BETHPAGE, N.Y.-Bethpage FCU has seen strong checking and membership growth all year as a result of the Bank Transfer Day movement. But most important, the CU says, is that the new members coming in are profitable.

Following Bank Transfer Day, Bethpage has opened more than 27,500 checking accounts, a 49% increase compared with the 11 months prior, and has added 35,800 new members, an increase of 68% compared with the previous 11 months.

Profitability of the newbies quickly drew the attention of the $5-billion CU, which segregated the activity of the group of members who came in during Bank Transfer Day and the rest of the following business week, learning that these new members are as profitable as the CU's existing membership.

Gerard Schmitt, VP of marketing, told Credit Union Journal Bethpage has compared the relationships of the new folks with the relationships of the entire membership. "We did not see a lot of difference."

Comparing the Bank Transfer Day group with the entire membership, the newcomers' average checking balance is higher (104%), services per member (2.77) are two basis points higher, their deposit balances are lower (70%), and lending balances are even. "These are good members," said Schmitt.


Follow-Up Phone Calls

The credit union has stepped up promoting lending products in the onboarding process, which includes follow-up phone calls and direct mail. "We used to emphasize checking most in onboarding. But since so many new members are coming in now with checking, we turned more to loans," said Schmitt.

To get the landslide of new members, the CU has not done any more advertising than in the past year, said Schmitt. It's the same spend, but a different spin.

"We addressed the bank fee issue head on and certainly doubled down on that message. So when the market buzzed about that subject we were out there with a free checking message." -

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