NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.–One year later, Bank Transfer Day is alive and kicking in South Carolina, where CUs across the state are using “Every Day is Bank Transfer Day” as a membership rallying cry.

Nearly 60 of the 74 CUs in the Palmetto State have adopted the slogan in one way or another, said Troy Hall, COO at South Carolina FCU, who is helping lead the charge. The movement began last year after SC Federal trademarked the phrase and then transferred it to CUNA with the hope that it could be a slogan for a potential national branding movement. The difference, he explained, is that rather than CUNA directing it as a top-down campaign, it’s done at the grassroots and all that’s necessary to take part are those six words.

“There’s no graphics, no fonts, nothing other than simply using the words with the trademark,” said Hall.

The slogan was introduced in April at the South Carolina league’s annual meeting, after which Hall and others began taking the concept to CUs nationwide.

“It really becomes a branding overlay,” he said. “CUs can add it to anything that they already have in existence and it’s not a problem. What we’re thinking is that credit unions should be try to be collaborative by using it at the same time.”

He added that the tagline provides an established message to a marketplace where consumers are already warmed up to the idea of leaving banks for CUs.

 

Still Have Legs?

But does the Bank Transfer Day message still have legs one year later? “Absolutely,” said Hall, citing CUNA figures that show sustained membership growth at credit unions over the past year. He explained that because everything is done at a grassroots level, all goal-setting and tracking is performed by each individual CU, rather than by state leagues or CUNA. But Hall also added that unless it is tied to some kind of promotion, branding campaigns like this are difficult to track.

Beyond gaining CU marketshare, one of Hall’s major goals was finding a way for more collaboration among credit unions. Some YouTube videos promoting the slogan have been made and the hashtag #BTDNow is also being used on Twitter. There is also a “BTD Now” group on Facebook, though it is not open to the general public, enabling participating CUs to discuss strategies, ask questions and more.

“The bottom line is that if the credit union industry does not figure out how to get smaller CUs to stay alive then there is no credit union industry, because that’s where it’s built. It’s built on smaller credit unions and that niche they serve in the marketplace,” he said. “When the consumer hears 'Every Day is Bank Transfer Day’ and small ABC CU is there, it’s an opportunity for that branding and that message to come forward, and [smaller CUs] have something they can play into.”

 

Missing The Point

While many have wondered whether there would be a Bank Transfer Day anniversary, Hall observed that that kind of thinking misses the point–every day should be Bank Transfer Day. South Carolina CUs have run with that theme throughout October, and Hall pointed out that if Kristen Christian had attempted Bank Transfer Day this year it might not have succeeded, since everything [was] being trumped by the election. But social media can help carry last November’s momentum forward, he said.

“This whole conversation of having some sort of national voice has been out there forever and we haven’t really been able to figure out the right thing to do,” he said. “But with 'Every Day is Bank Transfer Day,’ we have a common element. ... If we do schedule events in the next year, we’re going to continue to keep leading the path (with the same tagline) because I think this is a very good idea that’s already out there.”

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