bank rates

Kasasa Looking To Turn Savers’ Heads

Banks and credit unions offer high-interest checking accountsDo you Kasasa?

It doesn’t quite have the same ring as “Got Milk?” but one day BancVue CEO Gabe Krajicek hopes it’s nearly as ubiquitous.

After all, Kasasa-branded bank accounts have attracted attention by combining competitive interest rates and a unique marketing appeal.

Two years ago, the Austin, Texas-based company began working with community banks and credit unions to build a communal brand that would compete with the megabanks, offering interest rates on checking and savings products that are high enough to turn heads.

Today, dozens of banks and credit unions scattered throughout the country offer Kasasa Cash or Kasasa Saver accounts.

At a time when many financial institutions are offering peanuts for interest rates, many Kasasa rewards checking accounts pay 3%, 4% or even 5% APY, and many Kasasa savings accounts top 1.0% APY.

Kasasa account holders need to jump through certain hoops to earn the best interest rates, like using their debit card a minimum number of times each month, making direct deposits or automatic payments, using online banking and signing up for eStatements.

These hoops — like eliminating paper statements and asking customers to bank online — help cut overhead, which makes the accounts cheaper to maintain. It’s one of the reasons why the banks and credit unions can pay higher interest rates.

Since the accounts’ introduction, financial institutions have found their customer profile “is dramatically different,” Krajicek says, as younger consumers are drawn to the products and benefits, like free iTunes songs.

“Community institutions have really not excelled in getting Generation Y consumers to choose them,” but the financial institutions can’t afford to overlook the consumers because “that really is the next generation of their business.” Krajicek says.

Krajicek says the Kasasa providers can see a 20% to 30% increase in new customers.

In markets where a number of banks and credit unions offer Kasasa products, such as Ohio, Illinois and Louisiana, joint advertising is spreading the word.

BankVue has convinced these smaller institutions that by pooling their marketing resources, they can get customers to move from bigger banks.

Each institution is allowed to set its own interest rates, but can’t use them as a teaser to get customers in the door, then drop them precipitously.

One of the newest financial institutions to get on board is Hope Federal Credit Union in Jackson, Miss., which is offering a Kasasa Cash account at 3.51% APY, and a Kasasa Saver account at 1.51% APY, and Hope’s vice president for marketing and communications Scott Slay says new customers are “gravitating to this product.”

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