Patelco CU To Offer New Rewards Program

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With increasing numbers of credit unions seeking ways to retain members and expand member relationships, Patelco CU thinks it has the answer.

The Bay Area credit union giant will introduce an expanded campaign next year aimed at rewarding existing members for their patronage and encouraging members to increase their credit union transaction level.

"The idea is to retain the most profitable members to the credit union and encourage them to expand their relationship, while rewarding members for their loyalty," said Alison Jones, senior vice president, marketing, for Patelco, who helped design the new program.

The new program, called "Member Rewards," is an expansion of the five-year-old "Commitment Household Program" that was regularly being redesigned and reconfigured and provided rewards based on varying formulas, such as different levels of savings or loans balances, or paid-off loans.

"The credit union was continually modifying the program so it would be most inclusive," said Jones. "But at some point it became confusing."

The new program simplifies the formula, providing incentives in return for a combination of savings and loan balances at month-end.

Gold members will receive certain benefits, including free ATM and point-of-sale transactions (for which the credit union currently charges members), and no check holds for deposits of $5,000 or less, for a combined balance of $10,000 to $25,000.

Platinum members, those with combined balances greater than $25,000, will receive greater benefits than other members, including a quarter-point discount on loans; waiver of fees for home equity loans; free check orders, cashiers and travelers checks; and free stop payments on checks.

Officials with the $3-billion credit union hope the new criteria will expand the universe of eligible members form the current 40,500 that participate in its rewards program to more than 75,000, bringing with it expanded growth in both savings and loans from participating members, according to Jones.

"Our intention is to move more people up from the Gold level to the platinum level," she said. They also hope to use the expanded program to cross-sell certain products and services, which will benefit participants.

Patelco plans to kick off the new campaign in next year's third quarter with broad advertising in in-house organs, like statement stuffers, direct mail, and the credit union website.

The new program will be officially kicked-off in the third quarter.

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