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Banks to give out free gas

By Claes Bell ·
Monday, August 13, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

Been a while since you got a nice freebie from a bank? How does $20 worth of gas sound?

As part of a promotion for Kasasa, a national brand of rewards checking and savings accounts offered through community banks and credit unions, 40 financial institutions will "take over" gas stations in 20 major cities starting Aug. 15. The kicker? You don't even have to sign up for an account to get the money.

From Rachel Witkowski at American Banker:

The promotion involves community banks and credit unions that offer deposit products through Kasasa, which is owned by consulting firm BancVue. The free deposit accounts offer perks such as an above-market interest rate, cash back or rewards for iTunes and

"As a community bank, we've been involved in every kind of town fundraiser but a gas station takeover … is outside the box," says Carlie Olson, the chief financial officer at Pioneer Bank in Mapleton, Minn. "It gives us the opportunity to showcase (the deposit accounts) while giving back to the community."

Pioneer and other banks and credit unions will offer $20 of free gas per person to the first 200 people at a given gas station -- until they dole out $4,000 at the station. Patrons are not required to open an account to get gas. Atlanta; Dallas, Texas; Chicago, New York City; and Washington, D.C., are among the 20 cities targeted with the promotion.

"Gas is a metaphor for giving something back when you don't expect it," says Gabe Krajicek, BancVue's chief executive. "We want people to anchor in their brain that Kasasa gives you unexpected benefits.

Giveaways like this really underscore the differences out there in the consumer banking marketplace right now. Even as many large national banks are adapting to regulations like the Durbin amendment by cutting back services and raising fees, small banks and credit unions are finding new ways to engage with alienated large-bank customers, and offering them a real value proposition: free checking and some impressive perks, in exchange for doing more of your banking electronically and dealing with a smaller network of branches and ATMs.

These days, with mobile and online banking rapidly gaining consumer acceptance, I think a lot of people are willing to take that bargain. But beyond that, it just looks like community banks and credit unions are just straight-up outhustling many of the largest banks out there. I'm hopeful we'll see diversification and competition in consumer banking increase as a result.

What do you think? Is giving away gas a good way to win new customers? Are community banks and credit unions outhustling large national banks?

Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell.

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Richard Forrest
August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Take all these comments and send them to Washington and have all the politicians read them. They probably don't care because their "in bed" with the gas companies.

August 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Wow! I'm not in love with banks either but really? Americans are the only people in the world who can find something wrong with anything and everything. Try breathing for a minute and, I dunno, be happy for the things you DO have!?

Jim Gabrielson CPO USN(Ret)
August 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm

The truth of the matter is that this all started back during the Clinton administration. Clinton wanted more people to be able to purchase homes. It didn't matter if they could qualify for the home they wanted to purchase. Clinton ordered the FHA, Fannie Mae, & Freddie Mac,, etc. to ensure that more people were able to afford "the American Dream". It didn't matter if they had sufficient income to qualify. I saw the end result of it. I was a "Notary Signing Agent" for 6 yrs and I saw the refi's that people were getting, many of them "3-5 yr ARM's or JUMBO's" because they were over stretched on their mortgages already. There's nothing wrong with an ARM, don't get me wrong. The problem is when the 3,4, or 5 years are up the mortgage is going to adjust, and it's going to GO UP! It was not my job nor was I allowed by law to inform anyone signing the refi paperwork that they were signing a BAD mortgage. I saw some but I couldn't open my mouth without putting myself in jepardy of being sued by the mortgage companies, FHA, etc, etc. Well, the rooster came home to roost and many people lost their homes. Many because they purchased homes they couldn't afford in the first place if they were required to take a fixed rate mortgage in order to buy. Sure many banks were involved. So were the politicians in Washington, and that's where the blame lies. Unfortunately, playing the blame game doesn't get people their homes back and the present administration has exacerbated the problem to a great degree. Hmmmm imagine that.

Sheri W.
August 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Wow, it will cost someone $5.00 in gas just to get to the gas station. How about if the banks help me save my home? I am now well under the poverty level, taken out student loans to get an MBA to make myself more marketable, and have applied for well over 600 jobs since April. I bet the bankers don't worry about filling their gas tanks or utility bills.....

Vanessa D.
August 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

You're right, Don W. The banks will never give anything away ... they just take. The people in Washington will never stop treating the people paying their wages like slaves until we, the people, STOP VOTING IN THE SAME SCUM EVERY DANG ELECTION YEAR!

August 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Wow!! This is great! Now all the people who have had their homes repossessed by the banks can hurry to a location to get 5 gallons worth of gas to keep the air conditioning going for a few more hours during the hot summer months in their house on wheels. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

tom gingell
August 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Let me get this strait. 1.5 million homes were seized by banks, destroying 1.5 million dreams. and then the made the dreamers loan them money so their dream could come true, and they orrer us air polution as a thank you. 20 dollars worth. We gave them trillions. This is sp sad. I know that the smaller banks are making the offer, and they aren't the root of the evil. Our justice system has given the bad guys a get out of jail free card. I am not proud of my goverment now. I used to be a proud American. Now the world laughs at me and despises me for being gutless. Take your gas and shove it.

Rose B.
August 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm

$20 in gas how much is that??The amount of liquid in a resturant size ceramic coffee cup.Well i guess the my grocery bill will be twice as high.SMH

August 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Nothing is realy free, great idea, How about cutting it to $5.00 and give to more People.More winners to spread the word to Freinds and Family etc.Thats even more advertising your not having to pay for.

Don W.
August 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Banks aren't giving anybody anything! They have been ripping the public off for years. The biggest rip-off to date was the tax payers having to bail them out. Wow, there going to give a few people $20.00 for gas. When are the people in Washington going to stop treating the people that are paying their wages like slaves?