This Just In! Indiana CU Promotes Pricing In Media Buy

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Indiana Members Credit Union is making news.

The credit union recently rolled out its "Free...High...Low" advertising campaign with print, radio and television spots that feature a reporter covering a financial conference and talking about the great programs at the credit union. The "Free" is for checking and the online branch; the "High" is for rates on CU savings products, and the "Low" is for car and home loan rates.

Indiana Members VP of Public Relations and Advertising Joe Bennett said no new or special rates are being offered in conjunction with the new campaign. One-time specials or gimmicks result in a spike in new members who might not stay with the credit union and use more products, he said. Rather, Bennett said it's an attempt to show members and potential new clients that Indiana Members usually has the best rates, on average, in the five counties that comprises the central section of the Hoosier State.

"We want to try and impress on them our rates, in general, are better for them long term," he said. "Long term is our goal. We're trying to attract long term and loyal. They're rare these days. We want them to look past the $50 sign-up and look at the details."

Bennett and Indiana Members CEO Ron Collier had discussed the need to teach the public about the free services and low-cost products. In addition to long-term members, Bennett said $940-million Indiana Members CU especially wants to capture checking accounts, calling it the "hub of the wheel" of member relations. Both concluded that the real issue was that Indiana credit unions haven't been effective at getting out the message of credit union membership. Bennett said part of the problem was that until 2002, Indiana's state charters couldn't expand beyond their core groups or advertise to the public. Many members of the public remain unaware of CU benefits, believe they can't join, or still see credit unions as little mom-and-pop outfits with few services and low technology, he said.

"That's why they thought there was some secret handshake to get in, which is not the case now," he said. "It's a struggle for all credit unions to get the message out."

The new message is delivered by an actor portraying a television news reporter who is covering a financial conference that's all abuzz about the "Free...High...Low" offered at Indiana Members CU. Bennett said the spots resemble a political rally with the crowd chanting the "Free...High...Low" slogan. Print ads will run in three newspapers in central Indiana, plus cable and broadcast television commercials will air, while up to 60 spots a month will play on two local radio stations.

Bennett said Indiana Members offers a 30-year mortgage at 6%. Car loans are 4.9% for 36 months or 5.9% for 60 months. Certificates of Deposit (CD) have three terms: six months at 3.54%, four years at 4.31% and five years at 4.89%. Bennett expects to use the "Free...High...Low" ad concept for the next two to three years. So far the new campaign has gotten good feedback although it's too soon to predict or track the data, Bennett said.

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