Capitalize on Credit Cards to Grow Membership, Revenue

Designing and marketing an attractive credit card can provide opportunities to cross-sell other products.




The Durbin Amendment enables merchants to drive debit transactions to PIN networks that offer lower costs and lower interchange rates. Building a strong credit card portfolio is one of the best ways credit unions can offset this anticipated loss in income. And the timing couldn’t be better, since more consumers are looking for an attractive credit card from a community financial institution.

Credit unions need to evaluate and update their credit offering, whether they have maintained a portfolio for years or are reclaiming a portfolio that was previously sold. A credit card can be a credit union’s key asset for growth:

  • A well managed credit card portfolio can be the most profitable lending product. Credit cards account for 3% - 7% of total loans on books but they achieve up to 40% of earnings on total loan portfolios.

  • A credit card relationship provides expanded opportunities for cross-selling other products. The average bank has about five products per client, but the average credit union has only 2.5 products per member

  • Even in a difficult economy, credit cards are averaging 3% growth.

Achieving impressive results requires investing in evaluating and updating your credit portfolio. Survey competitors and make sure your credit portfolio offers competitive attractive terms. Then market the advantages of your credit card to both members and non-members in your community.

Launching a series of activation, utilization and balance transfer offers can deliver rapid growth. A happy credit cardholder is very likely to consider other products from your credit union, and this is an excellent way to build loyalty that can deliver long-term benefits for both the member and the credit union.

The current distrust of banks creates a window of opportunity for credit unions to increase market share. Credit unions have always delivered consumer-friendly terms and excellent service, but most consumers believed larger institutions could offer a better product. Now that perception has changed, so it’s time to earn recognition from the residents of your community.

Evaluating and adjusting a credit card offering is a significant undertaking. Designing an ongoing series of successful promotions also requires experience and best practices expertise. PSCU Financial Services has a skilled team of consultants that can design a credit card program to match the unique needs of your membership. This team also develops marketing and promotional campaigns that build strong activation and utilization—and achieve exceptional member satisfaction.

Building strong revenue growth requires outreach that targets non-members as well as members. It’s time to cast a wide net with a marketing campaign that illustrates the benefits of your card. Then use that card as a springboard to educate your new members on other products such as online payment and mobile banking. Let your members know you offer them the same convenient eCommerce products as banks, but with much better terms. Consumers also expect round-the-clock support, so plan to work with a respected contact center supplier that has both the personnel and technology to address member requests just as professionally as your in-house team does.

The current economic and regulatory environment presents many challenges for financial services providers. In the face of much doom and gloom, credit cards are a bright spot. In 2012, credit unions that focus on this product can win new members and earn greater loyalty — while boosting revenues.

PSCU Financial Services' ( consultants can design a credit card program to match the unique needs of your membership. This team also develops marketing and promotional campaigns that build strong activation and utilization — and achieve exceptional member satisfaction.



This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

If you are interested in contributing an article on, please contact our Callahan Media team at or 1-800-446-7453.


Jan. 9, 2012


  • Kent, good article and true from our experience as a credit union since 2008. Our credit card portfolio has grown because we are looking for ways to lead with our credit card product, help refinance credit card debit through consolidation, etc. While CARD Act has its challenges, we have been largely able to find ways to work back to key practices (like CLIP) that were beneficial to our portfolio in the past. B of A (and others) that have cancelled cards, raised rates, raised fees, and the Bank Transfer Day, to your point above, have helped get the word out about credit union credit cards.
    E.J. Donaghey