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Is your credit union ready for the holidays?

Credit unions should consider offering holiday promotions.

Holiday shopping season will soon be upon us. Just like retailers, credit unions can capitalize on all the activity of the holidays with promotions and special campaigns. Here are a few ideas to consider this year:

Skip-a-loan-payment promotion
In December, people tend to want as much money on hand as they can get. Promotions that offer members the chance to skip a month of payments tend to have a very high rate of success, according to Credit Union Insight. Members will even seek them out as well as responding to advertisements about them online and in other media.

Cash bonus offers
Barely anyone will say no to free cash - and especially not during the holidays. The Financial Brand suggested offering cash incentives for certain products, like checking accounts, online bill pay and various loans, to help increase member use of the products during the holiday season.

A variation on free cash is a sweepstakes in which the credit union will randomly choose a few transactions to cover for its members this holiday season. This can encourage spending, and will definitely increase general levels of goodwill.

Don't forget Black Friday
A credit union offering Black Friday deals may not make sense at first glance. However, some institutions have done it with great results, according to The Financial Brand. Opening early with special product promotions, whether it's low interest rates on a loan or high-yield savings certificates, may draw shoppers out from other sales to come into the credit union. Indeed, they may even bring in new members.

Another fun and easy promotion is replacing a few $20 bills in the ATM with $50 bills for the day. This can generate a lot of buzz - and a lot of ATM use - and is well suited to the mood of Black Friday.