Lenders building brand through a consumer favourite: debt

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“The new credit card programs complement Home Trust's existing loyalty credit card program, currently offered primarily to our mortgage customers,” said Martin Reid, president of Home Trust. “Expanding our reach through relationships with other well-respected organizations is the next step in growing this segment of our business while delivering excellent value to those organizations and their customers.”

Credit card programs leverage the brand, customer affinity and distribution channels of these organizations; something Home Trust is counting on with the launch of two new credit card programs, Union Plus Canada Visa card and Optimax Visa card, issued on behalf of Union Plus Canada and Optimax Credit Inc., respectively.

One of the cards is targeted to a specific demographic – the Union Plus Canada Visa card part of a membership program being rolled out to millions of union members across Canada by Union Plus Canada.

Cardholders receive automatic retail discounts, preferred interest rates, and a cash back reward on everyday shopping with their credit card – with the ultimate aim of saving money; which should be good news for those decrying the rising level of Canadian household debt.

Controlling household debt has been on the radar for the mortgage industry for several years, with several regulatory initiatives coming from the Bank of Canada and the federal government designed to prevent reckless lending.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show Canadians owe nearly $1.65 in consumer credit and mortgage and non-mortgage loans for every dollar of disposable income.

The Optimax cash-secured Visa card provides individuals with past credit issues with an opportunity to re-establish their credit rating. Optimax Credit Inc. specializes in credit rehabilitation programs, and this card will be part of Optimax's credit graduation program designed to help Canadians repair their credit history and advance to an Optimax Cash Back Visa card, also issued by Home Trust.

“These credit cards with their associated loyalty programs are an excellent way to strengthen relationships with customers,” said Jim Kozack, vice president, credit cards at Home Trust.

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