The 2,700 member Vermont VA Federal Credit Union has turned a more or less permanent evergreen tree in its lobby into a mortgage marketing vehicle.
The tree had been first introduced into the lobby of the $20 million CU as a Christmas tree but then became a vehicle for celebrating other holidays such as Easter, St. Patrick's Day and Memorial Day.
To promote its mortgage program, which it offers through a relationship with CU Members Mortgage, the CU hung wooden houses from the tree to prompt members to ask about the CU's mortgage services and CEO Sandi White said the effort has drawn significant attention and applications from members.
“Because of this tree we have had more activity with our mortgage products then we’ve ever had,” White said. “So we’ve certainly gotten their attention with this tree, as it leads members to ask about our lending products at the teller window. This inquiry presents the opportunity for the member to apply for a home loan, which is great for both parties. Now, because of the tree, our members are tuned in to knowing that we do all types of lending.”
White added that it’s still too early to track mortgage application results, as those numbers should materialize in time over the next few months. But she said activity is definitely up.
“The members keep coming in to see what’s up with the tree,” White says. “They love it. They even come in and take pictures of it.”
In keeping with that theme, the credit union created two money trees with fake money and stretchable $1.00 bills attached to it showing how members can “stretch their money as far as it can go.” These trees have also prompted numerous lending questions from members.
“Overall, the trees have been a win for both the credit union and members,” White adds. “It’s a great morale booster for our staff creating the new trees, as it’s really created a strong bond between them. For our members, again, they’ve been asking about what we’re up to next with the tree and it really brings a smile to their faces when they walk through the door and first see it.”