EFCU Promotional Tie-In With NBA Team Credited For Loan, Deposit Increases

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Energy First CU's "Slam Dunk Services" promotion has been seeing nothing but net-net increases, that is, in loans, checking accounts and new members.

The credit union has tied itself in with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers by going a step beyond the basketball terminology in its promotional materials: it also gave away tickets to Lakers games and autographed memorabilia, as well.

"The Lakers theme is popular with both members and staff," said VP-Marketing Darlene Diamond. "With Sempra Energy as a founding partner of the Staples Center (home of the LA Lakers) and one of our primary sponsors, the theme was a natural tie in."

EFCU worked with Simon and Associates to put together the promotion that has led to increases in a variety of products and services by making members eligible to win prizes when they open select loans, checking, debit cards, and by referring potential members.

The promotion is designed to allow the credit union to change the featured products from quarter to quarter.

Energy First is marketing the promotion through direct mailings, statement inserts, web promotions, newsletter updates, branch merchandising and signage at SEG locations.

While final numbers won't be available until early 2005, Energy First reported seeing increases across several product categories.

"We started offering VISA credit cards last September, and they got off to a slow start," said EFCU's Sheila Tetangco. "We have definitely seen those cards come alive since we started this promotion back in January. We've also seen increases in HELCs and big growth in the number of referrals. Our auto loans have surpassed the goals we set for them."

The credit union gave away one pair of Lakers tickets a month. "These seats are 10 rows behind Magic Johnson," Tetangco noted, referring to the former Lakers player and coach.

The credit union is tracking the promotion's progress and its impact on key products and services, but the numbers won't be available until later in the year.

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