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ARLINGTON, Va. – Certified Federal Credit Union, a $40 million institution based in Commerce, California, has sold its $2.3 million credit card portfolio to lan Financial Services, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp. Certified CU will retain its brand on the cards and will cooperate with lan to increase the number of cardholders among its members, according to AssetExchange, the Oregon based firm that brokered the deal. Certified CEO Jeffery Weinstein said that dissatisfaction with Certegy as a card processor, combined with delinquencies and an inability to have competitive card benefits were why they credit union had sold. “When we started our [card] program five years ago, we knew we couldn’t do it all in house,” Weinstein said. “So we had contracted with Certegy. From the beginning we never felt like we had control of the portfolio,” Weinstein said. He added that the credit union had also not been satisfied with Certegy’s collection efforts. As of December of 2001, NCUA recorded that Certified’s ratio of delinquent loans to total loans stood at 2.14%, about .74% above its peer group. The ratio of loans charged off to total loans stood at 1.91% or .51% above the peer group. Competitive cards with low introductory rates that offered benefits that the credit union’s cards could not match also played a role, Weinstein said. “We looked at what our members were getting and saw we couldn’t compete,” he said. Sue Chrzan, spokesperson for Card Services for Credit Unions (CSCU), confirmed that Certified had been a member but said she was unsure how much the credit union had taken advantage of the services CSCU offered for improving credit union performance. CSCU’s records indicate that Certified had never accessed the Virtual Card Consultant, CSCU’s online analytical product, she reported. Vincent Pavese, Certegy’s general manager for North American Operations expressed surprise that Certified complained about its collections efforts since, he said, the credit union had never taken advantage of any of Certegy’s enhanced collection services. He also made it clear that while Certegy provides processing and other services which credit unions can use to keep their card portfolio’s profitable, it is up to the credit unions to take advantage of them. “Certegy processes for 3,500 credit unions,” Pavese said, “some with 300 accounts and some with 50, 75, 100,000 accounts. We stand ready to help but the credit union has to be involved too.” Pavese said that his impression was that not enough credit unions were serious about their card portfolios and were too willing to let their card penetration lag at about 20%. He added that in today’s card market it was not enough to have a “plain vanilla card,” credit unions offering cards need to offer card enhancements, competitive pricing and other marketing tools. All of which Certegy offers, he said. [email protected]

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