WEST BEND, Wis.-At Glacier Hills CU here, what started as a challenge to save members $1 million in interest over the course of 2012 is expected to top out at more than $3.2 million.
"We raised it to $2 million, and before we ever got it announced we said we had to go to $3 million, because we were doing such a great job of saving people money," explained Dennis Degenhardt, president and CEO at the 12,000-member, $81-million credit union.
The bulk of the savings has come from mortgage refinances, and Degenhardt confessed that he lost a bet with one of the CU's loan officers. The deal was that if she could save members $2 million, Degenhardt would wear a cow suit. The suit hasn't been ordered yet, but Degenhardt said he will probably don the costume sometime during December.
Auto refinancing has also contributed to member savings, and Degenhardt said the CU is "probably in the neighborhood of over $500,000 with auto loans." Glacier Hills has also gone deeper with products and services per member, rising from 2.5 to four.
Degenhardt said that the challenge reinforced to staff the importance of asking questions and looking at every member's situation, but he said it also made members more rate conscious. In the future, he said that the CU plans to pull more member credit reports and do a better job of reaching out to members.
The Refi 4 U Challenge will likely return in 2013, said Degenhardt, but "if we do it next year, I'll be pushing for $4 million."