About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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March Madness CDs and Other Bank Promotions - Good Idea or Unwanted Gimmick?


As I just reported, Countryside Federal Credit Union is offering another March Madness CD promotion in which you can get a higher CD rate if you pick the correct teams. There is still a competitive base rate even if you don't get any picks correct. Countryside has offered this for several years. This is the first March Madness CD I've seen this year. If you know of others, please leave a comment.

These promotions are interesting, and they can be good deals. However, do you think it's a good idea? Or is it an unwanted gimmick?

A reader in last year's post commented:

what's next "CD lottery", this is silly stuff, a CD is serious stuff to most people, not some dumb game, they need to be straight forward and have the "best" rate available period.

Do you agree with this reader, or do you see a benefit with such a promotion?

In the case of the Countryside CD, the base rate is still competitive. So even if you don't get any picks correct, you'll still receive a competitive rate. The credit union is probably planning that the average member will only get a few correct picks. So the average rate they will pay will probably be just above the base rate. It's a little like those product mail-in rebates. Manufacturers expect a certain percentage of customers won't bother. I suppose the credit union could just offer a yield a little higher than the base rate of this promotion without any game. However, the credit union may be able to offer a little higher average yield with this promotion since it gets more attention and free advertising. That can provide a little help to savers.

Previous Comments
no stock 4me
  |     |   Comment #1
wonderful stuff, so what's next, banks will hold their own  CD lottery's, where you can pay a buck to them for a winning number to get their best rate?.........

More insanity...... I''m waiting to see what the BLS does with the rise in oil, and uncle ben does with rising costs on everything else.

  |     |   Comment #2
Silly and unprofessional.
  |     |   Comment #3
CDs in themselves are almost a game in that each one can be closed early for different penalties.  Do you go for the  5 year CD and close it early with the penalty, or the 1 year and no penalty.

I have no problems with this at all.  It's all in good fun.  If somebody is so confident in their picks that they will be laughing to the bank with their amazing 2.5% or whatever rate, good for them.  Otherwise if you don't like it, just ignore it.  Can't argue with it from a marketing standpoint though since it's obviously getting some attention here.
Jim K.
  |     |   Comment #4
If it's a game, a gamble, a little wager they're trying to market ... then at least make it interesting with a rate of, oh, say 50% with a $10K bonus if you're the 500th person to email in your prediction!  Or perhaps a 75% rate if you can also guess which horse wins the Belmont this year.

On the other hand, if it's a CD investement vehicle they're selling, I'd be happy with a mere increase of 0.75% on the rate ... in lieu of the tacky gaming hoopla.
  |     |   Comment #5
Yes, this is a tacky idea and unbecoming of a bank that is intent on being serious about handling your money.  At first blush I would be hesitant to bank with them.
  |     |   Comment #6
Guys, you are beating a dead horse, The banks don’t want our money, Bernanke is giving free money for the asking to the banks, so stop whining and don’t expect anything good to come out of it. The savers are irrelevant these days,
Jeffry Pilcher | The Financial Brand
  |     |   Comment #7
From an advertising/marketing perspective, it may be smart to have a "March Madness" promotion. But from a legal standpoint, it's dumb. The NCAA agressively pursues organzations that use its "March Madness" or "Final Four" trademarks without express authorization.

  |     |   Comment #8
Stanford FCU has something similiar for basketball: https://www.sfcu.org/jumpshot

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