JOLIET, Ill.–NuMark CU here was a big booster of Bank Transfer Day, and one year later membership has increased by more than 7%, nearly double the previous year’s gains.

Kari Endres, marketing director at the 23,000-member, $176-million credit union, said NuMark has continued to push its free checking account, which saw a 20% increase between September 2011 and September 2012.

Bank Transfer Day came along just when NuMark was already running a campaign around the theme “Ditch Your Fees, Switch To Free.” NuMark opened its offices on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, which was Bank Transfer Day, with staff wearing special T-shirts from CUNA for the occasion. The shirts read “CU > Bank.”

“For us, personally, Bank Transfer Day helped to sort of energize some of the growth efforts we wanted to do already, and it allowed...us to capitalize on the crummy sentiments out there thanks to Bank of America.”

Endres said that auto loans have been its most popular loan, with loans up by nearly $6 million (total loans increased by 17%).

The credit union has not moved to change its pricing with the influx of deposits, though Endres said that NuMark is like most CUs in monitoring interest rate risk closely while keeping cost of funds as competitive as possible.

Despite the growing during the last 12 months, Endres said things have somewhat returned to normal. Growth slowed somewhat during January and early February, but picked up by March and has run along a normal track for most of the year. She said the credit union is on track to hit most of its goals for the year.

“I think one of the things we’re missing hugely as a credit union movement is a national brand of some sort,” said Endres. “There’s so much buzz out there about credit unions. I was glad there was Bank Transfer Day, because we don’t have something on a national scale. We have regional things, but nothing national.”

In the meantime, Endres said NuMark continues to push the message that “We’re lending, we have free checking and we are a place for people to save money.”

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