SAN ANTONIO — The CEO of one of the largest credit unions to come to offering credit cards attributed much of the CUs card success to its timing.
Rob Stuart, CEO of the $2.8 billion OnPoint Community Credit Union, told executives at a breakout session at the PSCU Financial Services conference that timing and a strong understanding of its community played a large role in its card success.
The CU only launched the card program late in 2008, Stuart reported, because before that time the credit union had rooted its lending in secured products like home equity loans and there as a perception that the card market in Portland, Ore., was saturated.
But Stuart said the credit union began to change its mind after significantly larger numbers of members began to ask for a credit card and Stuart said the CU began to perceive that it could find a place in the card market.
Part of the change, he said, came about due to Portland's increasing sense of the need for a local card and a greater emphasis for a local, consumer friendly card, Stuart said.
"Timing played a role," he added, conceding that the meltdown in the market's biggest banks, including Washington Mutual, led in part to the CU's strong expansion, including in its fledgling card market.
The CU has added ten branches since 2006, launched a card program and picked up significant numbers of members who had previously been bank customers. These in particular would bring bundled needs for a number of different CU products, Stuart said.
The credit union's card launch consisted of two different card platforms, one with rewards and one without but both platinum. The card without rewards, in contrast to many other places, is the more popular, Stuart said, a factor he attributed to the community's desire for a credit card that was simple, easy to understand and consumer friendly.