Landings' Million Dollar Idea Yields $400K
Landings Credit Union’s latest loan campaign is a million dollar idea.
The $135 million credit union’s Million Dollar Summer Loan Program, which offers micro loans up to $2,000 at 15% APR for 24 months, was scheduled to run through Friday … or until members borrow a total of $1 million.
One member used a micro loan to take a dream vacation, another borrowed money to rebuild credit and a third purchased an engagement ring, the credit union said.
“Rather than put these expenses on credit cards or go to payday loan locations, which charge much higher interest rates and tend to have negative impacts on credit, Landings Credit Union has a program that is designed for those needs, in a structure that puts the borrower in a better position,” said David Rindone, director of marketing for the Tempe, Ariz.-based cooperative.
Based on current projections, Landings expects to fund about 100 micro loans, totaling $200,000, by the end of the promotion, Rindone said.
“The Million Dollar promo drove a lot of traffic, even though some people got put into other loan products,” he said. “Subtracting the previous month’s loan volume before the Million Dollar Summer Loan promo began, we are up over $400,000 in loans this month.”
The surge in lending at Landings CU seems to be following a national trend. Credit unions of all sizes reported positive loan growth in CUNA Mutual Group’s August Credit Union Trends Report.
At Landings, the Million Dollar Summer Loan Program is the evolution of other highly successful short-term loan programs that have been overwhelmingly well received and produced impressive ROI, Rindone said.
Landings, formerly Tempe Schools Credit Union, launched the first similar program in summer of 2012. The Monsoon Micro Loan campaign made a big splash with 140 loans, totaling $350,000, funded in less than three weeks, he said.
“Word of mouth took over as members and new members told their friends and families,” Rindone recalled.
After the initial landslide of applications, the cooperative took a step back to evaluate the program.
Of the 140 loans made that summer, 96.5% will pay off without delinquencies and, after calculating for estimated loss at 3%, the two-year net income will be approximately $27,000, Rindone said.
“Even though the rapid response to our Monsoon Micro Loan had us putting on the brakes, it was a great learning experience into a new environment that warrants a little more risk on our end,” he explained. “After evaluating the initial program, it was determined that the parameters that we initially had in place were sufficient for the risk and we ran the program again.”
The Holiday Loan program in 2013 funded 112 loans, totaling $208,000, Rindone said.
After calculating for estimated loss at 3%, the two-year net income will be about $12,000, he said.
“The popularity of those two programs was so great, Landings decided to launch the Million Dollar Summer Loan,” Rindone explained.
The credit union only spent about $1,000 each for the first two promotions, but the marketing budget was boosted to $2,500 for the summer promotion, he said.
Rindone encourages other institutions to embrace innovative lending ideas.
“My advice to other credit unions is simply to work with your executive team to find a way to offer a simple loan product that more people, rather than less people, can take advantage of,” he said. “People who were denied loans everywhere else who took advantage of one of these micro loans are now some of our biggest cheerleaders.”