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Banks to give out free gas

By Claes Bell · Bankrate.com
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 Amazon.com.

"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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37 Comments
Jim
August 14, 2012 at 1:18 am

Thanks Jim, you inspire us all, kinda remains me of the average joe prop used in the 2008 election, you betcha

Jim
August 14, 2012 at 12:57 am

$20 in gas would be nice, but it's a drop in the bucket. It would be nicer if the Federal Gov't did something for the average citizen instead of just promising "Change" Apparently, "King Barack" believes my family isn't "Too Big To Fail", so we don't really matter. Therefore, they're more than happy to let us go under financially. We're months behind on the mortgage, and the U.S.P.S. is fighting my wife's disability case THAT THEY CAUSED! I'm also a Postal Worker with over 26 years of seniority, but the Postmaster General's current misguided plan to save the U.S.P.S. $2.6 Billion a year (and will actually COST $5.6 billion... )will robably cost me my job too (Hey, maybe if I gave a million bucks to a presidential campaign, I could be the NEXT P.M.G. After all, that's how the guy who has the job now got it...).

Unemployment is OFFICIALLY at 8.6%, but if you add in those who have run out of unemployment benefits (they're not included in unemployment figures) and the UNDERemployed - those with college degrees flipping burgers for minimum wage because they can't get a comparable job to the one they had in their speciality, the TRUE unemployment figure wouldbe roughly 10% HIGHER, pushing hard on 20%! Well folks, November's coming! I'll keep my God and my guns (actually, I don't own a gun, but you get the idea)... You can keep the CHANGE!

Melvyn Foster
August 14, 2012 at 12:28 am

I should cheer they're doing the gas but it's in the biggest cities not where it's needed.One more reason to bonx cheer the act and keep my $5.142 M in an offshore account where the gov't etc. here can't put their Mitts (pun?) on it.

george
August 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Community banks, credit unions give back to their local community money and they dont have to respond to the sorry, greedy self centered shareholders.

The so called "too big to fail" large banks and our federal government all sleep in the same bed come night. Who did GW Bush first bail out thru his commencement of the "TARP" program?? Yes the banksters with our taxpayer money then these same banksters were allowed to illegally foreclose on millions of homes thru out the country and get judgements against the same TAXPAYERS that bailed out their sorry AS_ES. The Wall Street Banksters are the lowest form of human life that exist on earth.

warnova
August 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm

The banks are giving nothing away... wake up America, they're funding the great gassing with the higher banking fees and their hot air. They are greedy, ruthless and couldn't care less about you or this country. Remember the bailout!!!!

Do yourself and our country a favor and take your money out of the bank and put it in a credit union... it's paradise.

marko
August 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm

i agree with G.M...and am in the same boat...Time for a break for the middle class instead of always getting it in the rear end.

JingJong
August 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Banks have been giving me gas for years.

M.G.
August 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm

G.M.
If they offered you the $400 then they would actually be helping someone. They do not have a department setup to actually 'help' someone. They do have large marketing departments and budgets and this stuff falls under their area. Marketoing will help them bring in two new customers to offset the loss they will encounter when you leave the,. I'm not agreeing with their tactic, and really feel for your situation, but there are no news crews who will show up at your door or blogs that will carry your story because that so called 'free gas' is being paid for by someone and no one wants to think that they are being locked in long term assisting with a $400/mo shortage.

Ginger
August 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Well Don, our elected Congress people are doing it to us because they CAN. Most of them defy Logic & Common Sense. The Democratic Party is not the party of the old days. Its changed to the New Socialist party, aka USSR clone. Who could trust a Govmt who spends money they don't have. Obamacare will cost millions to our children if it isn't revamped.It takes 2-4 years to vote out the weeds. Seems it will always be that way. Having a 3rd party doesn't accomplish anything. Maybeeeee the ALIENS will return & redo what they created on earth thousands of years ago. So far they are just observing us & maybe trying to figure out what they did wrong. We humans are seriously 'flawed' We really are a race of Good & Evil. SIGH! BTW Google Travis Walton, abducted for 5 days in about 1975. A Real True Story.

G.M.
August 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm

MY HUSBAND JUST LOST HIS UNEMPLOYMENT AND STILL DOES NOT HAVE A JOB SO AGAIN EVERYTHING IS FALLING ON ME AND I AM SHORT ON MY MORGAGE PAYMAENT 400 DOLLARS WHY DONT YOU OFFER TO PAY THIS INSTAED OF MAKING SOMEONE TRY TO FIND OUT WHICH GAS STATION IS GIVING THE GAS AWAY FOR FREE BY THE TIME YOU FIND THE STATION IT WONT BE FREE BECAUSE YOU WILL BURN 20 DOLLARS LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT STATION