Eli Lilly FCU Buying Its Way Back Into Card Issuing
The roughly 60,000-member, $1 billion Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union in Indianapolis has repurchased a card portfolio that it had originally sold in 2002.
“We sold it at the time because we didn't believe we had the expertise we needed for card issuing,” explained Rich Jones, senior vice president with the credit union.
“But in the year's since we decided we wanted to buy it back and offer the member service we believe our brand needs to have,” Jones said Wednesday.
Eli Lilly FCU sold the 6,800-card, $20 million portfolio to MBNA in 2002 and then watched as MBNA merged with Bank of America and became FIA, Bank of America's card-issuing division.
The credit union sold the portfolio and entered into an agent issuing program on a five-year term and stuck with it through the 2007 renewal, but had already decided not to renew the deal for 2012.
“About that time, Bank of America decided to leave the affinity card market so it worked out,” Jones said, adding that his credit union had to negotiate with the bank to buy the portfolio.
Bank of America had wanted Eli Lilly FCU to accede to its selling the portfolio to Elan Financial Services, the affinity card issuer which is a subsidiary of U.S. Bank.
Significantly, Jones noted that the portfolio had not changed all that much during the more than a decade it had been with Bank of America, numbering about 6,800 cards at the beginning and the end of the relationship.