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Your ACE in the Hole: Optimize Your Credit Card Program Today

Feb 21, 2020

By Scott Broughton 

A banker asked me recently how to increase the profits of his bank’s credit card program. This Midwest bank had been issuing cards for more than a decade, but recent growth had been stagnant, and the banker was looking for strategies to improve the portfolio.  

I begin every consultation by asking a series of questions about portfolio activity and what type of marketing is being done at the bank to promote its credit card offerings.

Unfortunately, in this instance, the banker told me that his bank did little to no marketing of its credit card products and unless he could somehow illustrate how profitable a credit card program can be, he was unlikely to receive marketing resources from senior management.

I was pleased to inform the banker that he could do his own digging with ICBA Bancard’s portfolio assessment tool Automated Card Expert (ACE). ACE is a complementary tool for ICBA Bancard credit issuers using FIS as their processor.  Each month ACE imports key data from FIS that is populated in 17 different reports that bankers can easily view to reveal specific portfolio performance indicators. A few indispensable ACE reports include the: 

Peer Report: Compares your bank’s key metrics with banks of similar asset size on the ICBA Bancard program. 

This Year/Last Year Report: This report tells the story about whether your portfolio is growing, flat, or declining. How does your portfolio’s data look today compared to a year ago?  Are you growing your account base? Is your revenue increasing? How does your sales volume look? You can effortlessly compare year-over-year trends with this report.  

Profit and Loss Report (P&L): This report inputs all revenue numbers and processing charges from FIS and gives you the gross Return on Assets (ROA). Manually add your bank’s specific expenses to really zero-in on ROA. 

ACE is available to ICBA Bancard/FIS clients at no cost and requires very little input or administration. The tool allows you to print reports, download to popular programs like Excel, Word, and Adobe and has five years’ worth of data so you can go back and look at the history of your program. 

What’s more, no cardholder data such as account numbers or names are ever included in ACE so there is no need to worry about threats to your sensitive customer data. 

How do you access ACE? Very simple. First, you must have a log in for the ICBA Bancard website www.icbabancard.org. Click on “Member Login” to create your account if needed. Once you do, click on Client Resources and you will see a link to ACE. Your reports will now be viewable. If you need log-in assistance, contact our Client Relations team at 800-242-4770 or bancard@icba.org.   

Oh, and what happened with the bank I referenced at the beginning of this article and its credit card program? After an analysis was conducted and suggestions were made to makeover the portfolio, a light bulb went off and senior management took notice. The bank has implemented some new marketing tactics intended to grow the portfolio and should see positive results soon! 


Scott Broughton is senior vice president of marketing and client engagement at ICBA Bancard and can be reached at scott.broughton@icba.org.