It may be old school, but that doesn't mean it won't work.

Do you have card-carrying members?

I had to have my son’s car towed recently, and I was certainly happy that I carried my AAA card with me to avoid the tow charge. Then I used it the next week to save a few bucks on a hotel room when traveling. That’s when it hit me.

I’m a card-carrying member.

Now if you don’t know your history, that term has some historical baggage to it. If you were a “card-carrying member” back in the late 1940s you may have been a member of the Communist Party, which meant you were also a target for Senator McCarthy in the 1950s.

More recently, the term means “unmistakable” or “authentic.” In fact, “authentic” sounds like a good way to describe the value a Credit Union brings to its members.

So why aren’t Credit Unions handing out a membership card that also gives discounts at local stores, nearby restaurants, and hotels all over America? Saving a few bucks here or 10% off the bill there would be a great little differentiator — not to mention a nice little conversation starter between members and non-members. It may be old school, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

While we are at it, why not gain some national awareness? Why can’t CUs be known for their card like AAA? A national program could offer several national-level discounts, and a common web site to list the discounts would help. But to really make it take off, each CU would need to make the effort to connect the card to their community and support it through their marketing.

What do you think? Is this something that all CUs could get behind?

Kent Dicken

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