Credit union saves members over $1 million
Monday, January 18, 2016
St. Cloud Times © January 18, 2016 – Unless you were one of the few recent winners of Wednesday’s record-breaking $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot, chances are saving money on most anything is a top priority, especially when it comes to a mortgage payment.
But imagine saving at least $5,000 in interest on the duration of a home loan. For about 125 members of St. Paul-based Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union that dream has become a reality. Under a company-wide initiative launched Nov. 18 by Affinity Plus, hundreds of members statewide have been contacted by the financial institution to consider refinancing long-term loans in order to save on the loan’s interest rate.
Within the first 13 days, Affinity Plus saved members $1 million. And it’s on track to double that savings by the end of January.
“We have been looking at opportunities to (develop) a business model of being proactive,” Affinity Plus Chief Financial Officer Brian Volkmann said. “And this was one way.”
At the beginning of 2015, Volkmann said the credit union hired a vice president of business intelligence who was tasked with evaluating data to provide additional savings to members. Volkmann said the credit union determined many members with long-term loans were eligible to save thousands on interest.
Volkmann said Affinity Plus began a direct mail and phone campaign to alert members to potential savings. It targeted those who could save at least $5,000 by refinancing.
Volkmann said a group of employees were in charge of reaching out to members and received an overwhelming response rate to the initiative.
“The first few days were probably the biggest (for response),” he said.
While the initial momentum has declined slightly, Volkmann said total member savings grew by $500,000 by the end of December. Efforts to reach additional members will continue throughout 2016.
“This is really part of our philosophy,” Volkmann said. “We are looking for opportunities to provide huge benefit to members.”
Volkmann said there was no monetary incentive for Affinity Plus.
“We just want to be able to do something that makes a difference,” he said. “And where we go from here is to help strengthen the pride our members have for our credit union and let them know that we are here to help them in the long run.”
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union services about 180,000 members with its 27 branches throughout Minnesota. The credit union has two locations in St. Cloud: 2835 St. Germain St. and on the campus of St. Cloud State University.