Credit unions are making more progress competing with banks on fees.
Foolproof, the Florida-based financial literacy and advocacy initiative, said its creative team has launched a turnkey “Ditch Your Bank” campaign aimed at recruiting at least one credit union in every state. Each CU signed on will have the use of the ‘DitchYourBank.com” web address to draw potential new members.
Over the Fourth of July, the $1.2 billion BayPort CU of Newport News, Va. which started its “Ditch Your Bank” campaign a month ago on a website and in radio/TV spots, began running teaser ads in movie theaters. It had more than 22 CU volunteers pump $20 in free gas for 150 non-members in a promotion co-sponsored by a local radio station at a Hampton Roads convenience store. A plane trolled the beaches with a banner.
“The first person was in line for the gas at 3 a.m.” said Marilyn Bennett, creative services administrator. Thousands on the beaches from Buckroe to Newport Beach also saw the CU’s 50-foot, black and white banner flying from an airplane that circled the skies for two hours.“The banner was dramatic,” said Monte Crowl, BayPort marketing director. “It just was a great teaser! The banner only said, “ditchyourbank.com” and was impossible to miss.” The campaign is slated to continue until the fall “and maybe indefinitely,” Crowl concluded.
Additionally, the $1.3 billion Educators CU of Racine, Wis. said its “Bank Free” viral/blogging campaign, just six months old, has brought 4,800 new members into the CU. This is halfway toward 11,000 members the CU wants to draw through the program by the end of 2011..
A separate “Fast Lane Financing” initiative with an eye on small business lending has surpassed $8 million in outstandings on a $15 million target, the CU added.
Meanwhile, the $1 billion Gesa CU of Richland, Wash. said its humorous online “Ditch and Switch to Gesa” blitz has already made robust gains in membership by attacking banks on their higher fees.
“I know there are some who shy away from hitting the banks on these fees but we don’t agree,” said a spokesman noting that Chase has recently tested in Washington state and in Arizona $8-$10 fees for restricted checking accounts. Gesa “will wait as long as we can and see what happens in the market before we come in but we do expect to offer a much better deal than the banks,” said the spokesman.