The $620 million Michigan First Credit Union of Lathrop Village is enjoying a burst of new card business–700 applications a month–from a rewards program stressing statewide tourism and patronage of local businesses.
The Experience Michigan First Rewards Visa program launched in April has boosted outstandings by $1 million, an unexpected jump on what officials described as stagnant balances over the last 10 years.
“We are shooting for $5 million more by year end,” forecast Linda Douglas, vice president of marketing. Until the start of the rewards venture, card balances have remained at around $16 million,
The campaign has been successful, said Douglas, by tapping into public support for a popular tourism TV blitz broadcast nationwide and pushed by the state over the last two years.
Individuals that use the Experience Michigan First Rewards card earn 1.5 bonus points for local purchases and build up rewards points toward statewide and national travel, shopping and attractions or to make donations to local charities, said the credit union.
“When we sat down to create a rewards credit card, we knew we wanted to encourage supporting Michigan. We love this state and know consumers want to show off their passion and pride,” said Michael Poulos, president/CEO.
The state, he said, “is making a comeback because of local institutions and local leaders we’re partnering with as part of Experience Michigan First.”