Focus on Community Financial Institutions

In the payments arena, The Kessler Group is keenly aware of the unique challenges facing community financial institutions (credit unions and community banks). As a result, The Kessler Financial Institutions Group (KFI) is a dedicated practice that specializes in two main areas: agent credit card partnerships and merchant advisory services.

Agent Credit Card Partnerships

Start-Up Programs – A start-up program can be from scratch, a switch from one agent provider to another or re-entry as an issuer after previously partnering with an agent provider. KFI can help optimize results with any scenario. We offer the following services:

  • Review your current credit card program
  • Provide a summary of options
  • Negotiate partnership terms

Portfolio Acquisitions – In many cases, a pre-existing card program includes the disposition of an established book of business (a card portfolio). As a recognized industry leader, KFI specializes in managing through the complex issues that potentially interfere with establishing the best agent partnership terms for the impacted institution. As part of our delivery, we:

  • Provide a thorough portfolio analysis
  • Maintain relationships with all major acquiring institutions and provide introductions
  • Keep the process confidential

Merchant Advisory Services

For many community-based financial institutions, partnering with a proven industry leader for merchant services can be a strategically and financially desirable business path. KFI maintains a long-term business development relationship with Elavon (a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, currently the fifth-largest financial institution in the United States). Our services and role include the following:

  • Provide the institution with a merchant portfolio performance review and overall evaluation
    • Profitability analysis
    • Strategic option assessment
    • Sale value of the portfolio based on current market standards
  • If partnering makes sense for the institution, KFI facilitates the negotiation and establishment of a merchant partnership with Elavon. Since 1990, KFI has assisted more than 150 institutions structure merchant partnerships with Elavon (including portfolio acquisition terms).