Checking Results Worth Checking Out

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CINCINNATI-Two Ohio CUs are crediting new checking products for driving growth.

The $462-million Kemba CU here has been offering the 3.5% APY "Get Green Checking," and River Valley CU, Miamisburg, has offered the 4.5% APY on its "High Interest Checking" for much of 2010.

Both accounts require members to perform 12 debit transactions per month to get the high rate that is paid only on the first $25,000. Get Green members must also take direct deposit and e-statements, and use home banking once a month. High Interest Checking requires direct deposit.

What's made Get Green such a nice addition to Kemba CU, according to CEO Steve Behler, is it's mutually beneficial. "When all is said and done, this past year Get Green increased our income by $725,000. The revenue is important, but we also wanted to have a vehicle to give back to members."

Kemba has 5,250 Get Green accounts and is working to reach $6,000 in average balances; the current average is $5,700. Get Green contributed a great deal to 9.1% member growth this year.

River Valley CU introduced High Interest Checking to add new members and deepen existing relationships, which it has done, explained CEO John Bowen. "The account was doing so well we had to slow it down a bit because the large number of deposits were starting to erode our capital a little more than we'd like."

The $190-million RVCU gradually dropped the rate this year to 2.5%, where it stood at press time. Bowen said the 2.5% APY seems to be the pricing point that slows growth. An earlier spike in loan demand led RVCU to boost the rate to 2.75%, which reignited growth. RVCU is 91% loaned out.

High Interest Checking has 2,000 accounts for $25 million in total deposits, with $13,000 as the average balance.

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