For starters, the $240 OMNI has rebranded the special $750,000 dividend as a "cash rebate" and is calling the stipend part of the credit union's own "economic stimulus package" to help Michigan consumers cope with the state's economic downturn. OMNI said it is one of only a handful in the state to actually pay a dividend based on performance.
OMNI also contends it has developed what it calls a special technique for payouts based on the "total account relationship" by incorporating all loan, savings and checking balances.
"The greater the relationship the larger the rebate," promised OMNI, which said qualifying members will receive an extra 0.22% back on their 2009 average yearly loan and account balances. In 2008, OMNI paid out 0.20% or $650,000.
Ted Parsons, president/CEO, said his credit union, with 15% capital, has been fortunate because of some "prudent steps we've taken in our portfolio and revenue stream" to ride out the economic storm in Michigan, a state where unemployment stands at 15%.
Parsons credited his chief marketing officer, Chris Overbeek, and a management team with coming up with the graduated payout schedule and renaming the special dividend as a cash rebate, something that "has a lot more relevance to the public today."
"We have always emphasized the importance of recognizing our members for trusting us as their primary financial institution," said Parsons in a press release. "Instead of just saying so, we do something to show it."
The credit union, which has 33,000 members, is also promoting a Web site, www.omnicashback.com, for members to calculate their rebate and potential members to calculate how much of the dividend they would receive if they transferred their existing accounts to OMNI.
In the two years since it started paying dividends, OMNI said it has now "given back more than $1.4 million to its members."
Unlike a number of Michigan credit unions suffering economic pain from auto plant closings, OMNI, despite its own challenges, has enjoyed a great year and expects to post roughly $1.6 million in net income, said Parsons.
In another tweak to the cash rebate promotion, as suggested by the marketing department and implemented this year, Parsons is the first voice heard on the CU's message line.
"Hi, I'm Ted Parsons, CEO of OMNI Community Credit Union" the message begins. Then Parsons describes the CU staff as the "cash back experts." After a plug for the dividend, Parsons directs callers to the standard "hit two for loans" routine.