Every time select Summit Credit Union members use their credit cards, they’re helping improve the financial lives of consumers all over the world.

In early 2017, the $2.9 billion-asset credit union launched its Visa Global Good Card in partnership with the World Council of Credit Unions’ Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions. For each credit card account opened, Summit donated $10 to the foundation, along with 20 percent of all interchange fees. In addition, participating credit union members can also make cash donations via their rewards points. The card has no annual fee and cardholders receive the same benefits as with the credit union’s existing VISA Platinum Rewards card.

Since the program’s launch, about 775 Summit members have opened accounts with the card, generating almost $12,000 for the foundation through February.

“We created the Global Good Card as another way for our members to help people throughout the world become financially self‐sustaining,” Summit CU’s CEO and president Kim Sponem said in a statement. “We knew our members would embrace the chance to be a part of something bigger just by using their credit cards.”

Kim Sponem, Summit CU
Kim Sponem, Summit CU CEO

Sponem further said she wants to help other credit unions create their own programs to benefit the WOCCU foundation “and further its important mission.”

In view of this initiative, Summit CU has offered to share at no cost a library of editable marketing templates, from card art and branch sales tools to social media posts and a press release. These items document best practices to drive “smooth program implementation.” Summit CU will also provide VPs of operations and marketing to answer any questions participating credit unions may have throughout the process.

“Summit has developed a proven model with the Global Good Card’s success,” said WOCCU President and CEO Brian Branch. “We’re hopeful credit unions across the U.S. will follow their road map, so we can continue to champion the credit union difference and equip people around the world with access to high‐quality and affordable financial services.”

Both Summit and WOCCU are based in Madison, Wis., and the credit union has supported the World Council since its inception in 1971. As Sponem told Credit Union Journal, this partnership was a natural outgrowth of their existing relationship.

“We are part of a global movement,” she said. “At Summit Credit Union we believe in the importance of access to affordable, reliable and sustainable financial services as a tool for economic development and a way out of poverty. The work the World Council of Credit Unions does globally to help communities achieve that is vital, especially to women who are often shut out of the banks.”

The card, she noted, provides the WOCCU a “steady stream of funding to work on these important initiatives.”

Summit Credit Union's Global Good Card
Summit Credit Union's Global Good Card

According to Sponem, Visa does not have any direct involvement in the program beyond its normal approval of card imagery and other standard protocols. This means that no matter what credit card brand another credit union is affiliated with, they should be able to develop a similar program with the tools and resources that Summit CU is providing as part of this program.

No other credit unions have yet signed up for the program, Sponem said, but she credited that to the fact that Summit’s offer of assistance is relatively recent. While no CUs have signed on yet, she said she has had discussions about the program with other credit union CEOs.

“We’re confident that as more credit unions learn about the program they will want to create their own programs and join Summit in our work to offer good to communities around the globe.”

As for what lessons she has learned from this program, Sponem indicated that it has “solidified how much our members live up to the ideals behind credit unions and cooperatives in general.”

”The Global Good Card continues to be one of our key credit card offerings, and we are seeing growth in the number of members who take the card,” she added. “We encourage [other] credit unions to join us with [their] own cards.”

If even just 100 credit unions offered their members their own version of the Global Good Card to benefit WOCCU, she added, the “collective impact would be a game-changer worldwide in raising people out of poverty, stabilizing regions with economic development and making the world a safer place.”