When Listerhill Credit Union ($471M, Sheffield, AL) gets rolling on an idea, good things happen for everyone involved. So when the credit union decided to launch a growth initiative, it had no trouble recruiting resources from within its own walls and the community it serves.
“Everything has kind of snowballed and it all keeps building,” says Amber Morgan James, director of business development. Already spearheading the Alabama segment of “Young & Free,” a national Gen Y-oriented program, the credit union recently turned its sights on a membership drive intended to benefit Gen Y as well as its entire community base.
“We wanted to get in the school systems and get the financial literacy concept out there, but at the same time, have some type of reward or benefit for the school,” James says. Additionally, the program needed a way to secure deeper member relationships.
“Members may only have a share saving account or an auto loan,” says James, echoing the concerns of many credit unions in a nationally deposit-heavy environment. “For members that felt their needs were better served at another institution or a bank, we wanted to make them realize we are just as competitive and offer the same services.”
To encourage deeper relationships, the credit union created “Pick 5,” an all-inclusive account that bundles a share account, a checking account, a debit card, online banking, and eStatements. New members, of course, can take advantage of the array of products. But the credit union is also reaching out to existing members who are less connected.
Members earn 5% APY on their first $1,000 in savings. “We wanted to reinforce the importance of saving money during this crucial time,” James says. And for every new account opened or account transferred, the credit union is donating $50 dollars to a local public, private, or collegiate school of the member’s choice.
“The whole program focuses on member retention and making a positive impact on the community while helping members obtain the most out of their accounts,” James says.
The credit union is partnering with area schools to increase financial literacy and promote better money management. In this relationship, the credit union and the students benefit, but Listerhill also wants to give back to the schools. The Pick 5 initiative is a perfect way to do this. The credit unions is donating $5,000 to the school that opens the most Pick 5 accounts per percentage of student body and five runners up will receive $1,000 each.
So far, the top contender – Hamilton High School – has nearly one Pick 5 account per every five students. “We have a lot of those [participants] in the smaller communities,” James says. “They’ve probably done better because, to them, the money was really important.”
To get the word out about the initiative, the schools sent flyers home with students and recruited faculty and students to open accounts. Listerhill representatives also visited schools and its employees took up a large part of the promotional torch.
Employees, incentivized by group benefits such as a company-wide picnic (or “hootenanny”), used a grassroots approach to promote Pick 5, James says. They reached out to friends, family, and neighbors to open accounts.
Since its inception in April 2009, the Pick 5 program has generated 983 new members and 1,666 opened accounts. The promotion will continue through the end of October, but it’s not just Pick 5 accounts that are benefiting from the credit union’s deeper relationship with area schools. The credit union’s product geared toward 15- to 29-year-olds – The Hill – is marketed to Gen Y segments via Young & Free promotions, which include a free concert and VIP pass giveaways. The addition of the Pick 5 promotion has boosted enrollment in Hill accounts by roughly 400.
“There’s a benefit for every member,” James says. The appeal of the promotion transcends all age barriers. Even the retired segment of the community, with kids or grandkids in school, wants to give back, she says.