The president/CEO of a Kalamazoo, Mich. credit union said a decision made in November to get back into card issuance has turned out to be prudent and has been generating media coverage.
"It's really amazing how many people really wanted to place their business with a credit union and also just as amazing that we've been getting very high credit scores," said Cheryl DeBoer, the head of the $415 million First Community FCU.
First Community, headquartered in Parchment, a Kalamazoo suburb, has been repeatedly featured on network newscasts and in "Move Your Money" blogs for its no-fee, fixed 8.9% rate Visa cards. First Community had sold its portfolio five years ago, but once DeBoer took over she felt cards, now offered through the Members Group CUSO, should be part of the portfolio as good business.
"We rolled this out in December and we've already got $3 million in line," said DeBoer. The media focus, with CBS Evening News featuring mentions in several repeated segments, was triggered, said DeBoer, by a Lake Bluff, Ill. consulting firm, Card Analysis Solutions.
First Community, getting e-mails and phone calls from out-of-state, has been directing callers to CUs in other locales "since our field of membership just covers Michigan counties," said DeBoer. She added her marketing team is "now working with our local press to piggyback on what we've received so far."