DES MOINES, Iowa – The Members Group continues to diversify into new product areas. Now credit unions can look to the CUSO that’s jointly owned by Iowa Corporate Credit Union and the Iowa Credit Union League, to come out before the end of the year with two types of payroll cards-an employer-sponsored card, and a member- directed card. With about 200 credit union clients around the country, The Members Group’s primary business continues to be debit/ATM cards and credit cards. Vice President, Strategic Development Jeff Russell said the company processes about 1.2 million card accounts, including 700,000 debit/ATMs, and 500,000 credit cards. The Members Group also began playing in the emerging prepaid gift card market last year through a program called Atira, and Russell said the company issued about 50,000 of those cards. Lastly, about 15% of The Members Group’s business comes from the nearly 4.5 million checks the company processes monthly for credit unions. Russell explained that the employer payroll card and member-directed card “are really the same type of card, they’re just marketed to different target groups.” With the employer card, an employer would “load” the paycheck on to the card of an employee who doesn’t have direct deposit. The employee would subsequently use the card as a Visa card or a debit card in a PIN environment. “In an employer environment, the employer is making the decision to use the card for company cost efficiency. It takes an estimated $5-$20 to issue and clear a check through reconciliation, so there’s an economic driver,” said Russell, adding the card is also an employee benefit for an employer to offer employees who may not have a relationship with a financial institution. The second type of payroll card The Members Group will be rolling out-member-directed-would be offered as an optional product to members by their credit union, similarly as a credit card or debit card. The member would take their card to their employer and ask for their entire paycheck or a portion of it be loaded onto the card. Russell foresees several possible scenarios how a member-based card could be used, for example as a way to help members with financial management problems or to load small signature-based loans on to. “What’s key to remember is the program for both cards is the same, but the marketing angle is different between the two. On the member-based side, it’s the member’s own decision whether to use it. It’s their option,” he said, adding he’s not aware of any other CUSO that’s offering the cards. If everything goes as planned, The Members Group will be live with Honda FCU for the employer-sponsored payroll card by the fourth quarter 2006. The member-based card will be available the same time, and while Russell said he’s gotten a lot of support from credit unions and CUSOs he’s talked with about the cards, he thinks the employer-sponsored card will be the most popular of the two. It can appeal, he said to single-sponsor CUs that have deep relationships with their sponsor, as well as to community-charter or SEG-based CUs that can market the card to their SEG groups or business members. – [email protected]

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.