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ACG Sees Continued Strong Issuer Competition in the Co-Brand Market in 2015

January 22, 2015

(New York, NY):  The co-brand credit card marketplace should again be abuzz in 2015, according to Auriemma Consulting Group (ACG), a boutique management consultancy focused on the consumer payments industry.  ACG has seen several new market entrants in the co-brand issuing space, along with a renewed interest in co-brands from long-established players that shied away from the co-brand market following the financial crisis.  While some of the newer institutions have been vying for smaller / de-novo co-brand portfolios in order to build their capabilities, gain experience, and establish a reputation in the market before attempting to win larger deals, others have big ambitions right out of the gate.  “We anticipate several big co-brands hitting the open market in 2015, and expect competition for these deals, especially deals in the T&E sector, to be fierce,” said Sean Clark, Managing Associate on the Partnerships team at ACG.

Although issuer interest is expected to remain strongest for large T&E programs such as airlines and hotels, enthusiasm is growing for new sectors, and also for older sectors that had previously been viewed less favorably.  “The strength of the market does not just apply to the largest T&E or retail deals,” said Clark, “we are finding strong issuer interest for de novo co-brands, as well as for programs in such sectors as auto and online retail.”  Furthermore, the lines have blurred between the co-brand and private label credit card markets, as issuers are increasingly playing on both sides and vying for both kinds of deals.

The intensified interest among issuing banks in the co-brand/private label space is partially due to an overall improvement in the macroeconomic environment.  Consumer confidence has gradually recovered since the Great Recession, leading to a positive outlook among financial institutions.  More specifically, banks have a renewed focus on their credit card businesses.  Credit cards have shown a high level of profitability for banks, especially over other forms of consumer lending such as mortgage and auto lending.  Net credit losses across the industry are also near historic lows, which have precipitated this expanded interest.

About Auriemma Consulting Group

ACG is a boutique management consulting firm with specialized focus on the Payments and Lending space. We deliver actionable solutions and insights that add value to our clients’ business activities across a broad set of industry topics and disciplines. Founded in 1984, ACG has grown from a one-man shop to a nearly 50-person firm with offices in New York and London.  For more information, please contact Eric Marks at (212) 323-7000 or eric.marks@acg.net.