WASHINGTON — OAS Staff FCU here has $220,000 in new loans on the books after a summertime promotion offering loans to help their soccer-mad members afford to travel to Brazil to see the World Cup.

The $168 million CU offered loans of up to $10,000 priced at 5.25% for a 60-month term in order to allow members to be able to afford to travel and buy tickets to the quadrennial soccer tournament. In all, OAS doled out 27 loans for a total of $220,000.

"Our members are soccer fanatics," explained Raquel Rovira, senior loan officer.

The loans were available to members with A and B credit. Members were not required to show proof they would be attending the tournament. For many members it functioned as a personal loan, with some putting the money toward credit cards or other debt. "I don't know how many went," she said. "I'm sure that some people went and some people didn't, but we didn't care."

OAS has a high concentration of Spanish-speaking and bilingual members, and this summer's promotion was such a success that the CU plans to put forward a similar offer next year, for members to attend the Copa America soccer tournament in Chile.

Rovira said that this time around the OAS may ask members for proof they are attending the tournament. She encouraged other CUs to offer these sorts of loans, and said that one reason OAS was successful with the product was because it understood its members' passions and was able to roll out a promotion they would respond to.

Many of the credit union's employees and members were supporting Brazil, but the host nation was knocked out in the semi-finals after a 7-1 shellacking at the hands of Germany, who eventually went on to win the competition. If OAS moves forward with its Copa America loans next summer, its highly bilingual members will have a much better chance of seeing a Brazil victory — the Copa is only open to South American nations.

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.