Navy Federal Credit Union Case Study

The Challenge

For the past 15 years, Navy Federal Credit Union and Visa DPS have built a solid relationship–working together on a host of initiatives. When the institution tried on their own to optimize their portfolio by getting members to pay bills using their Navy Federal Visa Check Card, the response rate from members was low. So Navy Federal asked Visa DPS to help them find a way to "get smarter" analytically by using their data to target the right population to make sign-ups for debit bill pay a success.

The Solution

Visa DPS recognized the depth of Navy Federal's request. During an initial conversation between Molly Steele, Navy Federal's Debit Card Projects & Analysis Manager, and Lisa Roddey, Visa Senior Account Executive, a challenge was presented and accepted. Lisa said, "Changing people's behavior from traditional bill pay with checks or ACH to bill pay with a debit card would be a huge undertaking. But we were ready to work with Molly and her team to find the perfect answer."

With no off-the-shelf solution available, Lisa and the Visa DPS Portfolio Optimization team came up with a bold plan: to develop a brand-new solution specifically designed to meet Navy Federal's needs, and to improve effectiveness, use the client as the beta tester. After weeks of work, Molly, Lisa and their teams were ready to deploy the new portfolio optimization program using Visa Data Manager (VDM). Built as a warehousing, analytics and reporting platform, VDM was designed to gather and aggregate all card transaction data. The tool would then give Navy Federal the flexibility to turn that detailed data into a range of easy-to-understand sets of information to be used to make smarter business decisions.

With the beta test up and running, Lisa and her DPS team maintained continual communications with Molly and her team. "Navy Federal was an integral part in helping us evolve and fine-tune this program," said Lisa. As the pilot program proved the promise of VDM, Navy Federal gained detailed data like they had never seen before. With that information, Lisa and Molly gathered marketing insights for use in an integrated campaign to members as a final test. Those findings helped specifically target a group of members who'd paid one to four bills using their debit card during a one-month period, and only one bill using their debit card the following month.

Then Navy Federal sent a direct mail piece incentivizing the target population–with up to a $20 credit–to use their debit card for bill pay for six bills over the course of two months, with the incentive credit posting around Christmas.

The Results

Molly, Lisa and the Portfolio Optimization team at Visa DPS worked to make sure the credits posted right before the holidays to reward the respondents. As the credits posted, the group could not believe the results.

Industry standards reported a 2% uptake on direct mail, and one of Navy Federal's previous and more successful engagements saw a 5% uptake. Thanks to solid teamwork and the findings of Visa's VDM tool, Molly and Lisa's direct mail campaign saw a surprising 20% response rate, with a majority of people continuing bill pay with their debit card even after the initial incentive posted.

From beta tester to true believer, Portfolio Optimization and VDM proved their combined value to Molly, who said, "Before, we were blindly sending mailings to debit cardholders without understanding how to get them to change behaviors. But with the portfolio optimization program, we are able to make informed decisions, run effective campaigns and see the key results."

In the end, Molly credits the pilot program's success to teamwork and total accessibility: "Working with Lisa was wonderful. Whenever we had an issue, she was accessible to everyone on the team. She was willing to listen to us, take our feedback and help us come up with a solution." By using VDM, Molly and her team can now see Navy Federal gaining a terrific edge in future business decisions. She said, "It's been so important for us to provide accurate information to our senior management. We now are able to do that, quickly and efficiently."


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