TNB Card Services has purchased the credit card portfolios of five more credit unions across the U.S., and is currently converting those card portfolios to TNB’s agent issuing program. The latest purchases bring the total number of programs TNB has purchased to more than 120 since it launched its agent issuing program in 2002.
TNB now owns the programs of Potelco United Credit Union in Pocatello, Idaho; BRECO Federal Credit Union in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Northern Tier Federal Credit Union in Minot, North Dakota; KEMBA Louisville Credit Union in Louisville, Kentucky; and Salmon Falls Community Credit Union in Somersworth, New Hampshire. TNB’s purchase of the five programs netted some 5,500 card accounts with nearly $7 million in outstanding balances.
The opportunity to give its credit cardholder members a rewards program was a key reason why Potelco United Credit Union decided to sell its card portfolio to TNB.
“We want to give our members a rewards program, which they have been asking about, yet we couldn’t afford to do it on our own,” said President Brian Osberg. “We liked what TNB had to offer and the fact that the company is credit union-owned.”
Osberg said the sale will make higher credit limits and varied rates available to Potelco cardholders, making the credit union’s card more attractive to them. Proceeds from the sale, he added, will go toward other loan products and help finance a fourth branch.
Potelco United Credit Union, now 70 years old, is community chartered to serve the eastern Idaho counties of Bannock, Bingham, and Bonneville, which include two of the state’s largest cities, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. With 8,700 members, the credit union has assets of $52 million.
BRECO Federal Credit Union had been thinking about selling its card program for a couple of years, because it just couldn’t generate a competitive product, said Ronnie Stephens, president and CEO.
“We couldn’t offer low transfer rates, teaser rates, or high credit lines,” Stephens said, and as a result the card portfolio grew stagnant. “Compliance was also becoming a burden, making it difficult to manage the program in a manner in which we could also grow it.”
Stephens said members will benefit from TNB’s ability to offer broader and more competitive products. He added that because TNB is owned by credit unions, “that gave us a real comfort level from a non-compete standpoint. Also, we know they’ll treat our members the same way we do.”
BRECO Federal Credit Union began in 1934 under the sponsorship of the Baton Rouge Electric Co. It serves primarily the employees of two Fortune 500 companies, Entergy and Shaw Group, along with some other select employee groups.
After a change in credit card processors failed to generate sufficient growth in its card program, Northern Tier Federal Credit Union decided it was time to sell, said President Darrell Roos.
“We felt that offering a good program to our members was more important than having a program that we owned ourselves,” Roos said. “We wanted a program that offered our members all the extras.”
The credit union chose TNB, he noted, because “we felt TNB offered a better fit with us and our members. They understand credit unions and the level of service we demand for our members. We hope that now we can offer our members a great credit card product that will allow us to have a Northern Tier card in every member’s pocket.”
Northern Tier Federal Credit Union, founded in 1959 to serve Minot Air Force Base, still serves the base as well as a number of rural communities in north central North Dakota. The credit union has 11,000 members and $58.5 million in assets.
KEMBA Louisville Credit Union, which serves most of Kentucky, southern Indiana and Southern Illinois employees of the Kroger Company and their families, was finding it difficult to grow its card program because it couldn’t offer what President Joe Cordaro calls “the bells and whistles.”
“We did what we could, but when I couldn’t even convince my board and employees to use our card, I knew we had a problem,” Cordaro said. The credit union said TNB offered a fair price, and its credit union ownership was a plus. Also, Cordaro added, other credit unions that had sold their card portfolios to TNB gave the company strong recommendations.
KEMBA Louisville Credit Union was chartered in 1934. Cordaro said he is counting on TNB to provide better card products and service to the credit union’s members.
Salmon Falls Community Credit Union considered a portfolio sale for about 18 months before deciding that TNB could better serve its members with a wider range of products, higher credit lines, and more appealing rates.
“It didn’t seem like we were getting enough ‘bang for the buck’ based on the time we invested to manage the program,” said Dan Clarke, the credit union’s president and CEO. “Also, fraud issues were cumbersome and time-intensive to manage, even though our fraud risk was low. We couldn’t offer a platinum card because of the relatively high cost of the program.”
Clarke said in addition to the benefits to members, the credit union has been able to devote the management resources from the program to other important areas. He added that the proceeds from the sale are helping to expand loan programs and help pay for a newly completed main office.
The 52-year-old Salmon Falls Community Credit Union began by serving General Electric Co. employees. Now it serves communities in a 10-mile radius of its Somersworth, New Hampshire, base.
“Our goal is to grow credit unions and their membership,” said Jay Kurian, first senior vice president of TNB Card Services. “The growth of our agent program is evidence that our approach is working. We appreciate those initial credit unions that trusted us in 2002 to purchase their portfolios. Today we own the portfolios of more than 120 credit unions and our program is growing stronger every day.”
About TNB Card Services
TNB Card Services, owned and directed by credit unions since 1976, provides electronic payments processing, as well as an agent issuing solution for credit unions nationwide. Serving more than 475 financial institutions and managing more than 1.6 million cards, Dallas-based TNB enables credit unions to enhance member loyalty through credit union-branded card products. For more information about TNB, go to HYPERLINK “www.tnbcard.com”_www.tnbcard.com_ or call Dusty Bowers at 1-800-422-0733 ext. 6555.