St. Petersburg, Fla. – (April 29, 2016) – Six years after the National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union (NIHFCU) out of Rockville, Md., sold its credit card portfolio, the credit union is the latest to achieve a successful re-entry into credit card issuing. In order to meet its growth goals and help members save money, the credit union turned to PSCU and its consulting arm, Advisors Plus, to help guide its re-entry into issuing, achieving results that far exceeded all initial goals.
NIHFCU initially sold its portfolio to an agent bank in 2009 due to the worsening economic climate. As the economy improved, NIHFCU embarked on an extensive financial and competitive analysis, and the credit union’s board and management team decided it was time to rethink its card strategy.
“After evaluating numerous processors, we selected PSCU and its consulting team, Advisors Plus, to help guide our focus, set goals, and develop a highly competitive credit card product line that would resonate with our members,” said Tom Poe, SVP, Retail Delivery, NIHFCU.
Prior to launch, NIHFCU studied the marketplace with the help of a competitive review from Advisors Plus. It then turned to its members and employees to ask what was important to them in a card program. The results were transformed into a program that emphasized low rates, reduced fees, big rewards and advanced security. The new card lineup is targeted to four primary segments: a low-rate Platinum card, a secured card for rebuilding credit, Signature Cards for cash back and travel rewards, and a Business Rewards card.
“We are confident that our card offering is a perfect match to our members’ needs,” said Poe. “All of our departments had aligned and committed to a win prior to launch. From our lending department to accounting and IT, it was a great team effort.”
Chris Joy, Principal, Credit Consulting at PSCU’s Advisors Plus, worked closely with the team at NIHFCU to devise a plan that would not only help them meet their growth goals, but help their members save money in the process. “We made certain that NIHFCU came out of the gate strong, focusing on account growth and balance transfers,” remarked Joy.
Nearly $2 million in balance transfers were processed in the months following the program launch, exceeding initial balance transfer goals. NIHFCU has already saved members over $100,000 in interest by transferring balances to their lower rate cards. “PSCU’s capabilities, experience, cooperative model and Advisors Plus consulting support helped us establish a new issuing program and execute marketing campaigns with tremendous results. We could not be happier,” added Poe.
NIHFCU is the nation’s largest credit union serving the biomedical industry. Fittingly, one of Poe’s favorite examples of his team’s work was a campaign titled, “All the Elements of the Perfect Credit Card.” Campaign design incorporated the Periodic table of Elements, as well as messaging suited to those in the biomed industry. “NIHFCU’s marketing team was heavily engaged in the promotion of this program and did a fantastic job developing break-through creative ideas that drove awareness and engagement,” said Poe.
“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with our healthcare membership and enhance their financial lives,” said Steve Levin, VP, Marketing, NIHFCU. “Our new credit cards presented a great opportunity to create unique benefits, card designs and marketing campaigns that are designed with their needs and lifestyle in mind.”
With the help of Advisors Plus, NIHFCU continues to see strong month-over-month increases in total card penetration, card activity and average balances. “We are seeing good indications that people are seeing real value in their NIHFCU credit cards and are actively using them,” noted Poe.
In the fall of 2015, Advisors Plus ran a custom pre-screened New Account Acquisition campaign for NIHFCU, wherein the credit union offered its Cash Rewards Signature Card with a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, with a $100 cash bonus. The campaign resulted in a 4.08% response rate. Along with the custom campaign, NIHFCU offered an invitation to apply in two phases to its remaining members. The credit union offered its Platinum Card with a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. In total, NIHFCU acquired 718 new credit card accounts through these campaigns.
NIHFCU is currently participating in PSCU’s spring “structured” campaign for the first time and is hoping to enhance growth comparable to its custom campaign.
Advisors Plus is an independent business unit within PSCU. Using the expertise that comes from hundreds of marketing campaigns for credit unions of all sizes, Advisors Plus provides data-driven, measurable marketing campaign materials that have been proven to generate results consistently above industry averages.
About National Institute of Health Federal Credit Union (NIHFCU)
Founded in 1940, the NIHFCU is one of Maryland’s largest credit unions and is proud to be the nation’s largest serving the biomedical industry. The NIHFCU expanded its charter in April 2010 to provide membership eligibility to all employees, independent contractors or self-employed persons who work regularly in the biomedical and healthcare industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. Now serving more than 43,000 members, it provides a full range of world-class, state-of-the-art financial products and services for both personal and business banking. For more information, visit NIHFCU.org.
Established in 1977, PSCU (St. Petersburg, Fla.) is the nation's leading credit union service organization (CUSO) and was awarded CUSO of the Year recognition by NACUSO. The cooperative is owned by over 800 member credit unions representing more than 18.9 million credit, debit, prepaid, online bill payment and mobile accounts. Comprehensive 24/7/365 member support is delivered through contact centers located throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.pscu.com.