Direct mail offers from large credit card issuers has traditionally provided the most direct competition for credit union card issuers, but large issuers had largely moved away from the marketing approach as the credit industry declined.
But now Andrew Davidson, senior vice president with Mintel Compermedia, a firm that tracks direct mail advertising, says there are signs that large card issuers are returning to the marketing practice.
According to the firm's observations, large card issuers sent 180 million direct mail card offers in October, a 34% increase over the number of card offers sent by direct mail in September.
"Credit card mail volume is still down significantly from a year ago, but October's sharp increase is an excellent sign for the industry," said Davidson. "With recent green shoots of economic recovery, card issuers feel more confident about the future. I anticipate that this winter will mark the start of a turnaround in credit card direct marketing that will be sustained through 2010. This could very well be the beginning of the end for credit card direct mail declines."
Mintel Comperemedia reported that October's month-to-month increase in credit card direct mail is the highest recorded since February 2004. Davidson added that "this is significant because direct mail rebounded from the 2001 recession in early 2004. Then of course, we saw mail volume reach unprecedented peaks in 2005/2006."