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WAYNESBORO, Va. – The $493 million DuPont Community Credit Union has become the latest to discover how a sagging credit card program can benefit from updating its management strategy. The 47,000 member credit union had a card portfolio with a penetration of roughly 21% and balances of roughly $20 million spread over roughly 10,000 accounts, according to NCUA records, before it boosted both its card penetration and balances through a mixture of different promotions and by adding a rewards program. “We are really thrilled by the results of the effort,” said Suzie Cook, vice president of marketing for the credit union. “It really surpassed our hopes.” DuPont used a mixture of different approaches to boost its card program over October and November of 2004, including direct mail campaigns to allow qualified holders of its Classic card to upgrade to a new Platinum Card program and an introductory percentage rate offer of 2.9% on the Platinum Card and 3.9% on the MasterCard Classic program. Cardholders who upgraded their accounts and then went on to use them for the first time also received 1,000 CU Rewards points. “We wanted to really offer an appealing APR so we opted for the 2.9% on the life of the new balances,” Cook said. The new balances were offered on purchases on the new cards along with balance transfers from other institutions, cash advances and convenience checks, the credit union said. The credit union’s promotions resulted in 882 new cards and 1,262 card upgrades to Platinum. The average credit card balance jumped from $1,777 to $2,977- an impressive increase of 68%. After adding $15 million to credit card balances during the two-month campaign, the credit union then posted an additional $1.5 million in the following four months. According to TNS Global, a rewards program and an attractive interest rate continue to be the leading reasons for opening a new general credit card account. PSCU Financial Services, the card services cooperative for more than 500 credit unions that process their card transactions with First Data Corp. provided the Rewards program that DuPont used. PSCU Financial Services reports that cards with its CURewards program post an average of an additional 23 transactions a year, adding about two more transactions per month over cards without the rewards program. The promotion also boosted card penetration, Cook reported, moving it from 21% in September of 2004 to 26% at the end of the year. Cook also noted that the credit union appears to be holding on to the accounts after the introductory balances have been paid off and has seen balances at its 8.9% rate level increase as well.

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