PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Days before the NFL playoffs kicked off, more than 250 members of Northeast Credit Union were poised to reap the benefits of a Super Bowl win should their team take home the coveted prize in February. Since Dec. 18, $388 million Northeast Credit Union has been running a CD promotion special that works like this: members and non-members can invest a minimum of $500 in a 16-month CD, which carries a 3.05% annual percentage yield. They then pick the team that will make it to the Super Bowl. If they’re correct, the APY gets bumped up to 3.41%. If their team actually wins, the APY jumps to 3.82%. Winners’ accounts are credited retroactively to the date they opened them. At last check, more than 250 members and non-members had invested $1.7 million in the CDs, said Tony Popielarz, the credit union’s assistant vice president of marketing. The highest CD investment has been $150,000, with the average being about $10,000. “We were hoping for a large response and (last) week, we saw it,” Popielarz said. Even though the promotion was scheduled to end on Jan, 8, which marks the start of the NFL playoffs, the credit union is considering extending the promotion throughout that period. “We’re thinking people may have a better idea of who will win (as the playoffs go along),” Popielarz said. So far, 90% of CD investors have tapped the home town favorite New England Patriots to take it all the way, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts have also received at least one pick in the promotion, Popielarz said. Twelve teams are vying for the Super Bowl win. Northeast CU ran a similar promotion in 1998 when the Patriots were Bowl contenders that year but lost. Still, the promotion brought in $18 million in CD deposits, Popielarz recalled. “Interest rates were much higher then and we ran the promotion for a longer period of time,” Popielarz said. For this year’s go-around, besides advertising the promotion on its Web site, Northeast CU sent out a direct mail piece to 7,000 members and non-members. It has also placed ads in three local newspapers and set up information pieces in seven branches. To cover itself, Popielarz said attorneys for Northeast CU checked to be sure it wasn’t violating any infringements with the NFL on the use of the “Super Bowl” term in its promotion. “We split up the word and made it all lower case. We tried to make it not be trademarkable,” Popielarz explained. “We’ve been very sensitive but we haven’t heard anything from the NFL” about a cease and desist. Meanwhile, CD investors have been an even mix of members and non-members, Popielarz noticed. [email protected]

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