The giant number jumps right off the billboards: $47,598,899.
No, that’s not the latest New Jersey lottery prize figure.
But state residents who type in the mysterious URL on these billboards (whyitsimportant.com) feel like they’ve hit the jackpot. They discover that’s how much New Jersey’s credit unions saved them last year through lower fees and rates than banks, and the competitive pricing they prompt in the financial services marketplace.
The campaign, launched in February during Super Bowl XLVIII in the New York metropolitan area, redirects consumers to BankingYouCanTrust.com, a consumer awareness site spawned by the New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL).
The site drew nearly 6,000 unique visitors and more than 11,000 page views during the first quarter of 2014, its best quarterly showing ever. The league attributes more than 56% of the Web traffic in that time to those who passed the billboards while in auto traffic.
“We kept the billboard campaign a secret so we could analyze the impact and success of the campaign without too many credit union folks visiting the site upon launch,” says Candice Nigro, NJCUL’s director of marketing and communications.
The website contains a call to action to search for a credit union that best fits the individual’s needs. Nearly 25% of visitors introduced through the billboard campaign did so. Notably, that group also spent significantly longer on the site—nearly four minutes—than people who arrived through other advertising outlets.
‘Repo’ Resell Program Turns Lemons Into Lemonade
Repossessing a vehicle is a bad situation for both the credit union and the member. But GROhio Community Credit Union has fashioned some lemonade out of lemons thanks to a novel program.
Rather than send the often-rundown vehicles to auction for pennies on the dollar, the $9 million asset credit union in Mans field, Ohio, repairs, details, and sells them to members, while offering 2% annual percentage rate loans.
“It’s kind of a win-win-win,” says Jeff Green, CEO and the Ohio Credit Union League’s 2014 Credit Union Professional of the Year.
The credit union more easily recoups money that otherwise goes to third parties. The member-buyers make lower payments than on comparable vehicles. And the member whose car gets repossessed only owes the credit union the difference between the sale price and the outstanding loan.
For example, GROhio Community is spending $3,500 to recondition a car that likely will sell for $6,000, rather than the $450 it would’ve generated from the local scrap yard.
“I’ve been here 14 years, and we’ve sold about 100 cars and had only one come back,” Green says.
Almost half of GROhio Community’s loans are “D” and “E” paper. Not only are the credit union’s 1,657 members intensely loyal, area auto dealers and banks refer customers they can’t help.
“A day does not go by when we don’t get a referral,” Green says. “That tells me we’re doing something right.”
Credit unions that go above and beyond in looking out for members’ interests demonstrate the principles of the national Unite for Good campaign—removing barriers, creating awareness, and fostering service excellence.
The campaign, launched by CUNA and the state leagues, rallies credit unions to work toward the goal in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner. Here’s how these credit unions demonstrate the Unite for Good objectives.
With the first of four debates between presidential and vice presidential candidates kicking off Monday night, CUNA is launching the next phase of its "Strong Credit Unions. Strong Middle Class" campaign, allowing stakeholders to share the credit union message.
CUNA continues to push for a delay in the Department of Labor’s overtime rule so the agency has time to fully assess the impact the plan would have on credit unions, especially smaller ones and those in non-metropolitan areas.