Even though 90% of all portfolio sale deals last year included an agent credit card program going forward, the performance of the agent relationship is dependent on how intelligent and aggressive the agents are. As a result, accurately predicting the application and booked account flow through their agents’ branches has become a challenge. Seasoned agent bank/credit union specialist, R.K. Hammer, says their experience with over 700 agent banks and credit unions over 25 years shows that if you directly reward the branch and the branch personnel for card sales, the results will be far greater than if the agent simply takes the reward flow into corporate income and not share it with the retail team. Hammer found that a “weak-performing” agent relationship with little intelligent marketing or branch training and support, will produce some 24-36 new booked accounts per branch per year. A “medium-performing” agent with some marketing to the branch customers and some mild support in the branches by the retail sales staff will generate 48-60 new accounts per branch per year. A “high-performing” agent with very smart consistent marketing by the issuer and very aggressive sales efforts by the agent’s branch staff will produce as many as 72-84 new accounts per branch per year.
Atlanta-based InfiCorp Holdings has teamed with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to launch a suite of “PETA/VISA Platinum” cards. Every time a cardholder makes a purchase using their PETA card, a portion of that sale goes to fund educational programs designed to teach children and adults to respect and show compassion for all living beings. InfiCorp Holdings, Inc.is a specialty credit card company and marketer of client branded credit card products and services. Founded in 1980 and now up to 800,000 members and supporters internationally, PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals.
In an effort to provide increased levels of transparency, MasterCard is now offering its rules to all interested parties at no charge. Member Service Providers previously only had access to abridged rules through their sponsoring acquirers, at a cost to the acquirer. The distribution of the rules to MSPs follows MasterCard’s decision last year to enhance its merchant Web site, and make the rules pertaining to merchant acceptance available to the merchant community. The new “Member Service Provider Rules Manual” covers the MSP’s use of the “MasterCard,” “Maestro” and “Cirrus” marks, security requirements, acceptance procedures, and affinity/co-brand program rules. MSPs provide critical services supporting member issuing and acquiring programs, including transaction processing, authorization routing, cardholder and merchant solicitation and statement preparation, and chargeback processing.
When it comes to agent card deals, directly rewarding the branch and the branch personnel for card sales will make a big difference in the results as opposed to simply taking the reward flow into corporate income and not sharing it with the retail team. Also, if some portion of the agent’s annual bonus includes a goal for selling card products, that also tends to produce a higher performing agent bank program. Additionally, the degree to which retail branch sales staff are given ongoing sales training for card products will pay large dividends, to both the agent bank and the issuer. These suggestions come from R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers and their 20 years of experience in dealing with 700 agent banks and credit unions. Hammer says their experience shows that a weak-performing agent relationship characterized by little intelligent marketing or branch support will produce between 12 and 24 new booked accounts per branch per year. A medium-performing agent, those characterized by some marketing to the branch customers and some mild support in the branches by the retail sales staff, will do between 36 and 48 new accounts per branch per year. A high-performing agent, one characterized by very smart consistent marketing by the issuer and very aggressive sales efforts by the agent’s branch staff, will produce as many as 60 or 72 new accounts per branch per year.
Discover Financial Services will announce today it is opening the “Discover/NOVUS Network” to financial institutions that want to issue on its network. The nation’s fourth largest payment card network also confirmed it is in advanced discussions with several financial institutions to issue cards on its network. Discover is using the “Annual Card Forum and Expo,” which opens today in Orlando, as the forum for the announcement. While Discover can link its authorization and settlement systems directly to issuers who process in house, Discover will also announce that First Data, TSYS and Metavante have already taken steps with Discover to ensure that their bank customers can issue on the “Discover/NOVUS Network.” Discover says these new processor links will facilitate financial institutions’ ability to issue card products on the “Discover/NOVUS Network” using their existing systems. David Nelms, Chairman and CEO of Discover Financial Services will make the announcement this morning. In May 1996, Harvey Golub, then chairman and CEO of American Express invited U.S. banks to join AmEx in issuing consumer and corporate cards on the company’s worldwide network. Golub’s invitation was also made at the “Annual Credit Card Forum.” In January, AmEx inked a deal with MBNA to issue a card, its first card issuing partnership in the USA. (CF Library 5/3/96; 1/29/04)