ABNB CU Is Putting The Mon(ey) In Mondays

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CHESAPEAKE, Va.-Ask members what they'd do if they were CEO of their credit union for a day, and they might say they'd give themselves a little more money back.

ABNB FCU asked that question during a focus group session and one member recommended that the credit union hold a weekly cash giveaway. CEO Carl Ratcliff and Director of Marketing Kelli Ragland thought it was a good idea. So the $350-million credit union is running Free Money Mondays, giving away $500 to two members each week from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31-$13,000 in total.

"There's no better advertising than word of mouth," offered Ratcliff, who said the promo has created a buzz within the membership. "Members are a little surprised when we first let them know they've won $500. They ask us what else they need to do to get the money. When they get the cash in their hands they understand there are no strings, and really appreciate what the credit union has done for them."

Each week ABNB rewards members who have a checking account-one existing member and one new member. The CU's IT team randomly generates 20 member numbers, 10 current members and 10 new, and ABNB draws two names.

Ratcliff said the objective is to get members talking about the credit union within the community to drive growth, and to reward existing members. ABNB is advertising on TV and radio, and is using newspapers and statement stuffers "Monday never looked so good," the ads say.

Ragland said the money for Free Money Mondays comes from the marketing budget and would have been used for community involvement had the giveaway not run. The credit union does not disperse an annual bonus dividend. "We hope to get some media attention from this," added Ragland. "We have not as yet, but it's early."

When ABNB designed the promo, it was aware of other credit union cash giveaways, many handing out $100 at a time. "But we did not think that was enough to make an impact with members, the community, and the media," Ragland said.

Ratcliff said the credit union broke contest rules on the first Free Money Monday, giving $500 to the individual who came up with the idea. "We called him up and told him to stop by the credit union and we'd hand him $500. He asked why, and we reminded him of his idea. He was stunned the amount was $500, and thanked us. That's exactly the kind of reaction we want to get members talking. It's a simple idea, but it works."

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