Giving members more
In 2018 when Vermont based River Valley Credit Union was looking for solutions to boost its card program, the team reached out to Trellance to implement the Card Portfolio Growth Solutions (CPGS). “We marketed our credit card in house for many years and consistently added approximately 10-20 new accounts per month, but we were interested in finding a way to market our cards to new membership and boosting usage to existing cardholders,” explained Laura Paice, AVP, Consumer Lending at River Valley CU. She confessed that existing cardholders’ spending power was very tight because although they increased approval amounts for unsecured loans, they had not looked at credit lines within their card portfolio for a long time.
Trellance’s data-driven, implementation-ready CPGS was just the strategy River Valley needed to boost its card portfolio. Ann Farrell, Director of Portfolio Growth at Trellance, noted that “The program has been averaging 19% year over year in revenue for participating credit unions since we started the solution in 2016. We now have 120 credit unions who are benefiting from our pay-for-performance model and having payments expertise guiding them through their growth strategies.”
River Valley took advantage of CPGS’ 12-month marketing calendar that incorporates a Credit Line Increase Program (CLIP); New Account Acquisition Program; Skip a Payment, and six fully designed and funded marketing promotions. Credit unions also receive two Balance Transfer Promotions, two Usage Campaigns, and two Employee Incentive Promotions that are implemented strategically throughout the calendar year. “Using these campaign strategies showed our cardholders that we have a lot to offer them just like the larger banks do but in a better way and utilizing their local credit union’s card!” said Paice. “Plus, our card rate was and still is better than so many of the larger banks that our members use. We still amaze people with our low rate and easy to work with folks,” she added.
Simple strategies, big benefits
Credit unions often underestimate the impact that seemingly small add-ons have on getting members interested and engaged in their products. “Offering statement checks, low rate balance transfer options & skip-a-pays rewarded our members with extra benefits,” said Paice. “By utilizing the New Account Acquisition piece alone, we opened 68 new cards! Based on our average monthly numbers, without the help of that solution, it would have taken us almost four months to get that many new accounts,” she added. Also, during the first year, they increased their Total Oustandings Balances by $1.1M (a 44% increase) and increased their Total Revenue by $85,000 (a 28% increase).
“Other CU’s looking to boost their card program should give this solution a try. It was far too daunting of a task to take on these pieces without the help of Trellance. We all wear so many hats day to day at the Credit Union we didn’t have the time or manpower to implement these initiatives without Trellance’s guidance,” Paice stated.
“It did take us a little bit of time to wrap our heads around all the moving parts of the solution, but we did it, and it has certainly been worth our efforts. Now that it is up and running, this second year has been much easier for us on the operational side of things. It has proved very successful for us. We are looking forward to seeing even more growth,” Paice added.
On her part, Ann Farrell emphasized that the success of the program and the strategies employed rely on data that credit unions already have. “Using data to drive decisions about eligibility of members, accounts that qualify and when is the best time for implementing strategies is half the battle and result in better growth metrics,” she noted.