FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Workers' Credit Union is working toward the goal of offering members a full-service, online branch by launching an online-exclusive savings account.
Last year, the credit union joined with uMonitor to offer online account openings but didn't have an online account available to go with it.
"We're looking to go outside our geographic footprint and reach younger more tech-savvy individuals," said Gordon Wetmore, senior vice president of marketing at Workers'.
The online account can serve as a membership account, there are no fees to open the account, no penalties for withdrawals and funds can be transferred from other financial institutions. The current rate on the account is 3.10% with a minimum deposit of $500.
Wetmore said the credit union always offered loan products online on its Web site (www.wcu.com) but was missing a deposit account online. The credit union decided to go with a savings account as its first online account because it's an easy product to get up and running due to the fact that there are no checks or debit cards to administer.
"We're also going after ING Direct products," said Chris Saari, assistant vice president of the member information center at Workers'. "There's no reason why we can't offer what they offer."
Since the credit union started offering the product on Oct. 1, they've had over 50 accounts opened and have close to $1 million in just online savings accounts. Saari said that members are providing feedback that they find it convenient, and Workers' has observed that after members have made the initial deposit into the account they're going back in and adding more money as well as opening other products that the credit union offers.
"People are learning that Workers' is a sophisticated financial institution," Saari said.
The credit union is marketing the online savings account entirely electronically. The focus is on electronically marketing the product by having pop-up ads on local radio station Web sites and using radio station e-blasts. So far they've run no print ads and have only a poster up in branches promoting the product.
Workers' has developed a relationship with the radio stations where the radio station gives Workers' the names and contact information of people that are interested in more information about the online account. Wetmore said that so far they've seen that there's range of people from ages 19-83 who are interested in the product.
"That just goes to show that people of any age are seeking us out because of this product."
Over the next few months, Workers' will also be working on increasing traffic flow to their Web site in order to generate more interest in the online products they offer. In the next six months, Wetmore said they plan to develop an online only checking account as well.