Notre Dame, Alabama Credit Unions Make BCS Championship Wager

In the spirit of the Notre Dame vs. Alabama BCS Championship game on January 7 in Miami, Florida, Notre Dame FCU’s President and CEO, Tom Gryp, challenged Alabama Credit Union’s President and CEO, Steve Swofford, to see which credit union can acquire the most credit card applications by January 6.

“Each credit union pledges an initial $5,000, and the credit union that receives the most VISA Credit Card applications by January 6 wins $10,000 to donate to the charity of their choice,” says Alabama Credit Union president Steve Swofford.

Alabama Credit Union selected Secret Meals For Hungry Children as its charity benefactor.

Notre Dame FCU’s charity of choice is Kelly Cares Foundation, established by Brian Kelly, Head Football Coach of the University of Notre Dame, and his wife Paqui. The foundation supports organizations, initiatives and programs that closely align with goals and values of the Kelly family in three main pillars: Health, Education, and Community.

Notre Dame FCU has also timed a word-of-mouth referral campaign to coincide with their namesake’s championship game. Members who refer friends and family to the credit union will have the opportunity to win a 55’’ LCD flat screen TV. The credit union is also giving away free, commemorative “WE ARE ND!” rally towel.

Notre Dame FCU has $427 million in assets, 11 branches and serves nearly 55,000 members. Alabama Credit Union has $538 million in assets and 50,000 members.

Bottom Line: This type of friendly wager is a good idea, and will help the two credit union churn out some PR. But one can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a better way to maximize this rare marketing opportunity. We have two similarly-sized financial institutions bearing the names of two sports teams fighting for a major national championship… and the best they can come up with is a rhetorical bet? There could have been fun, interesting and exciting ways to engage the broader community — some sort of contest or competition. As a PR play, the friendly wager is good (if not a little safe), but ultimately this feels like an opportunity that wasn’t maximized to its fullest potential.

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