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I was pleased to see the recent reports that fewer credit unions are selling their card portfolios and credit union card programs are out-competing other financial institutions (Credit Union Times, Jan. 16, 2008). It’s a great success story for credit unions, and as a former credit union executive it’s a story that I can relate to. It is useful to reflect on how credit unions proved that naysayers of credit unions and card-programs were wrong.

First, credit union representatives paid attention to the market and learned from it. Perhaps the biggest innovation in cards during the past two decades has been the rewards program. Banks introduced these first, but Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. and other vendors heard what credit unions wanted and created great credit union rewards programs. Now many credit unions offer reward programs that meet or exceed the competitions.’

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