ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (6/7/10)--PSCU Financial Services’ member credit unions saw annual debit transactions surge 22% in 2009 and go up 16% for the first quarter 2010--mainly because of an aggressive promotional strategy, the credit union service organization (CUSO) said. Its strong growth set it on pace to reach one billion debit transactions by 2011, the CUSO added. PSCU Financial Services will conduct seven direct mail usage campaigns in 2010 and periodic sweepstakes promotions. It funds many of the campaigns and leverages its relationships with card companies to ensure that most of the campaigns carry no cost to credit unions. “Since debit interchange plays such a large role in credit union revenues, we have a specialized team that designs campaigns for our credit unions,” said Tom Gandre, group executive, PSCU Financial Services. “We also negotiate with MasterCard and Visa to offer special sweepstakes promotions conducted specifically for our credit unions. The card companies provide very attractive prizes that drive increased participation, which ultimately leads to increased card usage and greater revenue for our credit unions.” So far this year, PSCU Financial Services has conducted two MasterCard debit campaigns with response rates of 14.5% and 6.6%. “We have been extremely pleased with the results of PSCU Financial Services’ debit promotions,” said John Stegner, chief financial officer, Y-12 FCU in Oak Ridge, Tenn. “We had more than 450 accounts go from completely inactive to an average of 24 transactions a month.” A Debit Advisory Group, made up of 20 member-owner credit unions of all sizes, provides input to the cooperative’s product development and marketing teams to ensure the DebitAdvantage platform addresses current and emerging needs of credit unions. The DebitAdvantage platform supports both signature and personal identification number transactions to simplify processing and enhance fraud protection. Cardholders gain 24/7 member support through the CUSO’s Contact Center. Also, AdvisorsPlus professionals are available to help credit unions analyze their card portfolios and conduct their own promotional campaigns.