Loan Volume Zooms With Offer To Win Two 'Z' Cars

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When South Carolina Federal Credit Union said it wanted members to get some Z's, it wasn't talking about sleep.

The CU with more than $900-million in assets gave away two platinum-colored Nissan 350Z automobiles as part of an eight-month-long campaign aimed at increasing loan volume during tough economic times.

"We wanted to do something different, something with high visibility that was a little edgier than promotions we've seen in the past," said Beth Jaskiewicz, senior VP of Marketing at SCFCU. "From the response we got, I'd say it worked."

For its $351,371 investment-which included the cost of both vehicles-the CU increased loan volume by 20%. That included 14,235 loans worth more than $202 million combined that met the criteria. (Loans for lesser amounts were not included in the final tally.)

Luann Jordan, marketing project manager at SFCU, said the Z promotion was launched in April of 2003 in conjunction with "rolling out a new platinum Visa credit card."

Among the 10 ways members could enter the drawing, she said, was to open a credit card account and carry a balance of at least $2,000. Other ways included taking out a first mortgage, refinancing a mortgage, using any three e-services or borrowing at least $5,000.

To advertise the giveaway, Jordan said, credit union staff took turns driving the cars-covered in vinyl shrink-wrap-to various high-profile events throughout the community. "The car was booked pretty solid with people driving it around," she said.

In addition, South Carolina Federal advertised via direct mail loan pre-approval applications, statement inserts, payroll stuffers, signs in SEG break rooms, branch posters and newspaper advertisements, she said.

The promotion ended with the presentation of the cars to two members. One winner had been a member since 1995 and qualified by opening a mortgage loan a month earlier. The other winner opened a boat loan just after becoming a member in July 2003.

Despite the success of the giveaway and a previous car giveaway one year earlier, she said, the CU doesn't have plans for another car promotion soon.

"We have other priorities this year," Jordan said.

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