LAS VEGAS (5/7/14)--Financial literacy and building a healthy community are values supported by the products, services and strategies offered by Vancity CU, Vancouver, Canada, said its vice president of payment solutions.
Vancity CU's payments products and services reflect the Vancouver, Canada, credit union's values of promoting financial literacy and building healthy communities, Vice President of Payment Solutions Mohamed Ladak told the Credit Union National Association Payments Roundtable in Las Vegas Tuesday. (CUNA photo)
The $17.5 billion-asset credit union's credit card program focuses on members' needs, Mohamed Ladak told attendees at the Credit Union National Association Payments Roundtable in Las Vegas Tuesday.
Vancity's enviroVisa credit card has an 86% approval rate, and it can be customized for high-risk members so those members also have access to credit. The card program uses a "wallet" approach to enable access to multiple payment types that address members' needs and preferences.
Each year, Vancity takes 5% of the profits from its enviroVisa card program and places it in the credit union's enviroFund. Those funds are then invested in environment-enhancing initiatives, such as sustainable urban food production and farmers' markets.
The card is coupled with a rewards program, and about 70% of rewards points go to members' savings or loan accounts. Only about 25% of rewards points are redeemed for travel bonuses and 5% are redeemed for merchandise.
Vancity believes in ongoing member education and awareness. The credit union contributes $1 million annually to its credit card financial literacy initiative. It has produced two YouTube videos to help members understand the benefits of paying off their card balances quickly. "By posting these two videos, we actually make less money, but the videos are consistent with our values, and our values are our differentiator," said Ladak. The credit union's vision statement is, "We make good money by putting money to good."
Ladak said that tap-and-go technology is very popular in Canada right now, so Vancity is incorporating that technology into its payments systems. "We're taking a wait-and-see approach to a mobile wallet until a dominant technology solution emerges and we know exactly what our members want.
"A payments strategy is not one solution but many incremental steps," he noted.