12/12/12 Credit Union Promotions

imageLast year, we were disappointed at the lack of promotions on double-triple-digit day, finding just a single promo 11/11/11 promotion (see our post on Notre Dame FCU). But it was Veteran’s Day and most U.S. banks were closed.

This year, 12/12/12 falls at a much better time in the promo calendar, and FI marketers responded, at least on the credit union side. In the first five pages of Google results we found 15 CU promotions, most offering 12-month, $1,200 loans.

However, it turns out that “12/12/12 loans” are regular December fare at a number of credit unions. Only four of the 15 were focused on the once-in-a-hundred-years date, one on the deposit side and three low-rate loan specials (note 1).

The standout deal? A 0.12% APR on a $1,200 loan from L’Oreal USA FCU

Here are the four CU 12/12/12 promos:

  • L’Oreal USA Federal Credit Union: 12-month, $1,200 loan with with APR = 0.12% (requires payroll deduction & estatements; link, screenshot #1)
  • Meadowland Credit Union: 12-month, $1,200 loan with rate as low as 1.2% (direct deposit & checking account required; link, screenshot #2)
  • Notre Dame Federal Credit Union: 120-day loan of $1,212.12 at an APR of 1.1212% (requires opening new credit card; link, screenshot #3)
  • USAlliance FCU: 12-month, 1.2% APY CD (new money only; link, screenshot #4)

Other 12/12/12 loan seemingly unrelated to Dec 12, 2012 (with links to the loan page):

  • Carolina Foothills FCU (link)
  • Clackamas FCU (link)
  • Ecusta Credit Union (link)
  • Freedom FCU (ran during the summer, link)
  • Fremont FCU (link)
  • Gulf Coast Educators FCU (link; see banner at top of post)
  • John Hopkins FCU (link)
  • Northwest Georgia Credit Union (link)
  • Northwest Resource FCU (link)
  • SRP Federal Credit Union (link)
  • Telhio Credit Union (link)

No banks seem to be joining the fun. Although Chase was promoting its sponsorship of the 12/12/12 Sandy benefit concert with an AdWords buy on Google yesterday (screenshot 5). 


1. L’Oreal USA FCU is offering a rate of just 0.12%
Note: Interest totals just $0.78 over the life of the loan, payroll deduction required


2. Meadowland Credit Union worked Aaron Rodger into its promo


3. Notre Dame FCU is the only FI that ran promotions on both 11/11/11 and 12/12/12 promotions
(11 Dec 2012)


4. USAlliance FCU was the only one with a deposit special


Chase Bank is the headline sponsor of a Sandy benefit concert (link)



1. We searched for “12/12/12 promotion credit union” and found many entries. The same search with “bank” instead of “credit union” turned about nothing (at least through the first dozen pages of results).

Certificate of Deposit Renewal Letters in the Digital Age

image Today I received a letter from a large credit union (note 1) informing me that my certificate of deposit was up for renewal. I was given six choices at the bottom of a form (note 2) along with a postage-paid return envelope. 

Had I received that letter in 1988, I would have considered it state of the art. But in the modern world of instant communications and researching rates via Google, the communication was inadequate and reflects poorly on the CU’s brand:

  • No current rate info: I realize that rates are subject to change and are miserably low, but at least tell me what they are today so I have some idea of what’s going on. While you are at it, remind me of what my rate was. Avoiding naming the specific rate is a huge red flag that yours is probably not so competitive. Plus, it’s irritating when it’s obvious how easy it would be to program current rates into the form letter. The CU did at least direct me to its website and call center to find current rates. However, the call center had no main menu option for rates, so you had to guess which number made the most sense. 
  • No email/call center option for choosing: The only way to communicate my investment choice is to return a postage-paid envelope. How about an email address, phone number of even a simple URL?
  • No email notification: I signed up for this account online, and the bank’s marketing messages arrive via email. Why didn’t I get an email asking me which option I prefer?
  • No clear info on what happens next: According to the fine print buried in the accompanying Truth-in-Savings disclosure, my certificate will automatically renew if I take no action. But nowhere in the main letter does it say that, nor is the deadline for taking action spelled out. The “current maturity date” is provided, but that’s using banking lingo that could be clearer.
  • No niceties (or even a sales pitch): The letter was bare bones with just two sentences and an info box about my CD (note 3). There was no salutation, no signature, no thank-you, no names of anyone at the CU, no local branch info, no encouragement to renew, and so on. 


1. As previously noted, we generally avoid posting the name of financial institutions that we criticize here; but we’ll privately tell readers so long as it’s not posted online (email me if you are curious).
2. The choices:
     A. Change term to 6, 12, 24 or 36 months (it was already 12 months, so that was a
          bit confusing, too). 
     B. Deposit to another account with a blank for writing in the account number
         (and no instructions on whether that had to be an account at the CU)
     C. Send a check for the balance (but with no ability to take a partial payout)
3. My CD is small ($500) and was set up online through a now-defunct third-party. So it’s very possible that there are different communications sent to larger CD holders, and/or those that were acquired by a specific branch.