HARRISBURG, Penn.-One CU believes Bank Transfer Day is going to be such a big deal it's paying staff overtime to come in on Nov. 5.

Pennsylvania State Employees CU just introduced a two-month media campaign to drive interest for the big day and attention to the credit union so it can capitalize on the checking business CEO Greg Smith said banks are driving away.

"We will be open all day on the 5th," said Smith. "Our call center will be open, our two branches will be open, as well as our e-centers on college campuses. Typically we open about 100 new accounts per day. I think we may open 200 on Bank Transfer Day."

The $3.8-billion PSECU runs a virtually branchless model and provides members with sophisticated electronic access. But the high-tech PSECU admitted it needed to tweak one aspect of its online channel, and that the change comes just in time for Bank Transfer Day. Well before Nov. 5 became a potentially big day for credit unions, PSECU was working to improve how consumers joined the credit union via the Web. PSECU just brought live a new online membership program that's highly efficient, and easier and speedier for consumers to use than its previous system. "New members now can join more easily online, fund the account quickly, and within ten minutes of doing that they can be in home banking," explained Smith.

What could make demand for that new system greater is PSECU spending more than $330,000 on advertising during the next two months to win over bank customers and new checking business. A 30-second TV spot says, "Time to discover the meaning of free. Free checking. Free ATMs. Free debit card . . .Be free. Join us." The CU is adding billboards and radio.

Support On YouTube
PSECU also has a nearly 7-minute YouTube video(http://www.youtube.com/psecu#p/u/2/4ojFnEpdtS8) that was released in time for International Credit Union Day in which Smith talks about the value of credit unions and PSECU, and notes Bank Transfer Day is coming. Smith encourages consumers to move their accounts to the credit union, goes over the benefits of a number of the CU's offerings-including free checking and debit card, free access to more than 500,000 ATM nationwide via the credit union's ATM surcharge rebate (CU Journal, Aug. 22), as well as online access. The video had received over 1,300 views at press time.

Smith, who regularly corresponds with members who have provided e-mail addresses, recently sent a message to the membership touting the CU difference and carried a link to the YouTube video. Smith encouraged members to forward the e-mail to friends and family.

"Funny thing is I got a lot of messages back from members saying their friends and family were already PSECU members," laughed Smith. "But we told them we will be here Nov. 5, and we think there will be a crowd."

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