Steve Hazan

SECU’s successful business card journey

Educating business members about card benefits helps grow the portfolio 41%.

November 5, 2019

Steve Hazan likens the introduction of a new credit card for business members to Homer’s Odyssey.

“There were a lot of challenges along the way—you don’t just slap down a piece of plastic and send it out,” says Hazan, director of business services for $3.8 billion asset SECU in Linthicum, Md. “But while it took Homer 10 years to get home, it took us only two.”

Hazan, who addressed the 2019 CUNA Lending Council Conference Tuesday in New Orleans, walked attendees through the process of SECU’s business credit card journey.

Keys to card’s success include:

  • Changing from a fixed rate to a variable rate, which reduces interest-rate risk.
  • Upgrading its rewards program to cash-back options.
  • Boosting marketing and advertising efforts to expand its presence in the marketplace.
  • Research members’ wants and needs.
  • Updating underwriting guidelines.
  • Increasing efficiency by streamlining processes.
  • Improving collections efforts, although delinquencies and charge-offs remain low.
  • Training staff on the card’s features and other business services.
  • Beefing up staff incentives and adding quarterly and annual goals.
  • Adding preapprovals to business members who take out other loans.
  • Targeting business owners who were heavy debit card users and explaining the benefits of using the business credit card.
  • Identifying business members’ pain points and educating them about how the card will address those challenges.

The result? SECU has grown its business card balances 41%, Hazan says.

“We’re benefitting mightily from this,” he says. “Credit cards are the most profitable line of business at the credit union. Our journey continues.”

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