In an apparent trend reversal, the $1 billion Pen Air Federal Credit Union of Pensacola, Fla. announced Thursday it is starting a new point-based rewards program covering a full product line including checking, savings and loans.
Under a hookup with CURewards, the Visa program, Pen Air said it would be offering points to its members under the “Premier Relationship Rewards” brand.
Ron Fields, president/CEO, said Pen Air was debuting the program at a time “many other financial institutions are cutting back on services or charging additional fees,”
A spokeswoman noted the general trend in the Florida panhandle among banks and CUs has been to eliminate or reduce rewards programs. The largest banks, as widely reported, have been eliminating free checking and related benefits.
“We decided the time is right for us,” she said. Launched May 2, Premier Relationship Rewards “allows Pen Air FCU members to accumulate points for different credit union products and services they use, and then redeem them through CURewards for travel, merchandise and more.”
“Pen Air is pleased to be in a position where we can give back to our members for their loyalty,” Fields said. “Pen Air not only continues with free checking and other services, but we’ve added a way for members to receive even greater benefits” through the rewards program.
William Handel, vice president of research for the Chicago-based Raddon Financial Group consulting firm, said Pen Air was indeed charting a different course from other financial institutions “as banks and credit unions try to deal with so much uncertainty as a result of Dodd-Frank.”