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CUs Project Flipside draws Generation Y
BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (9/14/09)--Bucks First FCU has launched “Project Flipside” to attract members of Generation Y to the credit union. Since June 1, Bucks County, Pa.-based Bucks First has opened about 50 new Flipside accounts.
Click to view larger imageBucks First CU launched “Project Flipside” to attract members of Generation Y to the credit union. From left are the Flipside crew members: Alex, Zach and Antonio. (Photo provided by Bucks First CU)
The accounts are available for youth between the ages of 16 and 25, said Hilary Reed, Bucks First vice president of marketing. The account offers a free Visa check card with rewards, no maintenance fees, free checks, online bill pay, online banking, text banking, access to more than 30,000 free ATMs, and refunded non-sufficient funds fees provided the accountholders take a financial class at the credit union. “We deem this project one of the most successful programs we've ever created,” Reed told News Now. “We've been able to reach hundreds of youth as well as parents, from community events to high school classes and college orientations. “You know it's successful when a kid tells their friends about it,” she added. “For us, harnessing the power of word of mouth was a big goal and we feel we've definitely achieved it, and this is only the beginning.” The difference between the project and other programs is that everything ties back to education. For instance, the program offers youth the ability to “flip their fees” by attending a personal financial literacy class to lift their non-sufficient funds fees. During the last class, a credit union representative asked the students how they accumulated their fees, and then talked with them to try and figure out how to save and budget, Reed said. The project also employs the Flipside Crew, which consists of three young individuals who promote the program. The crew has posted more than 80 blogs and made more than 270 Facebook friends. They regularly post videos, including a recent rap video (use the link), that offer educational components. They’ve also attended more than 30 community events to promote the project. Crew members have no hourly requirements, but spend about 15-20 hours per week blogging and attending events. This summer, Bucks First sponsored a concert series at a local mall where crew members regularly appeared. Crew members receive a digital camera, a car to use, and a monthly stipend. To become a crew member, individuals submit a video. They are chosen for their communication skills, video editing skills and personality. The crew works for Bucks First for about one year, and then a new group is chosen. Bucks First researched the project for about one year before launch and executed it with three marketing staff members in-house. It spent very little on advertising. “You don’t need an agency to do this,” Reed said. The project is especially good for small credit unions that can’t afford to hire an advertising agency. Bucks First relied mainly on word-of-mouth advertising and its strong relationships with local schools, including high schools and colleges, she said. The biggest challenge credit unions could face when undertaking a project like Flipside is board approval. “It’s tough to show the return on investment,” Reed said. “But the key is to convince boards that the results show for themselves.” She advised credit unions to be involved with the community, and spread the word by mouth. Even if it takes awhile, the project will come to fruition, she said.
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