Hold ‘Em High!
CASE STUDY: Reinventing Credit Cards at Western State Bank
Banks, like cruise ships, are not known for changing course on a dime.
Case in Brief It’s also understandable that - from time to time - a bank’s portfolio of
services will include a product that falls by the wayside and becomes
$246 Million Asset Size Bank just another brochure on a shelf.
North Dakota, Suburban Market For Western State Bank in Devils Lake, ND, their credit card program
became just such a product.
Card Program Stagnation For 15 Years
“For about 15 years, our bank’s credit card program was fairly stagnant
and was composed of the same cards at the same rates,” says Gary
Lochow, president of Western State Bank. “The result was inactivity and a program that
was slowly going down hill. We all knew that it was a problem but it took an organization-
wide consensus to determine that if we were going to revive our program’s proﬁtability,
we would need serious help and a long term solution.
“When some of Western’s staﬀ began to inquire why they weren’t actively promoting
their cards, Gary saw an opening to engage the staﬀ in the change eﬀort. “They realized
what the managers of the bank were already aware of, which was that our cards were not
as competitive as they could be relative to other bank-run credit cards in our area,” said
Western’s Marketing Director, Audrey Myklebust.
Realizing they could also take advantage of the numerous brand and revenue building
opportunities by re-energizing their card program, Western State Bank resolved to create
a better card program that represented their commitment to their customers and their
Gary contacted ICBA Bancard and was able to develop a strategy with ICBA Bancard’s Scott Broughton that would re-ignite their card’s
image. Their plan included researching their competition, lowering their card rates, adding-on multiple enhancements including ScoreCard
and designing an outreach and marketing plan for their 3 locations.
Their recent card program adjustments have started to change the dynamic of credit cards within their bank, both for their customers and
“We wanted the entire bank to be excited about our program,” said Audrey. “So, we
thought up a promotion that we named Western Sold ‘Em,” The promotion consisted
of a game that incentivized all bank staﬀ including insurance, leasing and investments
staﬀ to sell customers on the beneﬁts of a Western State Bank credit card and also
came with western-style signage that tied into the unique attributes of each Western
State Bank location.
The program harnessed the vitality and the spirit of each branch footprint creating
added energy that raised the proﬁle of their credit card oﬀerings. Each location was
encouraged to build their card oﬀering around their customer. At the bank’s locations
in West Fargo this included a “Packer Pride” aﬃnity card to support the local high
“By the time we decided to go with Think Big!, we were already ﬁnding success with the Western Sold ‘Em campaign and our high
proﬁle marketing activities. “Think Big! ﬁt so well into our overall plan that we super-sized our Western Sold ‘Em campaign with ‘big’
items like a 4-foot pencil and a gallon-sized coﬀee cup. Even our entry box, decorated with photos of our staﬀ playing with our ‘big’
items, is huge.”
Western State Bank is a perfect example of a bank that has used ICBA Bancard’s resources, like personalized consultations and promotions
like Visa Think Big! Campaign, to turn their program around.
In fact, Western State Bank’s initiative has tackled some of the toughest areas of card program success. According to Insight Express
Reserch, the top three reasons that consumers say they do not have a credit card from their primary ﬁnancial institution are:
1. They have no incentive or rewards to go with their primary bank’s credit card
2. They think they can get better rates elsewhere and
3. They don’t think of their bank as a provider of credit cards
Western’s strategy clearly confronted each of these three elements with a personalized solution and by using the tools available to them
from ICBA Bancard. Based on their aggressive and innovative strategy, Western State Bank is back on course to keep more of their
customers’ business and generate more revenue thanks to an active and vibrant credit card program.
The Bottom Line
25% Higher Sales Volume than Previous Year
35% Higher Sales Volume (YTD) than their ICBA Peer Average
42% Average Higher Finance Revenue than their ICBA Peer Average
For More Information On How ICBA Bancard
Can Help Your Bank Maximize Its Card Program
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