Lost Marbles All Part of The Cards

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Only one person sharing a Best Practices strategy with The Credit Union Journal's Conference here lost her marbles-but then she had planned it all along.

In this case the marbles were part of the marketing that surrounded Dupont Community Credit Union's effort to reinvigorate its card portfolio. The goal was to increase balances by $4.7 million by offering a 2.99% VISA Platinum supported by three direct mail campaigns and assistance from PSCU-Financial Services. Also providing marketing support were web banners, posters, brochures and credit card statement inserts. But perhaps most memorable were the bags of marbles distributed to members by credit union employees, as the campaign theme was "A Credit Card Promotion SO GREAT You'll Think We've Lost Our Marbles."

DuPont sent mailings to 10,000 pre-screened members and staggered them to help the teller line handle the influx of applications. When members saw the 2.99% rate, the program took off, Cook said, and the credit union soon had to deal with response levels that put a strain on DCCU's ability to process applications. "We definitely blew that $4.7 million out of the water," noted VP of Marketing Suzie Cook.

In two months, credit card balances increased by $15 million and began to generate positive revenue after five months. After DuPont lost its marbles, credit card penetration per household rose to 37% from 33%; balances increased to $2,977 from $1,777, and the percentage of households with loans rose four percentage points to 54%.

Over a six-month period, Cook said DuPont Community's portfolio increased from 10,677 to 12,676 in member credit cards and from $21.4 million to $42.3 million in credit card balances. Indeed, response was so strong it put the squeeze on liquidity for a while.

In retrospect, Cook said DuPont would offer the program for only one month, exclude cash advances from the low rate, and have only one special promotion APR. She said it also learned the importance of better training for tellers on the offer. In all, Cook shared more than a dozen tips and lessons learned from the promotion with meeting attendees.

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