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ST PETERSBURG, Fla.- Almost 400 credit union card executives representing 150 CUs gathered at the Gaylord Palms resort near Orlando to learn about upcoming card industry changes and opportunities at PSCU Financial Services 2005 annual meeting, the cooperative said. PSCU Financial Services serves over 500 credit unions which process their credit card transactions with First Data Corp. The meeting opened with a slight problem since NCUA Board Chair JoAnn Johnson had been scheduled to address the meeting but had to send her senior advisor, Holly Herman, to speak in her place after a sever sinus infection prevented her from taking an airplane. Herman reported that the NCUA has delivered its Prompt Corrective Action Proposal for Reform to Congress, which details recommended statutory changes and describes a new risk-based system for federally insured credit unions. The reform proposal will result in net worth requirements that more precisely reflect the credit union risk, while providing an appropriate safeguard for the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), she said. Herman also noted that NCUA studies indicate continued growth by credit unions in terms of market share, assets and the number of products and services offered. “Credit unions benefit from their cooperative nature, as CUSOs and partnerships allow credit union to share strengths and resources. This gives the credit union industry a strong competitive advantage,” she said. In another address, Craig Card, vice president with VISA, echoed recent observations that credit union card issuers likely have a strong new market for their cards in members who operate small businesses. “Successful business card programs should offer: a simple application, attractive interest rates and credit lines, no annual fee and a rewards program (including cash back), Card said. He noted that small business owners are also interested in detailed summary reports, and that credit unions need to promote card benefits that include liability waiver programs and extended warranty protection for equipment. He added that, “Small business owners want to build a relationship with a financial institution that will meet their current and future business needs, so they are very loyal. They also represent an attractive opportunity for additional growth within a credit union’s existing membership base.” In addition to presentations, the annual forum also included small group sessions where speakers and attendees discuss ways to control fraud; improve employee education and member service; and boost debit and credit card profitability and usage. This year representatives from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation had a booth at the Forum’s Solutions Fair where they explained how credit unions can sponsor electronic field trips for local students. These Web-based interactive television events bring Colonial times to life for more than four million students annually. The Foundation is a not-for-profit institution that preserves and operates the restored 301-acre Colonial Williamsburg site and produces educational materials related to the founding of the United States as a nation and life in the 18th century. “The collaboration and cooperation in this industry is one of our greatest competitive advantages and we certainly do what we can to promote a free exchange of information at our meetings,” said David J. Serlo, President of PSCU Financial Services. [email protected]

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