That's the advice that CMC Vice President Dean Happe gave attendees at NAFCU's 42nd Annual Conference and Exhibition.
Happe, whose company helps credit unions manage card programs, gave five suggestions for entering the market or strengthening a credit union's presence in the market: design the product, build a business case, devise or evaluate your service strategy, develop a strong portfolio-management strategy and develop an approach for marketing the product.
He added that credit unions are uniquely positioned to do well in the credit card business because their memberships are growing and they are perceived by members as offering products at a good value.
Happe noted that credit unions have about 3% of the credit card market, but with the problems that banks are having, there are tremendous growth opportunities.
Credit unions that offer credit cards will have to deal with a range of changes in the law because of legislation passed earlier this year.
In a separate session at the conference, attorney Andrew Lorentz outlined all the changes that will take effect between now and next August.
Some of the changes include:
o Starting later this month, card issuers must mail statements 21 days before they are due and notify members 45 days before rate changes take effect.
o Beginning next February, there can be no changes in APRs, fees and finance charges for at least the first year of a new account, except for promotional rates and penalties if a payment is more than 60 days late.
o As of August 2010, penalty fees must be "reasonable and proportional,'' to the omission or violation and risk-based repricing must be reassessed at least every six months.