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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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Trellance, the Tampa-based CUSO that is on a mission to deliver end-to-end products and services to realize growth and profitability for credit unions, announced its acquisition of IronSafe, an Illinois-based software company that offers data analytics. President & CEO of Trellance, Tom Davis, said, “We recognize the importance of data analytics in providing insights to drive results today and into the future. With this acquisition, Trellance will give credit unions access to an integral resource to navigate the financial landscape. We will put the power in their hands to unlock data that was not available to them.”

IronSafe offers data analytics with a unique extraction capability to its customers and some of its functionalities are already in use by over 2,300 credit unions. Trellance will benefit from the expertise of the IronSafe staff and powerful dashboards that will help credit unions to integrate data from different sources and arm them with insights that will enhance how they serve their members.

The CUSO plans to leverage the data analytics capabilities of IronSafe’s proprietary platform and the expertise of the staff in its existing suite of products and services. “We see the benefits of this acquisition as two-fold”, said Bill Lehman, SVP of Managed Services at Trellance. “The Trellance team will become more effective to credit unions in our consultations as we use data to drive our conversations; and our credit union members will also have access to meaningful data to help them work smarter and more efficient in executing targeted initiatives to realize growth across their entire organizations”, added Lehman.

About Trellance:

With over 30 years of experience in the payments industry and partnering with credit unions, Trellance continues to work towards ensuring that all those served by financial service cooperatives have access to exceptional products and services, while maintaining our commitment to foster growth. Being processor-neutral allows us to offer unbiased guidance and set us apart from our competitors.


Learn more about us at, visit us at for industry insights and our perspective on the future, or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter @Trellance.

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How a $10 Million, 5-Person Credit Union Created One of the Best FI Websites in the World

Over two years ago we wrote about this amazing credit union in Roswell, New Mexico.  And about a year later we interviewed their CEO in a Spotlight article. Both of these stories focusing on how small credit unions are vital and remain viable through collaboration. 

We were so excited to receive a story from the CU Service Network, that highlighted one of their members – this very tiny, very bold small credit union, The Florist FCU.  Enjoy!

Every year, the folks over at The Financial Brand publish a list of the top FI websites around the world. We at CU Service Network look forward to their listing all year because they showcase such beautiful and original websites, shattering the concept that banking is boring and dull. We also enjoy keeping up-to-date on industry trends and branding because it helps us serve as consultants for our clients.

Back in August, I was browsing their recent article 20 Visually Stunning Website Designs From Banks & Credit Unions and did a double take. My eyes weren’t playing tricks on me: $10M, 5-employee The Florist FCU was listed.

I wasn’t the only one that was shocked. Cisco Malpartida Smith, CEO of The Florist FCU, was as well. After spotting the listing, I immediately emailed the CEO to share with him the great publicity. “I had no idea,” he responded, bluntly.

“My first reaction was, ‘We couldn’t possibly be on a list like this. How does it even logically make sense?’ he said, laughing. “It’s very humbling.”

Continue reading How a $10 Million, 5-Person Credit Union Created One of the Best FI Websites in the World

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CU*Answers hosts CEOs at strategic collaboration event

CU*Answers, a 100% credit union-owned CUSO, held their 13th annual 2017 “CEO Strategies Week” conference last week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. CEOs from 70 credit unions and CUSOs from across the country gathered for three days of collaboration, learning, and direct peer interactions aimed specifically at credit union CEOs.

The events kicked off with the half-day CEO Collaboration Workshop, with this year’s theme: “CEO Challenges in Driving Cooperatives in a Consumer-focused World.” CU*Answers CEO Randy Karnes asked participants, “In our lust for more consumers, have we lost sight of how owners secure our futures?”  CEOs brainstormed about whether the pendulum has swung too far towards looking for competitive advantages for the member-consumer to ever swing back towards the member-owner persona.

The full-day CEO School is intended to help CEOs understand what they should be thinking about when it comes to getting the most from their investments in technology and the CU*Answers network. This year’s discussions centered around three key topics: “Data in Action,” “What does data mean to an Internet retailer?” and “What does it mean to add a data administrator to your organizational chart?”

The central point of the week’s events was the CEO Roundtable, where CEOs spent the day interacting with their peers, discussing in a roundtable format topics such as how credit unions can redefine themselves for the future, how to build a data-centric culture, prioritizing retail banking trends, and talking to members and stakeholders about new norms in the rate market.

Although CU*Answers holds many different learning and collaboration events all year long, CEO Strategies is unique in that it is designed only for credit union CEOs, a forum that encourages more open and frank interactions with other professionals who share the same day-to-day challenges.  “We do offer a special mid-year CEO School that’s open to up-and-comers who one day might sit in the CEO’s chair, but this week is truly for CEOs who want to learn from each other in a unique way,” says Karnes about the CEO-only restriction that has been a part of the event since its inception over a decade ago. 

About CU*Answers, Inc.

CU*Answers offers expertise in implementing technical solutions to operational needs, and is a leader in helping credit unions form strategic alliances and partnerships. CU*Answers provides a wide variety of services for credit unions including its flagship CU*BASE® processing system (online and in-house) and Internet development services featuring It’s Me 247 online and mobile banking. Additional services include web development, network design and security, and image check processing. Founded 45+ years ago, CU*Answers is a 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO providing services to credit unions representing over 1.9 million members and $19 billion in credit union assets. For more information, visit

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PSCU Welcomes Four Returning Member-Owners Back to Cooperative

Several credit unions from across the country have returned to PSCU as Member-Owners, the CUSO announced today. Mission Federal Credit Union (San Diego, Calif.), Credit Union ONE (Ferndale, Mich.), SRP Federal Credit Union (North Augusta, S.C.) and Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union (Chicago, Ill.) have all signed agreements with PSCU for a variety of services, including credit and debit processing and ATM services.

Mission Fed has returned to PSCU as a Member-Owner, signing an agreement for in-house credit, debit and ATM services. The reasons behind its decision to return to the PSCU cooperative include account service, cost-effective offerings and PSCU’s investments in both current and future technology solutions. Mission Fed was founded in 1961 and has grown to serve 220,000 members, with more than $3.39 billion in assets.

After initially issuing a start-up credit RFP, Credit Union ONE decided to expand its search into a comprehensive credit and debit evaluation, as a result of which the credit union has selected PSCU for credit and debit processing services. PSCU’s history of successfully launching credit card programs through its Advisors Plus business unit was one of the determining factors in the credit union’s decision, along with PSCU’s fraud-fighting efforts and results, commitment to service and technological integration points. Credit Union ONE has 137,000 members and $1.1 billion in assets.

PSCU’s success helping other credit unions grow their cards programs was the primary reason SRP Federal Credit Union has signed an agreement for full-service credit, after previously utilizing PSCU for Bill Pay and Total Member Care (TMC) 24/7/365 contact centers. The credit union currently serves more than 120,000 members.

Chicago Patrolmen’s has signed a five-year agreement for credit and debit processing services. The full-service financial institution previously worked with PSCU for credit processing only. It made the decision to return to the CUSO for both credit and debit due to its account servicing, reporting and analytics, fraud prevention successes, marketing support and integration efforts. Chicago Patrolmen’s was first established in 1938. It now serves over 33,000 members and has assets in excess of $376 million.

“We pride ourselves on partnering with our more than 850 Member-Owners to enable growth and provide an unparalleled member experience,” said Chuck Fagan, PSCU President and CEO. “The fact that these Member-Owners have returned to PSCU is a testament to our industry-leading suite of payments solutions, as well as the support we provide that is at the heart of everything we do as a service organization.”

About PSCU
Established in 1977, PSCU (St. Petersburg, Fla.) is the nation’s leading credit union service organization (CUSO). The company was recognized as CUSO of the Year in 2016 by the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations. PSCU’s products, financial services solutions and service model collectively support over 850 Owner credit unions representing more than 20 million credit, debit, prepaid, online bill payment and mobile accounts; protect over 2 billion transactions annually from fraud; and optimize credit union performance and growth. Comprehensive 24/7/365 member support is delivered through call centers located throughout the United States. For more information, visit