PE TeacherGets A Lesson In Becoming Millionaire As CCU Makes Point

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Community CU has taken the concept of helping members build wealth to a whole level by helping turn a physical education teacher into a millionaire.

The CU's "Make A Million" sweepstakes was designed to help market CCU's "Beyond Free Checking Account" while rewarding members who open such an account or had already opened one years ago.

"It was [Community CU CEO] Gary Base's idea," said Shelly Moon, a marketing copywriter for the billion-dollar credit union that has recently announced plans to convert to a bank. "It was a fun way to market our Beyond Free Checking account and reward those who already have it."

Members who opened a checking account during the promotion, as well as those members who already had a checking account with CCU, were automatically entered to win $20,000. While the winner had the option to just take the money and run, the idea was to help the winner turn that $20,000 into $1 million.

'The Whole Point'

"You start with a $20,000 investment, and then based on past performance of the Polaris Platinum II Variable Annuity averaging about 12.5% per year, after about 30 years you've got $1 million," Moon explained. "The whole point is that you can make yourself a million."

Shannon Kirk, a physical education teacher at McKinney Independent School District, didn't even know she had entered Community CU's "Make-A-Million Sweepstakes" when she learned she had won.

A long-time member of the credit union, Kirk has had a checking account at CCU since she was a teenager and therefore was automatically entered to win.

Kirk has invested $15,000 of her winnings, using the other $5,000 to buy furniture.

Community CU got such great response to the sweepstakes that it has decided to do it again.

"We rolled it out in late September but solid mass media efforts were effectively only two months," Moon explained. "In Dallas/Fort Worth, that's just not a long enough time to saturate the market. And since we had already incurred all the development costs-we decided to let Make A Million live on and award another prize in early April."

The credit union used billboard and radio advertising as well as a letter and post card campaign to market the sweepstakes.

According to Wendi Costlow, CCU's director of marketing, the sweepstakes promo helped increase the credit union's new checking accounts opened over the previous quarter. Additionally, Community CU enjoyed a 99.5% retention rate of all of its current checking accounts, which was also an increase over previous months.

"In the highly competitive Dallas/Fort Worth market, consumers are saturated daily with new checking account offers, so we had to make ourselves stand out to potential new checking account members," Moon noted. "Yet, we didn't want to ignore all those loyal members who already had a CCU checking account. We wanted to make sure they understood that their membership is important, too."

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