Computer simulations, analytical ESPN pundits and even psychic cats have already predicted which college football team will win Monday’s much-anticipated BCS National Championship Game between the University of Alabama and the University of Notre Dame.
But now, perhaps a friendly contest between the $537 million Alabama Credit Union in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the $437 million Notre Dame Federal Credit Union in South Bend, Ind., may become the new prognosticator of the outcome of the national football champion game.
If so, it appears that the Fighting Irish will defeat the Crimson Tide. But Alabama CU said you shouldn’t place your wagers too fast against the defending college football champions.
Notre Dame FCU President/CEO Tom Gryp challenged Steve Swofford, his counterparts at Alabama CU, to see which credit union could get the most credit card applications by midnight Jan. 7.
Both credit unions agreed to contribute $5,000 toward the prize. The champion will receive the full $10,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.
Since the contest launched on Dec. 12, both credit unions have been marketing the credit card contest to rally their members through direct mail, branch posters, Facebook, Twitter, and good old word-of-mouth marketing.
And as of noon Monday the score was 305 credit card applications for NDFCU and 245 credit card applications for ACU.
But with less than 12 hours to go, ACU predicted the Crimson Tide would overtake the Fighting Irish.
“Let me tell you. We are going to catch up with them,” said Kelley Jones, ACU’s marketing coordinator. “We don’t have all of our credit card applications counted yet from Friday.”
The contest is closer than what the number of applications show, however.
“We decided to determine the winner based on the number of applications we both get in as a percentage of the number of members, as opposed to a pure number because we (NDFCU) are larger than they are. We want to make it fair,” explained Deidre J. Davis, senior vice president for marketing and member experience at NDFCU. “We are at .56% and they are at .49%, which is only the difference of 32 applications and that’s what scares me.”
ACU has 49,455 members and NDFCU serves 62,779 members.
“Go Irish Beat Bama” reads a poster graphic on NDFCU’s Facebook page.
“The Luck of the Irish Stops Here,” boasts a poster graphic on ACU’s Facebook page.
NDFCU said its social media exploded right after the credit card contest began Dec. 12.
“Our Facebook total likes during the promotion went up by approximately 2% (42 new likes – total is now 1375),” said Davis. “However, the engagement level (people talking with/about us) went through the roof – from 158 people on average per week to 2,597 per week. Our reach (the number of people seeing our posts) also increased from a weekly average of 2,435 to 30,866 – almost 1,200%.” The credit union also had 37 Twitter retweets/favorites, which is up from approximately one to two retweets/favorites.
Regardless of who wins the BCS championship, both credit unions are going to be the big winners.
On a regular month, NDFCU processes about 185 credit card applications. ACU has about 65 average monthly credit card applications.
“We are thrilled with the number of credit cards we have opened,” said Jones. “We have almost tripled our average monthly credit card applications. Credit cards have almost become the forgotten loans that a lot of credit unions are going to be focusing on this year. This was an early push for us. We didn’t invest that much but we’ve had fantastic results.”
“It truly is a friendly competition. Both of us are going to do better when we get more credit card applications in,” said Davis. “So we really want each other to succeed, and the contest just adds a little more flair and it gets our members, and even non-members involved. “