Credit Union Service Firm Creates Chief Debit Post
Bills, Steve, American Banker
PSCU Financial Services Inc. hopes to capitalize on the galloping growth of debit by creating a new job: chief debit officer.
PSCU, a St. Petersburg, Fla., credit union service organization that is the nation's largest, said it has hired Tom Gandre for the post, with the mission of finding ways to drive up debit volume.
Mr. Gandre, formerly the senior vice president of product development and management in First Data Corp.'s debit unit, said he plans to focus on three areas: the activation and use of debit cards by members of the 200 credit unions served by PSCU, fraud management as a value-added service to members, and consulting services.
At its heart the issue is simple, Mr. Gandre said in an interview last week: "What can we do to help our member base grow their business?"
Debit is one of the fastest-growing payment types in the United States. The Federal Reserve System reported last month that 25.3 billion transactions were made over debit networks in 2006, or 17.5% annual growth since a Fed study in 2003. Only the automated clearing house system grew faster.
Debit also surpassed credit cards in that study as the second-favorite method for Americans to make noncash payments, trailing only checks, which are in a long decline.
Charles E. Fagan 3rd, PSCU's chief sales officer, said the debit market is following a path similar to that of the credit card. "Credit has been a mainstay for us for a long time," he said. "We see opportunity for that same evolution to occur with debit."
Mr. Gandre's former employer, First Data, had a relationship with PSCU. Mr. Gandre said First Data does debit processing for PSCU, handling more than 7 million accounts that generated more than 500 million transactions last year.
He said he had come to First Data as a result of a "daisy chain of mergers and acquisitions," capped by the Denver processor's 2004 purchase of Concord EFS Inc. …