'Naked Checking' Strips Away All Fees

Kansas CU scores with G-rated campaign that tugs at pet lovers' heartstrings.

June 10, 2013

After demonstrating how to bank online in your pajamas in the 1990s, a Kansas credit union is now encouraging everyone to get naked. Naked Checking, that is.

The sales campaign has caught the attention of consumers in the competitive Wichita market, thanks to an amusing, G-rated twist that tugs at pet lovers’ heartstrings.

Naked, in this usage, represents the bare truth of $74 million asset Central Star Credit Union’s absolutely no- strings-or-fees-attached checking.

The star of the campaign is a hairless dog that adorns billboards and promotional materials. Central Star donates $1 to the Kansas Humane Society every time a current or new member drops off a dog toy or treat at one of its two branches. A hairless cat will take center stage soon, promising to keep the campaign purring through the summer.

In the campaign’s first month, Central Star opened 75 new accounts, with a penetration of 4.96 services per new member, and generated $200,000 in loans associated with those accounts.

CEO Lee Williams believes in pushing the envelope to distinguish Central Star from the competition. The goal is to make a deep impression with a humorous touch and a community-minded undertone.

“We’re a little different. Always have been, always will be,” Williams says.

“In today’s busy world for a consumer, the first thing to do is get their attention, whether you’re a financial institution or a soup salesman. That’s what we try to do: Get their attention, then go for the jugular and save them money and earn their business.”