Citi Deluges US with Credit Card Offers


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September 20, 2011

For the first time in eight years, Citi has surpassed Chase as the leader in credit card offers mailed. Citi sent out 346 million solicitations in Q3, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s more than one for every person in the United States! One in three credit card promotions mailed last month came from Citi, Mail Monitor estimates, adding that mail offers from American Express, Bank of America and Discover Financial Services declined from Q1 to Q2.

“It shows how Citi is trying to regain ground ceded to rivals after losing hundreds of millions of dollars on credit cards following the 2008 financial crisis,” the Wall Street Journal states. “In terms of dollars spent by U.S. consumers on Citi credit cards, the bank ranks a distant fourth, behind American Express Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., according to the Nilson Report.”

The newspaper states Citi with its credit card mailing blitz is also aiming to lure consumers frustrated with new debit fees and less rewards in light recent regulations stemming from the Durbin amendment.

The mail initiative could cost Citi more than $240 million, states the Wall Street Journal, which notes direct mail is 10 times more expensive than acquiring customers through branches. Given that Chase has five times as many U.S. branches, the Wall Street Journal predicts Citi’s expenses will likely be higher than Chase’s.

As the economy once again appears to be teetering, other FIs have pulled back on efforts to bring in new customers. But Citi head Jud Linville, formerly of AmEx, thinks the organization can thrive by bucking the trend.

“This is a business where you look for vacuums,” Mr. Linville said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Are there players moving out of certain categories?”

Click here to read the full article and the specific credit card offers Citi is promoting in its mailings.

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