Magazine article American Banker

West Virginia Banks Pushing Christmas Club Memberships

Magazine article American Banker

West Virginia Banks Pushing Christmas Club Memberships

Article excerpt

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Local banks here say they are trying to regenerate interest in Christmas club accounts, which used to pump millions of dollars into the retail market during the holiday season.

In recent years, though, the popularity of the accounts has fallen as investors have sought accounts offering higher interest rates.

But the clubs, which will begin sending out checks to customers at the end of this month for 1984 accounts, still represent a major infusion of cash in the local economy, and at least two Charleston banks say they plan advertising campaign to boost interest in the 1985 clubs.

Steve Kelly, a marketing officer for Kanawha Valley Bank, said his bank will try a slightly higher interest rate to see if that attracts more customers. The rate will be 6.5% if the customer makes the payments and 7% if the amount is automatically deducted from a KVB checking account.

Mr. Kelly said banks have tried premiums and other special offers, but there has been "no sure-fire formula" to get people interested.

The National Bank of Commerce plans to go one step further. It will offer a 7.5% interest rate, and customers can have the amount automatically deducted from their checking account, regardless of which bank holds the account.

"We still feel there's a market for it," says Sam Cipoletti, marketing vice president at the National Bank of Commerce. …

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