Meriwest CU Puts Print Ads on Hold, Grows Loans via Email
To find out which existing members would likely consider switching certain products at other financial institutions, Meriwest Credit Union discovered it could woo them without having to buy print or media advertising.
The $1 billion cooperative in San Jose, Calif., said it set out to analyze members’ credit usage and look for cost-effective ways to gain wallet share without using print or media ads.
Meriwest said utilizing the latest in analytic technologies and electronic marketing, it was able to identify members with car loans, mortgages and credit cards at other institutions, and who would most likely consider switching to Meriwest.
Through a series of focused and tailored email campaigns, electronic messaging and awareness, such as “Shrink your Payment” and “Auto FICO,” those members were invited to save money by moving their loans and credit cards to Meriwest where they would have better rates and lower payments on their outstanding balances, according to the credit union.
As a result of the email campaigns, which kicked off in early 2012, Meriwest said it refinanced $5.3 million in auto loans for those members who took advantage of the offer to move their loans. This was a $3.6 million increase in direct auto loan production over the same time period last year, said Julie Kirsch, chief operating officer at Meriwest.
The campaigns also targeted members with credit cards and mortgages at other institutions. That campaign resulted in nearly 70 new credit card holders and $9.1 million in refinanced mortgages for Meriwest Mortgage, the mortgage lending subsidiary of Meriwest, according to Kirsch.
The credit union did not buy any print or media ads in 2012, said Tony Cortez, vice president of marketing for Meriwest. Had it done so for these campaigns, based on previous advertising plans, estimated total costs would have been approximately $50,000 to $75,000, he added.
“Not only did we increase our market share and our loan balances, we created a closer relationship with these members,” Cortez said. “Because we offered them the opportunity of a better rate and lower payments, to many of our members we are no longer just a credit union; these members see us as a valued financial solutions provider.”
Meriwest has not completely abandoned print and media ads. Cortez said the credit union has funds designated for both areas in 2013 and usage and placement will be identified going forward.