3.99% Visa Rate Is Driving Traffic

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CANTON, Ohio-First Ohio Community FCU is focused on credit cards this year to drive lending, and its 3.99% APR Visa balance transfer promo has been a great start-setting a record for the annual campaign.

The $80-million CU received its best-ever results, bringing in $175,518 from Nov. 4 to Feb 3, beating its stretch goal and last year's previous high mark of $159,000.

"This was an excellent result for us and we are optimistic about credit card opportunities this year," said Sarah Sponaugle, marketing coordinator at First Ohio.

What's interesting, and a first-time occurrence for OCFCU with its annual credit card deal, is most of the business came in after Jan. 1. "That surprised us," Sponaugle said. "We typically do a lot of volume the first two months and then business trickles in afterward. This year we started slow and then things took off in January."

Sponaugle is hoping that the results indicate members are starting to pay more attention to their credit cards, and that credit cards may be making a comeback after a couple years of debit picking up steam as members deleverage.

The campaign extends the low rate for balance transfers and cash advances completed during the campaign until August. The effort also led to 39 new Visas and 19 limits raised-results that have the CU running another card campaign. Members who take out a new Visa from March 4 to May 3 receive a 4.99% rate that's good until April 3, 2012. Sponaugle hopes the attention on Visa will spur lending in other areas, as well.

To promote its offers, OCFCU uses postcards, lobby posters, e-mail, and the credit union's newsletter, which has been gaining readership and ground as one of the better promotional avenues for the credit union.

Outside the promotions, members pay the credit union's standard 9.9% Visa rate. Sponaugle said one of the reasons behind the special offers is to help the community pay down high-interest debt.

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