Young & Free has landed in St. Louis courtesy of Vantage Credit Union.
The more than $642 million credit union has kicked off its search for a spokesperson to be the voice of local 18- to 25-year-olds.
The Young & Free spokesperson will attend regional events and keep YoungFreeStLouis.com fresh with videos, blogs and tips that educate, entertain and engage his or her peers.
According to Vantage Executive Vice President Eric Acree the move has been a long time coming.
"We were the first in the U.S. to sign with Currency Marketing's Young & Free but had to delay roll out because at the time we didn't have a product suite offering we thought would be unique and compelling enough," Acree said. "We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and Young & Free is such a great platform but we felt it required an equally compelling product offering."
The subsequent two-and-a-half years of research and development has resulted in the launch of the Not Your Mama's checking account and a customized online banking system geared specifically to meet the needs of the 18- to 25-year-old crowd.
"What we found in our research is that what Gen Y wants at the core is really not all that different than what all members want--to save time and save them money," Acree said. "We knew this needed to be a very sticky online relationship that is relevant and provides value to them. So we realized that what we really needed was to develop a new online banking product."
In terms of product value, the Not Your Mama's account includes a Swipe2Save debit card feature that lets members automatically save per transaction. Members specify how much they'd like to save, and that amount is automatically transferred to their regular savings from their checking every time a debit transaction clears the account. Members can also arrange for the savings transfers to stop if their checking balance dips below a pre-set amount.
Vantage envisioned an account management experience that goes beyond standard banking and bill pay capabilities. The online banking system, created in-house, includes features such as spending and saving forecasts to help with budgeting, feeds from the CU's Twitter account and website and a personal finance tool that uses keyword "tagging." The landing page incorporates everything from holds/alerts and last five transactions to upcoming bills and a quick transfer feature.
In keeping with Vantage's goal of being relevant and offering value, the landing page also displays the member's own Twitter and Facebook feeds--a first for CUs in the area.
Another first: Vantage has partnered with local merchants to offer coupons and discounts based on members' actual transaction history. The offers only appear to members who already have relationships with the businesses, so it's a win-win situation for both the members and retailers. Additionally, value-offer summaries let members know how much they've saved or could have saved based on coupons redeemed as well as Vantage offers, savings and rebates received.
"We've just rolled [the system] out recently but the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive," Acree said. "There is a bank or credit union on every corner in this area, so in this competitive space attracting the 18- to 25-year-old demographic is a priority. Our hope is by offering a winning online platform and product suite together based on what's important to them will help differentiate us from the competition."
Applications for the Young & Free spokesperson will be accepted online through noon on Monday, July 5, 2010. Online voting and job suitability will determine the winner.