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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Members Credit Union knew it could count on one cuddly brown bear to draw younger members. “When we first launched the club in September 2001 it became immediately apparent that there were two things many of our members did not know,” said IMCU Assistant Vice President of Credit Union Development Donna Hasty. “One is that their children or grandchildren could join the credit union and two was the adults could split their direct deposit to another credit union account number for the child.” According to Hasty establishing a children’s club for those under the age of 12 could help address both issues. In less than a month, the “Cubbie Club” became a reality. The marketing team created a brochure, newsletter, Cubbie Club membership card and coin savers in-house. The credit union even designed a Cubbie Bear costume, which was sewn by a teller’s mom and is proudly worn by fellow business development staffer Shallon Vandervort. “We wanted to establish the club as economically as possible while keeping the physical maintenance of the program to a minimum,” said Hasty. In just 60 days over 1,800 new Cubbie Club accounts were opened-exceeding the goal by 142%. The average cost per account for the promotion was just under $8.00. Since the initial drive the maintenance costs have been miniscule says Hasty. Promotions have included coloring and essay contests, statement messages with birthday wishes and Student Power, the club’s Web site. On Cubbie’s birthday a drawing is held to give one lucky club member a $500 savings bond. Cubbie Club’s popularity continues to grow averaging 210 new accounts each month. The club’s mascot makes an appearance at all special events, community functions and local hospitals. “A surprising bonus is the fact grandparents are our most eager participants, setting up accounts for all their grandchildren with payroll splits going to each grandchild’s account,” said Hasty. To date, IMCU has 7,603 Cubbie Club members with an average balance of $723. “These Cubbie Club accounts are so important, sure they are not `profitable’ but the big thing is that it does promote a sense of family and camaraderie,” said Hasty. “The best part is that when these kids turn 27 is when they come back to us and become profitable. I don’t know what it is about accounts opened by their parents or grandparents but the kids keep those accounts forever.” The credit union is now hoping for an equal success with university students when it launches its teen/student program in mid-July. [email protected]

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