Gathering Pearls

By Cook, Timothy | Independent Banker, January 1999 | Go to article overview

Gathering Pearls


Cook, Timothy, Independent Banker


Community bankers dig for precious marketing gems at IBAA Bancard conference

Y2K. Internet banking. ATM network consolidation. Visa's new online debit card. TCM Bank, N.A., IBAA Bancard's new credit card bank for community banks.

Those subjects provided the topical backdrop for more than 100 bankers who gathered last fall for IBAA Bancard's 1998 Annual Card Conference for Community Banks. But the conference's nuts-and-bolts workshops and one-on-one talks gave bankers the pearls and golden nuggets of information that can make credit and debit card programs more competitive and profitable.

"The topics were more for the people who use [the information] every day," explains Susie Ryan, vice president and manager of bank card services at Valle de Oro Bank in Spring Valley, Calif. "The day-to-day operational stuff. They were really keyed into that this year. "

At one workshop, Thomas A. Dworak, vice president and division head of retail banking for Security National Bank of Omaha, Neb., mined several marketing jewels to implement quickly. In "Marketing on a Shoestring Budget," Dworak says he learned more about mailing letter checks to customers to activate more credit card accounts. He also discovered a program that can automatically increase customers' credit card lines through Equifax Card Services, Bancard's card processing service provider.

"Banks all have the same products," Dworak says. "It's how you offer them that's different." Dworak came to the conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla., with the goal of quickly doubling his bank's card business. His bank, which has $250 million in assets, manages more than 2,200 credit cards, 5,500 debit cards and 2,500 ATM cards. "We need to get those customers who take advantage of our loan products to use our credit card products," he says.

This year's IBAA Bancard conference served up information on a broad front of industry trends and developments. Expert presentations were given on recent legislative events on Capitol Hill, the latest bankruptcy trends and the fundamentals of providing banking services on the Internet. Trade show exhibits displayed new products and services. A tour of Equifax's state-of-the-art card processing facility in nearby St. Petersburg, which concluded with dinner and a fireworks display, also was a conference highlight.

Workshops also featured innovations in ATM services, offered a primer on Internet banking, provided advice in managing card risk and dealing with Y2K. Morning seminars also highlighted new IBAA services, including TCM Bank, N. …

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