CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The $191 million Harvard University Employees Credit Union has increased both the number of credit cards accounts and the number of balances by using several tools offered by the PSCU card servicing cooperative. PSCU is owned by over 500 credit unions that process their card transactions with First Data Corporation. According to the credit union’s records, the number of card accounts climbed from 3,098 accounts in September of 2003 to 3,751 accounts in September 2004. The portfolio, which issues both Visa and MasterCard, saw increases in receivables from $3.5 million to $5.1 million in 2004. It is somewhat unusual to see increases in both the number of card accounts and the receivables, and Jim Lawrence, a manager for the credit union, attributed the rise in both to the program’s emphasis on both cutting interest rates, offering balance transfers and putting a relationship card into place. Harvard Employees moved the interest rate on its Visa Gold to 10.99% and started a 5.99% balance transfer program and promotion. The relationship Visa card offers a 50 basis point discount on its interest rate and additional discounts on other interest rates such as auto lending. “Our experience proves that a minimal investment in credit card programs can generate significant revenue, while simultaneously building member satisfaction and boosting other lending products,” Lawrence said. “Our sales manager did an outstanding job of getting our employees excited about this program through a series of individual and group rewards.”

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