Nov. 5, 2012 marked the first anniversary of Bank Transfer Day, a national grass-roots social media movement that motivated 664,000 consumers to join credit unions, leaving their rising big bank fees behind. What’s more, Bank Transfer Day’s unprecedented and widespread media coverage told the story of credit unions as a better alternative to banks.
But will credit unions be able to build on the movement’s momentum and expand its positive message to keep attracting new members and grow deposits and assets?
Some credit union leaders say Bank Transfer Day, one year later, still represents an extraordinary opportunity to craft a central and continuous marketing message that will keep the positive credit union brand in front of the public for years to come. Others argue the day was just a one-off event that will eventually fade away.
Indeed, the momentum did carry through in 2012. In October, 56% of credit unions said members’ growth in the past year has exceeded expectations, and 55% of credit unions said accounts have been increasing among new members, according to a survey by NAFCU.
“BTD has been a game changer longer term because it increased the awareness of credit unions as an alternative to big banks,” said Jerry Schmitt, vice president of marketing for the $4.8 billion Bethpage Federal Credit Union in Bethpage, N.Y. “We had incredible numbers on BTD and throughout that week. This year we decided to continue leveraging BTD in our marketing during the anniversary. We see it as another opportunity to remind people about the credit union difference that helps us attract new members.”
Troy Hall, chief operations officer for $1.3 billion South Carolina Federal Credit Union in North Charleston, S.C., said he believes that through collaborative marketing efforts, credit unions can reap the benefits of using a simple call-to-action tagline, Every Day Is Bank Transfer Day.
“If we already understand that Everyday is Bank Transfer Day is a viable conversation in the marketplace, then why wouldn’t we do it?” asked Hall. “That is the whole idea–to leverage the conversation, the message that is relevant and valuable in the marketplace. This is the opportunity for us to make this voice really loud and powerful in the marketplace.”
Among the transfer day Scrooges was Ron Shevlin. In his June 18 blog, the Aite Group senior analyst "credit unions themselves did diddly-squat to create or promote BTD.”