Sprint's merger with T-Mobile could alter credit union rewards program

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A popular credit union program could be reworked as a result of the recent Sprint and T-Mobile merger.

More than 1,700 credit unions currently offer their members a discount on Sprint service through the Love My Credit Union Rewards program from CU Solutions Group. The discount helps push roughly 250,000 new Sprint customers per year, according to the Livonia, Mich.-based credit union service organization.

That’s all up in the air following the news of the T-Mobile merger, which his expected to create the nation’s second-largest cellular phone network.

“As it appears that the much-anticipated T-Mobile merger with Sprint is poised to move forward now, CUSG is anxious to meet with T-Mobile and Sprint marketing executives to explore what this program will look like moving forward,” Dave Adams, CEO of CU Solutions Group, said in an email. The two companies’ combined subscriber base will include more than 100 million consumers and small businesses, and “CUSG is hopeful that the value proposition for credit unions and their members will be bigger and better,” Adams said.

The two companies have also promised expanded service for consumers in rural areas, though some have pushed back against those claims. Adams said improving service for those communities “will be very beneficial for credit unions and their members.” How to best serve rural consumers – members and would-be members alike – continues to be an issue for credit unions, particularly in the wake of a report from the Federal Reserve late last year that credit unions aren’t filling the gaps left by bank closures in rural areas as well as they could be. Still, some CUs are beginning to explore rural branching strategies in ways that utilize non-traditional branches, and expanding access for those communities remains a priority of National Credit Union Administration Chairman Rodney Hood.

Adams said the Sprint discount will continue unchanged until at least the end of March and the CUSO will communicate any changes to the program after that time.

Along with the Sprint discount, Love My Credit Union Rewards also includes member discounts for TurboTax, hotels, movie tickets, identity-theft prevention services and more. Most notably, members were also eligible for discounts on GM vehicles, which led to more than $9 billion in auto loans at credit unions following the Great Recession.

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