OMAHA, Neb.-A two-for-one loan sale can boost the portfolio, but it should include numerous loan types to make the deal more attractive to members.

That's what Centris FCU learned from its BOGO (buy-one-get one) loan program it ran for two months this summer (Credit Union Journal, Aug. 15.). The program produced solid results, said Seth Swier, VP of financial services. "BOGO attracted 30 pairs of loans the first month and 10 the second for just over $1.4 million."

Swier said Centris modeled the loan program after the popular strategy among retailers-let consumers buy the first item at regular price and then the second purchase is half off. The promo was good for auto and recreational vehicle loans, and for boats and motorcycles. Centris gave members their going rate on the first loan and then cut the second rate in half, down to as low as 2.5% APR.

The biggest bang, said Swier, came from members taking out a car loan and then refinancing their recreational vehicle or boat.

Centris would have liked more loans in the campaign's final month and thinks it would have gotten them had it offered the deal for unsecured loans, giving members a wider range of loans to take advantage of the BOGO offer. "We will probably do that next time," Swier said.

The CU will also concentrate even more on staff training, making sure employees are comfortable with the BOGO rules. "This was a little complex," Swier stated. "Staff need to be very comfortable with this program to talk about it."

Both members and the $460-million CU benefited from BOGO, noted Swier, saying that Centris brought down several members' rates down from the 8% to 10% range, to 3% to 5%. "Overall total yield for us ended being 4.27%. Considering investment rates now, that's pretty good."

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