Chase began its card transition in the beginning of 2008 -- when the financial crisis was still in its early stages and card losses were yet to be realized by most financial companies. Some seven months earlier it had hired Smith to head up the unit from AmEx, where he spent 25 years. And while the company admits that the environment is very different from when it first started the card business transition, it still expects to reap benefits.
Management wants consumers to feel as if the Chase experience, from retail banking to debit cards to credit cards is seamless, Smith says.
The Chase Card unit also has another arrow in its quiver these days -- Chase Paymentech, its merchant processing subsidiary, says Brian Riley, research director of bank cards at TowerGroup, a Needham, Mass.-based research and advisory services firm focused on the financial services industry.
Last year, Chase Paymentech, which is headquartered in Dallas, dissolved its joint venture with First Data following that company's buyout by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts."