Black Friday Brings Bright Deals

Black Friday specials at Service Credit Union offer a way to show members and staff some appreciation.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • Service Credit Union uses Black Friday specials primarily to thank existing members, but they also open doors to new relationships.
  • In 2017, the credit union opened more than 2,500 Black Friday special CD accounts.


Service Credit Union
Data as of 09.30.18

HQ: Portsmouth, NH
MEMBERS: 265,617
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 11.7%
ROA: 1.03%

Dan Clarke, chief operating officer of Service Credit Union ($3.4B, Portsmouth, NH), has been working with credit unions since he was in high school. He has served in multiple roles within the industry, including as CEO of two credit unions. One of those credit unions merged into Service Credit Union in 2008, and Clarke rose to COO in 2017.

When Clarke joined Service, he brought with him a history of turning Black Friday into a member benefit bonanza, with steals and deals on loans and deposits alike. With some retailers, including Target and Amazon, releasing their Black Friday ads weeks early for Black Friday 2018, opportunities abound for credit unions to help members during this hectic season.

Here, Clarke shares his experiences and lessons learned from more than 10 years of offering Black Friday specials at credit unions with very different asset sizes and branch networks.


What ‘s your background on Black Friday Specials?

Dan Clarke: I ‘ve been doing something for Black Friday since 2004. I tried to make it a fun day when I was the CEO of a smaller credit union, and it generated big results for us. As a $15 million credit union, we could bring in approximately 10% of our deposits in a single day through a compelling Black Friday special.

Dan Clarke, COO, Service Credit Union

It was so popular that when we merged into Service Credit Union, we carried on the tradition. Service has offered something special every year since 2009. We ‘ve tailored the offers to work with the larger branch network and asset size.

What ‘s the overall goal of the specials? Are you rewarding existing members or bringing in new ones?

DC: The overall objective has been to reward our existing members. This is a day to show our appreciation for them. However, we ‘ve found the special offers also bring in new members. For example, last year approximately 8% of the new CD accounts opened on Black Friday were new members.

What have you changed over the years? Are there any specials that stand out as particularly successful?

DC: We ‘ve tried a variety of things over the years. We don ‘t want the offers to become stale. Last year we offered a 10% APY on a three-month CD with a $1,000 cap. That was quite successful with more than 2,500 accounts opened.

Other offers have included an 18-month CD at an above market rate with no cap, a 2.00% APR discount on personal loans, and bonuses such as fee-free gift cards or $100 when a member refers a friend or opens a new checking account with direct deposit.

Click the tabs below to see Service Credit Union’s 2017 Black Friday offers.



We ‘ve opened the branches early in the past to make it a real event. However, as retailers have shifted their opening times, we have gone back to our traditional hours. In 2004, my former credit union ran a CD special that offered members the highest rate at 6 a.m. The rate dropped every two hours, which created a sense of urgency and brought people into the branch. It was a fun day with a radio station broadcasting remotely from our branch. However, with Service ‘s much larger branch network and size, it didn ‘t make sense to do that type of time-sensitive offer.

Are the specials only available in a branch on Black Friday?

5 Tips To Make Black Friday Bright

Dan Clarke, chief operating officer of Service Credit Union, draws on more than 10 years of experience offering Black Friday specials to provide five best practices.

  • Be different: Don ‘t do the same things everyone else is doing, and vary the offers to keep it interesting.
  • Be creative: Show off the fun side of banking. Everyone knows it can be exhausting for those working and members shopping.
  • Keep the credit unions ‘ needs in mind: Reward members while helping the organization meet its goals.
  • Reward staff: Service gives a trophy to the branch that has the best production on that day. It ‘s a fun competition that focuses on recognition rather than cash compensation.
  • Keep it light: Help everyone have a great time by keeping the atmosphere light.

DC: The deals are typically available online or in a branch.

We ‘ve extended the period from only Black Friday to include Cyber Monday and the weekend. The exact timing and specials vary each year as we try to see where we can get the biggest bang for the buck. We also take into consideration the goals of the credit union. Are we focused on growing deposits, for example?

Is there an employee incentive component to make it fun for them?

DC: We give a trophy to the branch that has the best production on that day. It ‘s a fun competition that focuses on recognition rather than cash compensation.

What advice do you have for other credit unions considering a Black Friday special?

DC: Be different. Don ‘t do the same things everyone else is doing, and don ‘t offer the same specials every year.

Be creative. Show off the fun side of banking. Everyone knows it can be exhausting for those who are working, by keeping it light, everyone can have a great time and you can generate real excitement. Our members start asking about what we have planned in October and look forward to the specials.

Once people come in and see what the credit union is all about, the door to a new relationship is opened. It ‘s also a great way to show your appreciation for existing members by offering a little something extra during a stressful time of year.

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November 5, 2018

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