tech and MasterCard on the “Selfie Pay” PR campaign.