WAYNESBORO, Va.-DuPont Community CU used a sweepstakes to take auto lending from flat to 10% growth.

The $835-million credit union ran its two-month long Summer Auto Loan Sweepstakes, during which members, who received rates as low as 2.69% APR, also took home a free car wash kit, a token for a free car wash, and the chance to win one of four prizes drawn in late October.

DuPont covered the first six months of payments for the grand-prize winner and three months for second place. Third place received an iPad and fourth place a $250 gift card.

Acknowledging how hard it can be to stand out-even with a good rate-among all the captive finance deals, VP of Lending Peter Santana said the sweeps made members "look twice at the credit union when thinking about a car loan."

DuPont Community grew auto lending balances by $5.6 million during the promo, which had a goal of $4 million-$5.3 million were for used cars. But a lot of the business was late model cars nabbed through a recapture marketing effort that targeted members who recently took out a loan at a higher rate than what DuPont offers.

"We were also very pleased we saved members over $219,500 during the campaign," said Santana.

Using direct mail, statement inserts, branch signage, e-mail blasts, and some pay-per-click ads, the CU generated enough attention to drive the loan growth. Santana said a great deal of buzz was also created through some healthy competition for originations among each branch.

The four prize winners were announced via the DCCU's website. "We unveiled the winners on a Tuesday and went through Friday, one each day, saving the grand-prize winner for last," explained Santana. "We saw traffic increase on the site as momentum built for the final drawing."

Santana added that the sweeps was successful because staff understood the promotion well. "Sweeps like this won't work unless the front-line is engaged. They were the backbone of this effort."

DuPont Community expects to run the sweeps again. The credit union spent $10,000 on advertising and $2,500 on prizes. "For that price and 10% growth, we certainly will run this again," said Santana.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the credit union industry

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.