The $1.1 billion American Heritage FCU of Philadelphia can adapt its current marketing budget to take care of Bank Transfer Day at minimum expense and still put out a strong awareness message without bank bashing.
That’s the opinion of Bruce Foulke, American Heritage’s president/CEO, who calculates a $20,000 increase in media costs on an $800,000 budget by tweaking what he calls a highly successful “Home of the Free” brand which already focuses on fee-free banking.
“We’ve had this great message out there for months carried on all our van wraps and in the ads and the only thing we have to do now in preparation for Bank Transfer Day and Occupy is to step up the pace more sharply,” Foulke said this week.
American Heritage figures it offer new members up to $130 in free services to join the CU, including direct deposit of net pay, a no-fee debit card, bill pay, e-statements and $15 incentives for new member references up to $150.
“And now I see one bank around here just said they offer $200 so that’s a bit discouraging,” lamented Foulke, adding with a laugh, “you can’t win”, in this competitive environment.
As to the debate about harsh bank attacks, Foulke said his CU tries to steer clear of the trend. “We’re very proud of our approach and I even had a banker compliment us the other day on our ‘classy’ style,” he said.
He said American Heritage does intend to take advantage of Bank Transfer Day and said, “we’ll be open as many hours as we need in our branches if the traffic is there.”
Foulke also noted that his 111,000-member credit union already has an enviable customer service record. “We were in the top 3% in Raddon’s latest survey and I’m glad of that,” he said citing research done by Raddon Financial Group of Chicago.
He said also American Heritage is in the process of hiring for its expanded network of 24 branches with three more on the drawing board. Twenty to 25 new positions are expected to be filled in the coming months, he said.