Credit Unions Earn Non-Interest Income for Offering Discounts to Members Through Sprint

Several credit unions that took part in the Sprint Credit Union Member Discount Program in 2011 were presented with a tangible return for their efforts at year’s end, as representatives from Strategic Link, the Northwest Credit Union Association’s (NWCUA) wholly-owned service corporation, presented checks earned through participation—some for more than $20,000.

The Sprint program is simple. It essentially gives credit unions the opportunity to offer members discounted cell phone service through Sprint in exchange for completing four simple marketing mandates. The program also offers credit unions an avenue to earn non-interest income, as Sprint pays each participating credit union for its promotional efforts at the end of the year.

Fibre Federal Credit Union in Longview, Wash., took part in the Sprint Credit Union Member Discount Program last year and earned nearly $20,000.

“It did strike me as appealing right away, primarily because back in the late ‘90s, we partnered with a cell phone provider to get discounts for members,” said Lesley Carrell, Fibre’s senior vice president of marketing. “So for me it was, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve done this before.’ It was good. And the whole idea behind Invest in America is to give members discounts on all kinds of things. But the most appealing thing to me was the opportunity to earn some non-interest income just by giving out marketing real estate.”

Carrell explained that the commitment for the credit union really was minimal, especially given the quality of the return, saying, “It’s been very straightforward. Very easy.”

The marketing commitment includes four basic areas. Credit unions must send an annual quarterly statement insert, which is provided by Sprint. They must publish two articles in their newsletter annually directing members to Sprint’s dedicated website. They must then also continuously display Sprint’s marketing materials in branches, either using lobby posters or a continuous-feed video, and add a provided web link to their website.

“We value the opportunity to provide our members with ways to save money,” said Elaine Eastman, president and CEO of Central Willamette Community Credit Union. “The savings through Sprint has been well received by members and has provided non-interest income to Central Willamette.”

Cowlitz - Sprint CU Member DiscountThe Sprint program brings additional value in that the year-end payment is based not on the number of members who sign up with Sprint, but rather with the number of members exposed to the marketing materials. That allows credit unions to simply offer the discounted services without any pressure on members to commit.

“The nice thing about the program is that the money you earn isn’t based on how many of your members are taking advantage of the program, but it’s based on how many members nationwide are taking advantage of the program,” Carrell said. “Even if you’re a small credit union, you can still participate and earn the money.”

According to Sprint, based on the 2010 incentive pool, a 10,000-member credit union would have earned $4,133.

Interested credit unions can visit or call Bob Bearden of CU Solutions Group at 800.262.6285, ext. 751, to sign up or learn more about the program. The NWCUA’s Craig Reed and John McLaughlin are also available to provide more information about this and other Strategic Link business partners.


Strategic Link is the NWCUAs wholly-owned service corporation, providing the Associations member credit unions with exclusive high-quality, competitively-priced products and discounted services. Questions? Contact Sales & Marketing Associate Craig Reed: 206.340.4789,

Posted in Marketing & Communications.