Local By Design
Rewards program supports the local economy and nets $4 million in new credit lines.
The following is a spotlight interview with Linda Douglas, vice president of marketing, Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village.
The purpose of our CU’s “Experience Michigan First” Rewards Visa: To allow members to earn bonus points for local purchases and to build up rewards points they can use at local attractions, restaurants, shopping, and charities.
We want to support our local economy. The program adds one point for every dollar spent and 1.5 points for every dollar spent in Michigan.
How the rewards program card shows state pride: Users can choose from 12 unique photographs that capture the best of Michigan—showcasing, for example, the excitement of Greektown, the Detroit skyline, the Mackinac Bridge, or Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Our partners in the rewards program include: A variety of organizations in metro Detroit and throughout the state. We want to encourage our members to explore the state of Michigan and to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
Whether it’s a visit to the Detroit Zoo, a stay at Mackinac Island’s famous Grand Hotel, or a donation to the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, we know the program connects our members to the best of Michigan.
The rewards program has paid dividends: We’ve seen a surge of new balances and new cardholders since launching the program. We’ve opened more than 1,400 new credit cards with more than $4 million in new credit lines and $1.5 million in new balances.
We chose this type of rewards program because: A rewards program that gives back to the community aligns with our credit union’s founding principles. We believe in supporting Michigan businesses and encouraging our members to buy local and give local.
Michigan is recovering from the Great Recession: I live and work in metro Detroit, and there’s a palpable sense of energy and resurgence.
The local housing market is starting to improve, area companies are increasing their hiring, and pride in our city and state is increasing. We still have a long way to go, but it’s exciting to witness the change.
Some of my personal Michigan favorite activities: I love fall in Michigan, including University of Michigan football, my daughters’ soccer games, hayrides, cider mills, and trips to Traverse City to visit the wineries and experience the fall colors.
On a perfect day: I can combine the best of both worlds at work and at home. At the credit union, I work on exciting projects and future opportunities, and generate new ideas that help the credit union grow and succeed.
It’s very rewarding. Being able to enjoy time after work with my young daughters caps off a terrific day for me.
My favorite TV shows: I’ll admit to a few guilty pleasures. After a busy day with work and kids, I like to unwind with an “easy-to-watch” show, such as “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Private Practice”…or a culturally amusing reality show like “Project Runway,” “Survivor,” or “Dance Moms.”
My extended family is fanatical about: The University of Michigan (UM) at Ann Arbor. My grandparents met there and my grandfather worked for the university his entire career and was profiled in several books about the history of UM football.
Many family members are alums and fans. My family has had season tickets to UM football since before I was born. When my oldest daughter was a toddler, she learned to say “Go Blue” (spoken as “Mo Moo”) as one of her first phrases.
My happiest moments are spent: With my daughters—seeing them enjoying family, fun, and friends—especially when they’re experiencing activities I also enjoy. All of us are passionate about snow skiing. And we all enjoy time with our extended family.
When I see the bonds my children have with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, I feel very blessed.