KENTWOOD, Mich.-Community West CU here spent the summer giving away $25,000 worth of iPads.

Business Development Manager Brandt Becker explained that rather than just give patronage dividends back to the members as cash, the CU wanted to find a way to make a splash and do something fun for the membership. The "Summer of the iPad" giveaway, which is directed toward Gen Y members, ties in with CWCU's heavy focus on youth membership.

"We're really focused on the youth, and we looked at it as an investment and made a really big deal out of giving those funds back to students in the area," said Becker.

The 14,000-member, $122-million credit union gave away 50 iPads, 40 of which went to members. About 10 were set aside as giveaways for various community events the CU took part in during the summer "to spread awareness and say 'Hey, look at what Community West is doing,'" said Becker.


How To Win

All that's necessary to be eligible is to be a Community West member between the ages of 18 and 23, with an account in good standing. The credit union set up a special web page for the event at

Community West promoted the random giveaways on its website, its social media profiles and through a partnership with 104.5 WSNX, a local radio station that reaches the same demographic Community West is targeted.

While the drawings were only for members between the ages of 18 and 23, Becker said older members have not complained. "I think a lot of people are appreciative of the fact that kids going to school today just have so much on their plate and if you're going to help someone, that's a good place to start."

The iPad drawings are just part of the programs the credit union offers young members. In addition, CWCU also offers a 0% laptop loan for students (with approved co-signer), a 7% checking account (available to all members), and an all-in-one student package that includes checking, credit, debit and a line of credit.

"It's a nice way for someone just starting out to really understand money management and build credit," said Becker, noting that many of those offerings have been around for two or three years.


'Great, Cool Products'

"That's another area where this giveaway came up," he said. "We've got all these great, cool products out here for students and they weren't necessarily getting the traction we thought they should. We said if we do a giveaway like this and start pulling people in here for this, that creates a good opportunity for us to cross-sell some other awesome stuff we have. A lot of the giveaway was to help shed light on all the cool stuff we could do for students."

In all, more than 300 young adult members signed up for the promotion, and the credit union opened 93 new acconts for members between the ages of 18 and 23 during the summer. Of those members, 37 also opened a checking acount and 10 opened the credit union's "complete student package."

"I'd like to do something like this on an annual basis, but I don't know if its feasible or not," Becker related. "Short term, the chatter from the youth members that come in here, the conversations started on social media, it's grown like crazy over the last month or two. From that standpoint alone, it was worth it in my eyes."

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