Mike Welch's publisher's column of October 17th ("To sell or not to sell is the question"), was right on the money! I am glad to see credit unions encouraged to step back and look at the performance of their credit card business and consider the available strategic options. To assist financial institutions in this effort, firms like mine have worked with many organizations in developing mutually beneficial credit card partnerships. In particular, we have consulted with a number of credit unions in assessing the options for their credit card business, from starting a new portfolio, to selling and partnering with another issuer. As pointed out in Welch's column, the only way to identify the best credit card strategy for your credit union is to conduct a thorough evaluation of the current business. This will lead to one of three options: maintain the status quo; invest in the businesses; or partner with a credit card expert to help grow the business. To determine the best direction for each credit union, several factors must be considered: the breadth of product available to the members; the level and quality of credit card service; and the overall financial risk/return of owning and managing a credit card portfolio. A close analysis allows a credit union to weigh all factors from current operating costs, to portfolio growth potential to capital available for re-investment, in order to develop the best credit card strategy for their particular credit union. Partnering/selling is certainly in the best interest of many credit unions, while others have or will achieve their goal through their own re-investment efforts. The answer to the "to sell or not to sell" question can only be found through a process of evaluation that each credit union would be wise to conduct. Steven Fuld Senior Vice President Kessler Financial Services Boston, Mass.

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