Who wants to be a millionaire? St. Paul Federal Bank figures most of its customers do.
So the $6.2 billion-asset Chicago thrift is running a contest with a $1 million prize to promote its new debit card and has hired a pitchman who knows exactly how it feels to win a cool million.
Joe Trela, who in March became the third person to claim the top prize on ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" game show, is scheduled to appear in Chicago-area newspaper advertisements for St. Paul beginning in about a week.
The thrift hopes to attract accounts and encourage its customers to use their new MasterCard debit cards, which St. Paul started offering this spring. So far it has issued 250,000 debit cards - most of which were sent to existing customers to replace ATM cards.
St. Paul says that each customer who uses the debit card at least 10 times before June 17 will automatically be entered in a drawing scheduled for July 7.
"We wanted people to get used to using this card and learn to love it," said Sharon Urry, St. Paul's vice president of advertising and promotions. "We were trying to come up with something that would be really attention-getting. And who doesn't want to win a million dollars?"
In addition, Ms. Urry pointed out, St. Paul's customers can win the big prize without the pressure of recalling trivia in front of millions of television viewers.
To win his own seven-figure prize, the 25-year-old Mr. Trela of Gilroy, Calif., had to know what insect shorted out an early supercomputer and inspired the term "computer bug." Mr. Trela, who previously worked in customer service for a technology company, correctly answered: a moth.