Size Matters At TexasGulf

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At TexasGulf Federal Credit Union, size matters.

At least it counted for something when the credit union decided to give one lucky member cash based on the member's height as part of TGFCU's effort to promote its new branch.

TexasGulf FCU Business Development Coordinator Stephen Chelotti said he was looking for new ideas for new and expanded business when a marketing resources representative from the Texas Credit Union League told the former CU CEO of an idea called "Win Your Height in Cash." The contest is just that: however tall you are, you get a dollar bill for it. Chelotti said it was a perfect fit for the new branch.

"We had just opened a branch in El Campo," he said. "We decided to run a CD promotion at the same time."

Opened in October 2005, the El Campo branch and the main office in Wharton are roughly 60 miles southwest of Houston.

Started in 1937 to serve area sulphur workers, TGFCU now has a community charter and serves 5,000 members with two branches and $25 million in assets.

Here's how the promotion worked: from Jan. 16, 2006 to March 31, 2006, each member who opened a new CD account was given one ticket per $1,000 of the money deposited.

The tickets were placed into an old-fashioned fishbowl and one winner was chosen. That winner would then place his or her hand in a duffle bag filled with cash bills from $1 to $50.

Only one bill can be selected and whichever denomination bill came out was multiplied by the member's height. For example, a member who was six feet tall, or 72 inches, and pulled out a $20, would win $1,440.

"If someone deposited $100,000 they'd have 100 chances (in the fishbowl)," he said. "We had two $25,000 deposits. One of those was the winner."

Chelotti said the promotion was open to new deposits only and transfers were excluded. The drawing was held on April 1, and the winning member was a woman who was 61 inches tall-without her shoes, of course.

Chelotti said a small crowd of members and credit union employees gathered in the lobby to watch the woman reach into the duffle bag and pull out: a single dollar bill. Chelotti said a few groans of disappointment came from the audience as the woman would get only $61 versus potentially taking home $3,050 if she had grabbed a $50 bill.

The "Win Your Height in Cash" campaign didn't cost much: two lobby posters promoted the idea along with a few newspaper ads; it was highlighted in the credit union's newsletter, plus the $61 grabbed by the winning member.

Chelotti said the promotion pulled in $147,900 versus a cost of roughly $300 for the campaign. While Chelotti said the credit union is very happy with the results they would most likely expand the program, as they will "absolutely" do it again. "Next time we may spend a little more on advertising," he said.

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