Montgomery County Employees Federal Credit Union’s next credit card balance transfer promotion will revolve around a simple, sweet treat – cupcakes.
“Who doesn’t love cupcakes?” says Jim Norris, the credit union’s CEO. The promotion, which is launching this month and will run for 2012, will offer Georgetown Cupcakes to members. Campaign materials will feature a logo with a cupcake holding a zero-shaped candle, to underscore that the introductory APR on balance transfers will be 0%. There’s no balance transfer fee and no annual fee. “We’re going to be playing up the cupcake theme and really having some fun with it. We’re hoping to top $1 million in balances this campaign.”
The cupcake campaign is just the latest in a string of successful promotions designed to snare more credit card wallet share from members. The last promotion, called “Think Pink,” offered a 2.99% introductory APR on balance transfers for nine months through August 2011 and drew $750,000 in new balances for Montgomery County Employees FCU ($81.4M, Germantown, MD), Norris says.
Executives chose the “Think Pink” theme to underscore its slogan telling members with credit cards at other institutions to “Hand them their pink slip.” It was a promotion designed in part to leverage some of the growing consumer sentiment against high fees and lofty interest rates, but it expanded into a community outreach campaign.
The pink theme soon doubled as a way for the credit union to donate funds for a member firefighter’s charity, For 3 Sisters, which raises awareness about breast cancer. The credit union donated $50 with each new credit card account, which drew a total of $4,000 for member Firefighter Marshall Moneymaker, whose three sisters died from breast cancer. Finally, it provided a $1,250 sponsorship to card service specialist, Jessica Clay, who participated in Susan G. Komen three-day walk.
Montgomery County Employees FCU welcomed a 19% credit card loan growth at midyear 2011, landing it in the top 50 highest performing credit unions in that area, according to Callahan & Associates’ 2012 Credit Union Directory, and Norris says he expects the credit union to shore up about 35% in credit card loan growth in 2012, thanks in part to the upcoming cupcake 0% APR promotion.
“Credit cards are very important because they’re a relationship service,” Norris says. “A member with a credit card will have two times the number of services in that household as a member that does not have that credit card.”
A previous campaign in fall of 2010 offered members a balance transfer of 5.99% for 12 months and generated $500,000 in balance transfers. Norris attributes part of each balance transfer campaigns’ successes to the credit union’s incentive program for employees, which rewards the entire staff with cash once blanace transfer goals are met.
Despite its strong credit card growth in recent years, Montgomery County Employees FCU, with 13,439 members as of the third quarter of 2011, has plenty of room to continue focusing on balance transfer promotions, Norris says. The credit union has a 16% penetration rate, with about 60% of members holding credit cards with other institutions. Also, it’s been ramping up its marking efforts in the past year, including with a radio commercial that aired 300 times in its market area.
“We’ve had success with the balance transfer but we know we’re not going to be able to do this forever,” Norris says. “We’re going to work with this while we have momentum, but we’re going to change our strategies as we move along.”