CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Postal Credit Union is shining a spotlight on the latest bankers' illusion. The credit union is on a mission to show members that bankers' new spend and save debit card accounts can't measure up to good old fashioned payroll deduction saving.
To spread the savings word, CPCU is using direct mail, e-mail, banners, Web banners and a new one-stop blog for savings hints and advice at www.BrighterthanaBank.blogspot.com. In addition, recognizing the best marketing starts with employees CPCU has worked with staffers on how to approach, engage and educate members on the importance of payroll deduction.
According to CPCU Vice President of Marketing /Business Development Deb McLean, bankers' spend and save accounts "only add up to pennies a day and consumers don't get any substantial savings built up from it." For example, based on several members' accounts that CPCU compared at the end of one year's time, members on average would have saved only $180.77 with Bank of America's Keep the Change account and $452 with Wachovia's Way2Save account.
"Doesn't sound bad until you realize that if the member had only tucked away $25.00 a week at a regular savings/share account with Carolina Postal Credit Union they end up with $1,226.68 at the end of the year--more than double the banks' year-end total," said McLean." At $25 a week, or $3.34 a day or, to put it in perspective, for the price of three iTune downloads or a fast food burger and fries or a fancy coffee latte per day, you could save over $1,000 a year."
According to CPCU President/CEO Joy Watts, with the bankers' strategy the message gets confused.
" With the banks' spend and save accounts it sounds so easy, they claim that every time you use their debit card you are saving and it's not true, you do not save by spending, period. We need to re-educate our members and reinforce our message to save first, then live on the rest. We know they are brighter than the banks give them credit for and they have other alternatives, especially with payroll deduction, to save wisely."
Watts added that CPCU is tracking the payroll deductions and will measure the campaign's success by "whether or not we increase the number of deductions, not just an increase in savings balances by campaign end."