Warren FCU decided to do something novel when it sought to establish market share in Laramie, Wyo., a town about 50 miles away from its Cheyenne headquarters.
So the $525 million institution offered $100 in cash to new members in exchange for performing good deeds.
The Laramie "Do-Gooders Unite Community Campaign" started this summer and is designed to "showcase our dedication to the community and to highlight our staff. Our plan is to eventually bring similar campaigns into our other branch markets," according to the CU's website.
Warren FCU also noted that it has reached its target of establishing 200 new member accounts in the Laramie area.
Under terms of the "do-gooder" policy, new members who signed up for a checking account were asked to pledge to simply "do good" with the $100 windfall.
The credit union encourages its membership to commit to volunteer projects throughout the area. In connection with such community activism and in the spirit of the "do gooder" campaign, the Warren FCU Foundation donated $10,000 to the Laramie Main Street Alliance this fall to help beautify the small town of about 30,000 people and home of the University of Wyoming.
"We are extremely grateful that so many individuals have taken the Do-Good Pledge in our community," said Eric Miller, Warren's Laramie branch manager, according to a report from KOWB radio of Laramie.
KOWB also noted that the "do-gooder" pledges by new members include, among other things: restoring historic Wyoming landmarks; volunteering at soup kitchens, volunteering for the PTA, donating to the animal shelter, volunteering at Wyoming Public Radio, mowing an elderly neighbor's yard; and picking up trash in Downtown Laramie.
Warren FCU's chief market officer Steve Salazar told the Financial Brand that the do-gooder idea was "profound" and represented an alternative to simply promoting attractive rates as an inducement to join the financial institution.
"Great rates on deposits and loans can create a little stimulus here and there, but what type of loyalty does that build?" he asked rhetorically. "We didn't require the typical stipulations such as a direct deposit in order for members to qualify. Instead of hurdles — like holding their $100 hostage in exchange for three months — we put full trust into our new members to do the right thing with their money."
"It had to be fun and meaningful, something that would empower and inspire members to do great things for the community," Salazar added.