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Case Study: River Valley CU gives card portfolio a boost with Trellance CPGS

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.

For more information on Card Portfolio Growth Solutions contact Ann Farrell at or

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Defining Credit Unions in the Upcoming Income Tax Debate, by Guy Messick

It looks like Congress will put the Tax Code in play and while it is unlikely the credit union income tax exemption is at risk, credit unions cannot take this for granted.   We must be careful not to let banks define credit unions when they lobby Congress. 

Credit unions are voluntary associations of people who organize a cooperative association called a credit union to pool their money to make loans to each other and the interest from the loans pays the depositors a modest return.  The credit unions, as non-profit cooperative associations, are governed by directors elected by the members and the directors hire professionals to manage the credit unions in the deposit taking and loan making functions.  There are no shareholders seeking a profit or management holding equity.  In a credit union there is no us or them, it is only us, people helping people.   Credit union members pay income taxes on the interest paid to them by the credit union.  To impose an income tax on the members through their cooperative association is double taxation on the members (called voters by politicians).

Credit unions are not separate from the members.  Credit unions are the members and the members are the credit union.   Credit unions are just the means for the members to organize and operate as a cooperative association.   This is the true difference between banks and credit unions and why they should be treated differently on income tax.   Taxing the members once on the individual tax returns for interest earned is fair.   Taxing the members once on the individual tax returns and once again through their cooperative non-profit association called a credit union is not fair.

Be a broken record on this point and the message will get through.

About the Author: 
Guy A, Messick, The CUSO Guru, is an attorney with Messick, Lauer & Smit, PC in Media, Pennsylvania and General Counsel to

He can be reached at 610-891-9000 or

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$10,000 Being Donated to Tropical Storm Harvey Disaster Relief by CO-OP Financial Services

Donation Made In Addition to Business Continuity Relief Through Nationwide CO-OP Shared Branch And CO-OP ATM Networks, Available to Members of Participating Credit Unions

RANCHO CUCAMONGA,Calif. – CO-OP Financial Services is donating $10,000 to CUAid, organized to help credit unions and their members in Texas impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey. The donation augments the nationwide CO-OP Shared Branch and CO-OP ATM networks used extensively in credit union business continuity and recovery during times of disaster.

“Tropical Storm Harvey has dramatically reminded us that natural disasters can come upon us with amazing speed,” said Todd Clark, President/CEO, CO-OP Financial Services. “We have been proactively contacting clients in the impacted areas to assess needs and determine where we can help. The $10,000 donation on behalf of our client credit unions is one expression of that outreach, and available at all times to members of participating credit unions is our vast networks of branches and ATMs, ensuring access to accounts for those displaced by the flooding.”

 CUAid is an online disaster relief system organized by the National Credit Union Foundation. Money raised is for credit union employees, volunteers and members affected by the powerful tropical storm. 

To donate, CUAid can be found at

CO-OP Financial Services manages two industry networks that can service credit unions members throughout the country whenever they are away from home. The CO-OP Shared Branch network includes 5,600 credit union branches nationwide, the second largest branch network in the country, enabling members to enter any branch and conduct business as if they were right at home. In addition, CO-OP ATM provides access to 30,000 ATMs across the country, a network that includes 9,000 ATMs that accept deposits. In the state of Texas alone, CO-OP Shared Branch offers 293 branches and CO-OP ATM provides 1,522 ATMs.

To find a CO-OP Shared Branch or a CO-OP ATM, members can visit; or, download the brand new CO-OP ATM and CO-OP Shared Branch mobile Locator app at Google Play and iTunes stores. 

About CO-OP Financial Services

CO-OP Financial Services is a payments and financial technology company whose mission is ensuring the success of the credit union movement – serving more credit unions than any other provider and 60 million end-members. CO-OP’s ecosystem of payments and engagement solutions help credit unions consistently deliver seamless, personalized multi-channel offerings in a secure environment. For more information, visit