Spring…a time of rebirth, refreshment, refurbishing, and referrals. Yes, you heard right, referrals, as in credit union membership referrals. This time of year, when many people are already in spring cleaning mode, is a great time to pass along a valuable tool to help friends and family members get their finances in order as well – credit union membership.
By opening an account for a friend or family member at your credit union, you are granting them lifelong access to affordable financial products, better rates on loans, higher yields on savings, and lower fees on transactions as well as superior member service and educational resources.
Paying It Forward with the Gift of CU Membership
Nearly every credit union has some sort of member referral program in place, often granting rewards to the referrer, referee, or both. These programs are typically straightforward and designed so that members and prospective members can easily take advantage of their offerings, and pass along the benefits of membership.
Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union (Klamath Falls, OR) currently has a member referral program in place throughout the year. According to Janet Buckalew, VP of Member Advocacy/Business Development, the referral process is simple. The credit union has a form for members to fill out with their information along with the new member’s information. “Once the new member comes into the credit union to open their account, the original member receives a $10 reward in their savings account and we waive the new account membership fee for the new member,” she explained.
Buckalew cited the importance of her own friends and family as a primary reason for passing along the gift of credit union membership. “I can trust Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union will take care of their financial needs just as I would -- they would be welcomed to the Pacific Crest family.”
At Pacific Coast they are honored to serve their members’ loved ones. “There is no greater compliment than when our members refer their friends and family to us -- it is a huge responsibility that we take seriously,” added Buckalew.
Likewise, Granite State Credit Union’s (Manchester, NH) Refer-A-Friend Program features incentives for their members to make referrals for both personal and business accounts with a higher premium on the business accounts.
When a Granite State member refers a New Hampshire resident or business owner to the CU, both are rewarded. GSCU will deposit $25 for referrals resulting in a new personal account and/or $50 for referrals resulting in a new business account; in both the referring member’s account as well as the new member’s account.
This is an ongoing program that supports GSCU’s current lending initiatives. “Our Member Service and Lending teams are very good at encouraging members to share their positive experiences with friends, family members and colleagues,” said Jody Ducharme, Marketing Manager. “Our Partners-At-Work (SEG) Program has been another great channel for the referral program.”
GSCU has experienced tremendous growth in recent years throughout New Hampshire with the expansion of its branch network from two locations to six, with a seventh branch opening this spring as well as two full-service branches within local high schools. “The successful growth and strategic placement of our branch locations is in large part to feedback from our members -- these happy members are the ones we continue to encourage to participate in the referral program and often are surprised to learn they can benefit from simply recommending their credit union,” said Ducharme.
Keeping It in the Credit Union Family
At Justice Federal Credit Union (Chantilly, VA) existing members may refer a family member, eligible friend or coworker for membership and receive a $50 “Thank You” once the referral establishes membership. A $5 Deposit to a Share Savings Account is required to establish membership and the referral must choose one additional account-loan or deposit account. Upon opening the additional account the referral receives a $25 “Welcome Bonus.”
Thanks to their referral efforts, Pat Duke, Marketing Manager reported that the credit union added over 4,500 new members in 2012, resulting in a 9% increase, 900% over the CUNA industry forecast. “The year started with 50,819 members and as of December 2012, the Credit Union’s membership had grown to 55,401 members.”
Duke recommends CU membership because it provides the opportunity to become an owner of your financial institution. And, as a member owned, financial cooperative, Justice Federal Credit Union provides financial services nationwide to an exclusive group including to employees of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Georgia Department of Public Safety, law enforcement communities, their family members, related associations, and contractors.
“As our Membership Drive states: Justice Runs in the Family,” added Duke. “For over 77 years, the credit union has provided a place for members to save and borrow; but more importantly to belong -- we invite our members to share these benefits.”
If you are a credit union member, think about spreading the word and offering CU membership to the people in your life. Contact your credit union for information about current referral promotions.
If you’re interested in becoming a credit union member, find a CU in your neighborhood or ask around. You most likely have a friend or family member who already belongs to an area credit union and would love to refer you. Then, once you are a member, you can continue the cycle, passing along the benefits of membership to your inner circle.