We all know about Black Friday and with the dawn of internet shopping, Cyber Monday. An estimated 200 million people did some shopping on one of those two days this year. It is a forgone conclusion that among those millions of shoppers were credit union members. Many credit unions have Holiday Loans that they start marketing as Thanksgiving approaches. With any luck, credit unions members find out about the loans and come in to speak with their credit unions about getting some assistance with financing some of their purchases.
These are all wonderful things!
But one credit union took a different approach in 2011. At Montana 1st Credit Union, it was all about “Black Wednesday.” Tyler Disburg, Assistant Vice-President of Montana 1st and his creative team designed a loan promotion to be held on the day before Thanksgiving. They called it “Black Wednesday.” Members would have access to loans for new and used autos, holiday travel, and of course, that all-important shopping money! The catch – the promotional rates moved up by 25 basis points every 30 minutes. Secured loans started the day at 1.5% and unsecured loans started at 3.5%. The only exception to the promotion was that real estate loans were excluded. So essentially, the earlier members got to the credit union, the better rate they could get.
This promotion was advertised through direct mail postcards (see the picture above) and radio spots. When I asked Tyler why he and his team chose to focus on the day before Thanksgiving for such a big loan campaign he said, “in the end, we just didn’t want to compete with the retailers for consumer attention. Consumers are bombarded with all kinds of teaser sales and other advertising from retailers from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We wanted to grab our members’ attention before all of that started.”
So what were the results? According to Tyler, the credit union booked just over $2 million in new loans in 3 hours. That’s right, just over $2 million in 3 hours! Tyler also mentioned that a good percentage of the borrowers were new members.
Tyler attributes the success of this one-day loan blowout to the effort, preparedness, and enthusiasm of everyone at Montana 1st. The credit union was able to capture the attention of its market because it filled a consumer need and that resonated with people. Tyler also had some words of advice for credit unions who might want to do something similar, “get your staff motivated and prepared. This would have been a complete disaster without the commitment of our entire team.”
Hmmmm….commitment, enthusiasm, preparedness – sounds like a formula for success to me! Congratulations, Tyler and your entire team at Montana 1st. You’ve shown that with the right level of preparation and commitment, credit unions can achieve and exceed their loan goals! The secret lies within the focus.