Reward Card Retention, Small-Dollar Loans, And Lending By The Numbers

Five can’t-miss data points this week on

This week, looks at the year-over-year retention of a popular rewards credit card, finds five small-dollar loans making a big difference, collects the best of in July, and more.

Here are five can’t-miss data points:


Alliant Credit Union has put its signature on a high-rewards credit card it figures can compete against the best the big banks have to offer. And don’t bother asking to waive the annual fee. The Alliant Visa Signature card offers 3% cash back on all purchases and no fee in its first year. After that, it’s 2.5% for all purchases, with no limits, and a $59 annual fee. How has that impacted retention?

Read: High Reward=High Return For This Plastic Program ContentMiddleAd


Credit unions have always made a difference for the communities they serve through deposit offerings, loan programs, branching options, and more. Today, some are pushing beyond traditional loan products to fulfill the unmet or evolving needs of members. From helping members become citizens to helping members become families, we’ve singled five cooperatives that have found ways to serve a distinct need in their membership, by developing small-dollar and niche loan products that have an impact on members’ lives that far exceed the dollar amount of credit extended.

Read: 5 Small Loans That Make A Big Difference

$5 Billion

Strong lending across the industry underpinned an expansion of total assets in the first quarter of 2018. Loan originations increased $5.0 billion year-over-year, yet annual growth slowed to 4.4%. Total loans on the balance sheet grew 9.7% year-over-year. Prior to this quarter, annual loan growth topped 10% for 14 consecutive quarters. Despite the slowdown in growth, every segment of the loan portfolio still increased compared to the first quarter of 2017. Learn more about this side of the balance sheet.

Read: Lending By The Numbers

$736 Million

One of’s most popular articles last month, Looking Past The NCUA Pocket Change, argued that the $736 million the regulator sent to credit unions as a refund for its bailout of the corporate system during the financial crisis does little to disguise an even larger error. Read this and other popular articles and blogs featured on in July.

Read: Best Of July 2018


Today’s financial services landscape is rapidly changing. For credit union CEOs and executives, the best defense lies in the constant evaluation of threats and opportunities. Callahan & Associates speaks with credit union executives every day, and certain pain points keep popping up in these discussions. But every problem has a solution, and leaders also are quick to share the ways in which they’ve overcome challenges. Here are 10 questions keeping credit union leaders up at night and how the movement is responding.

Read: 10 Questions That Keep Credit Union Leaders Up At Night (And What To Do About Them)

Happy Reading!

August 6, 2018

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