SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-BluCurrent CU is offering a 0% APR loan for the holidays and booked nearly $140,000 in its first seven days as a result.

The credit union was known as Postal Federal Community CU until August 2011, and Jenny Reynolds, VP of marketing, explained that since then, BluCurrent has focused on doing "buzzworthy" events. "We knew this would get a lot of buzz in our area, and it definitely has," she said.

All members receive the 0% rate, regardless of their credit score, but must qualify based on the CU's internal guidelines for unsecured debt (which vary according to credit score, gross monthly income and other factors).

"If somebody makes $2,500 per month and they're B paper, if they already have $3,500 with us and they're maxed out based on their unsecured ratio with us, then we can't give them additional unsecured money," explained Randall Bettis, SVP of lending.


Focus On Cross Sales

BluCurrent's loan officers are putting a heavy focus on cross selling in order to at least partially offset the 0% rate. The CU generated 91 loans in the promotion's first seven days, including 74 holiday loans ($74,000). The remaining 17 loans were products such as credit cards, auto loans and refinances that were cross-sold with holiday loans.

"The $140,000 is across all loans, not just holiday loans," explained Reynolds. "If they came in and we were able to cross-sell them, they were included in that number."

BluCurrent Credit Union has promoted the special via its website, e-mail blasts and social media, and so far existing members have primarily been the only ones to take advantage of it. However Reynolds said that a few new members have joined as well-exact numbers are not yet available-and she said that more are expected to join once a radio ad begins running.

Reynolds noted that BluCurrent members tend to have higher credit scores, but "obviously a holiday loan appeals to people that need that $1,000, so we're seeing a lot more lower credit score people applying for these loans. That's not overly surprising, but they're obviously going to be interested in different types of (cross-sell offerings) than someone with perfect credit would be interested in."

According to its most recent Call Report, BluCurrent has just under 11,500 loans on its books totaling more than $78.2 million. That's a 17% increase ($11.5 million) from the end of 2011.

This is the first time BluCurrent has run this type of promotion, and the CU has been releasing its marketing in phases in order to ensure that current staff resources can handle the demand. There is no cap on how many loans the credit union will make, and no set date to conclude the special offer.


Heavy Traffic In-Branch & Online

"Our traffic in all of our lobbies has been very heavy since we started this," said Reynolds. "Obviously it's busier this time of year, but it's been very heavy. We don't want to inundate our staff, so it's really just gauging that traffic and seeing how much we can handle" before releasing the next phase of marketing.

One other marketing move that helped was Facebook. The social media tool allows organizations to pay to promote an ad, and Reynolds said she paid $10 to promote the holiday loan.

"The typical post we do on Facebook where we don't pay to promote reaches 200 to 400 people," she told Credit Union Journal. "When we do pay to promote, it's over 3,000."

More info: www.blucurrent.org

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