Overlooking More Revenue

Major Milestone—ICBA Bancard & TCM Bank is celebrating 30 years of serving the nation’s community banks this year. TCM Bank leaders, from left, are ICBA Bancard Director Joseph Pierce, president and CEO of Farmers State Bank in Lagrange, Ind.; TCM Bank President and CEO Paul Weston; ICBA Bancard President and CEO Linda Echard; and ICBA Bancard Chairman Noah Wilcox, president, CEO and vice chairman of Grand Rapids State Bank in Grand Rapids, Minn.

Major Milestone—ICBA Bancard & TCM Bank is celebrating 30 years of serving the nation’s community banks this year. TCM Bank leaders, from left, are ICBA Bancard Director Joseph Pierce, president and CEO of Farmers State Bank in Lagrange, Ind.; TCM Bank President and CEO Paul Weston; ICBA Bancard President and CEO Linda Echard; and ICBA Bancard Chairman Noah Wilcox, president, CEO and vice chairman of Grand Rapids State Bank in Grand Rapids, Minn.

Explore the potential for credit card income through TCM Bank

By Andrea Knotts Bona

What’s in your “customers’ wallets”? For approximately 20 to 30 percent of community banks, it isn’t a branded credit card from their bank. So what keeps community banks from providing credit card options to customers? There isn’t a simple answer; as with most things it is a combination of factors ranging from risk aversion to a lack of knowledge of today’s credit solutions.

“A lot of the banks offer a debit card program; however, they don’t offer a credit program because they don’t offer payment solutions. Many banks don’t realize that a credit program is a revenue generator,” says Karen Stephenson, vice president, client relations, TCM Bank, N.A., ICBA Bancard’s subsidiary that offers credit card agent programs for community banks.

TCM Bank, N.A., developed the Total Card Management® program as a way for community banks to gain revenue by issuing their own branded consumer and small-business credit cards, without all the risk traditionally associated with credit card offerings.

TCM Bank provides two options. First, it can purchase a community bank’s credit card portfolio. Unlike other credit card processors, TCM Bank does not compete with its clients, but instead provides a safe harbor where a community bank can continue providing branded cards without losing control of its customer base. Second, it can help a community bank add credit cards to its current selection of financial products. The bank can gain a profitable new revenue stream without the usual risk and costs of running a credit card program.

“One of the main benefits community banks find in using TCM Bank’s products is that TCM takes on all the compliance risk, as well as the fraud loss. The bank is relieved of the overhead of having full-time employees to run compliance. The bank is the car, and TCM Bank is the engine. We operate behind the scenes. Plus, we provide full marketing support,” Stephenson says.

“We are experts at cards and our industry savvy on what is available product-wise. We can customize programs for individual community banks.”
—Karen Stephenson, TCM Vice President, client relations

With TCM Bank, both a community bank’s consumer and small-business credit card programs are supported by a dedicated client service team, staff trainings, staff promotions, and branch and online marketing materials.

“A primary factor that sets TCM Bank apart from our competitors is the customer service we provide. Our competitors are large and offer a large-scale, call-center environment where there is a rush to get the customer on and off the phone. We offer an in-house call center where it is not unusual for our representative to take 10 minutes to speak with a customer, compared with the average call-center time of 2 to 3 minutes. We discover a customer’s true needs during the course of the call and solve the problem the first time out. They don’t need to call back,” Stephenson says.

When folks are comparison shopping, TCM Bank’s product pricing is similar to that of its competitors, but the difference with TCM Bank is it offers only one product, credit cards, and it doesn’t cross-sell its customers other products.

“We are experts at cards and are industry-savvy on what is available product-wise. We can customize programs for individual community banks. Because we are small with a focus on one product, we can provide community banks with direct access to our experts, such as our chief lending officer or compliance officer, if there are specific questions. We are available to our customers,” Stephenson adds.

The TCM Bank Program

With community banks’ risk tolerance and market position in mind, TCM Bank can provide an objective assessment of a bank’s credit card portfolio with recommendations to improve the bottom lines. TCM Bank is the largest purchaser of credit card portfolios in the industry, dedicated exclusively to supporting community banks.

TCM Bank’s management of a community bank’s credit card portfolio has the following benefits:

  • Improved competitiveness. The TCM program lets your community bank go head-to-head with big competitors—without big expense or hassle.
  • Stronger customer relationships. By adding or maintaining a branded credit card program, you can build customer loyalty while improving your community bank’s bottom line.
  • Personal service. TCM’s Customer Contact Center, dubbed C3, opened in 2011. The center’s approach is modeled on the close, personal service community banks provide their customers. You can be sure your customers are in good hands when they call the number on the back of their credit card.
  • Stronger identity in your market. Instead of being tied up in day-to-day credit card administration, your community bank’s employees can focus on building customer relationships and achieving your bank’s other objectives. TCM Bank will handle all aspects of card operations, such as compliance, underwriting and delinquency management, while providing 24/7 online and telephone support for your customers.
  • Choose your risk level. You choose the level of income and risk that suits you.

Contact TCM Bank at www.icbabancard.com/tcmbank for an evaluation of your community bank’s portfolio or to discuss a start-up agent program.


Andrea Knotts Bona (andrea.bona@icba.org) is ICBA vice president, marketing.

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