ACE: Your Automated Card Expert

Article excerpt

ACE

Easier access to credit card portfolio

information improves efficiency,

bolsters profitability

For the past decade and a half, many community bankers have considered credit cards as a "best customer" retention tool. While the value is often recognized in having the ability to provide customers with a product they desire, the value or potential value of a credit card portfolio as a whole is frequently not measured.

This is commonly the case because a great number of community banks concentrate their focus on what might seem to be more substantial or higher yielding consumer loans, such as automobile, real estate or commercial loans. And while a credit card account may not seem as profitable as a typical home or commercial loan, a credit card portfolio in its entirety (when well tended to) actually has the potential to become one of a community bank's highest yielding loan products.

The keys to building a successful card program are observation and flexibility. Continuing to do something one way, simply because you have always done so, is conclusively detrimental. You must diligently monitor the credit card solicitations of national and local competitors and determine whether or not your bank's products are staying competitive. Once you've gained an impression of the offers your customers are receiving (to do so simply save the credit card solicitations you receive over the course of a month) it is time to examine the possibilities.

Examining Card Portfolios

This summer, ICBA Bancard will launch the online credit card portfolio development tool ACE or Automated Card Expert, which will be accessible through ICBA Bancard's Web site, www.icbabancard.org. This service, available exclusively for ICBA Bancard participants, is the first of its kind in the community banking industry.

ACE will give banks the ability to examine their card portfolio's present and past performance, and discover solutions for the future. Regardless of whether you're senior management, a card plan manager or an accounting or marketing director, this passwordprotected software, designed by ICBA Bancard, has the information to keep your bank's portfolio moving forward.

ICBA Bancard has developed a means for its program participants to securely and accurately upload their monthly credit card portfolio information to the ACE tool. Data from a participant's key reports are transmitted over the Internet and automatically uploaded to ACE mid-month.

ACE has the ability to calculate a bank's net income, return on assets, net activity, cardholder penetration and many other important ratios in a matter of minutes. Users will be able to analyze monthly and yearly portfolio performance using customized reports, spreadsheets and graphs of key portfolio indicators such as account growth, penetration and activity, volume and usage, credit receivables aging and profitability. …