A Conversation with David Boone, EVP U.S. Card Partnerships and Shared Services at TD Bank

Navigator Edition: June 2015

Boone-David-MR_15Jul2We had the opportunity to speak with David Boone of TD Bank about TD’s credit card partnership strategy including its recent wins and long-term views on the business.

As Head of U.S. Partnerships & Shared Services, David leads TD’s U.S. Credit Card partnership business. This includes programs such as Target, Nordstrom and over 70 TD Retail Card Services programs nationwide. Additionally, David is responsible for leading the North American shared services organization, including card operations, business development and business governance. David joined TD in 2007 and has served in multiple capacities including Marketing Director, TD Banknorth Inc., and Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and head of Mass Affluent Segment for TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank. David began his career with Loblaw Companies Ltd., Canada’s largest retailer. While at Loblaw, David led its expansion into financial services, including its successful banking joint venture, President’s Choice (PC) Financial. He also chartered PC Bank, one of the first retailer-owned banks in Canada, specifically designed to enter the credit card and loyalty program markets.

1.  Would you provide some color on TD’s card partnership strategy in light of the recent announcements of the Nordstrom deal in the U.S. and the Aimia partnership in Canada? For example, these are both blockbuster deals with premium brands / customer bases, but how representative are these deals of TD’s preferred partner profile?

We have had great success with companies that share our passion for providing exceptional customer experience, where we believe we offer the opportunity to create real value.  Over the past few years, we have been fortunate to form strategic partnerships with some leading brands – Aeroplan and Target, for example. We also have a fast-growing and competitive sales finance business through TD Retail Card Services – serving companies like Raymour & Flanigan and Mor Furniture for Less. A little closer to home, we also recently launched a co-branded TD Ameritrade client rewards credit card.

We are fortunate to have both the resources and the flexibility required to customize our approach to support our partners’ strategic goals. Our comfort and familiarity with these flexible arrangements allow us to focus on moving quickly to achieve objectives. Our customer-centric culture ensures that we deliver for both the partner and their customers, regardless of the structure of the partnership.

2.  While Target and Nordstrom are structured with servicing retained by the retailer, what is TD’s appetite for partnerships that are more traditional, full-service arrangements?

TD has identified credit cards as a strategic priority. Across North America, TD manages proprietary TD-branded credit cards as well as partnership-based programs. Our appetite to expand our partnerships is strong. In fact, 70 percent of card receivables in our North American business are sourced through a multitude of relationships in the United States and in Canada with organizations such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, NFL Canada, and Cartier, in addition to hundreds of professional associations, colleges, universities, and over 300 financial services companies.

Aeroplan, our coalition loyalty program, is the most popular travel card in Canada and offers an unrivaled line-up of products and capabilities to our customers. In the first year of our partnership, we added significant number of new accounts and saw a corresponding increase in Aeroplan membership and in member engagement. While we like the growth, one of the most important reasons we’re so excited to work with like-minded partners is that we share a common goal – delivering for our customers.

Another example is our private label credit card program for Raymour & Flanigan.  It is a family-owned company with beautiful showrooms and a culture built around the core mission of being completely focused on the customer. Those shared values guide us as we manage a program for a company with 94 full-line showrooms, 11 clearance centers, an online business and stores in seven states spanning throughout the Upstate New York, Metro New York and New Jersey, New England and Philadelphia regions.

3.  Competition for card partnerships is intense.  What do you consider the strengths and differentiators of TD from both a cards and enterprise perspective?

As a North American financial institution with 22 million customers, we have invested in infrastructure, data analytics, and platform capabilities, and in a strong team to deliver on our customer and partner value proposition. From a knowledge perspective, our management team has deep experience in multiple industries and has worked with some of the premier retail, travel, hospitality, loyalty and other partner-based companies around the world. That collective knowledge brings both our credit cards and retail experience to the table.

Our team has numerous strengths in its corner – our focus on customer and partner experience, our trillion-dollar-plus balance sheet, AA Rating, full-breadth of services as a retail bank in both Canada and the United States. We are well-capitalized and have invested significantly in customer-focused solutions.

Ultimately, we have the size, strength and capabilities companies need in a card partner.

4.  Although it served you and other Canadian issuers well during the credit crisis, there is a general view that Canadian banks are more conservative than their U.S. counterparts in areas such as the depth of underwriting. What does your own experience indicate?

At TD, we believe that risk decisions are an integral part of the customer experience. Our relentless focus on customer experience is reflected in our risk management approach, which is grounded in balancing risk and reward, robust monitoring, and protecting the customer experience. Our goal is to be there consistently for our customers — in good times or bad.

This is why you didn’t see TD taking dramatic credit tightening decisions during the last recession and, in many areas, we were able to take market share as a result of our strength. Our approach to credit has served us and our customers well and we have not seen any barriers to our success in growing our partnerships or in issuing cards in the United States or in Canada.

5.  How is TD investing in areas such as digital and mobile that are becoming so important for your card partners?

We’ve invested significantly in building state-of-the-art credit card capabilities, processes and infrastructure. Our platform is highly customized and virtually unmatched in the credit card industry.

TD has long prioritized technology uplifts and has developed robust digital and mobile sales and onboarding, money movement, marketing and communication capabilities and we have real-world results that customers are embracing. We have a well-established analytics infrastructure and rely on analytics to drive significant online acquisition, support customized online banking for co-brand partners, and deliver complex and unique loyalty programs. We are investing in ongoing digital platform development to deliver education, sales and service to customers.

We introduced the suite of TD credit and debit cards on Apple Pay earlier this year and enjoyed success with UGO, an open mobile wallet that was developed to allow customers to conveniently and securely pay for purchases with their credit card using a smart phone. UGO offers a high level of customer satisfaction by allowing TD cards or other cards to be stored in and used from the wallet and it has integrated loyalty. Leveraging near field communication (NFC) technology, users can make purchases with just a tap1 of their smartphone, wherever Visa payWave and MasterCard® PayPassTM are available internationally.

In addition to UGO and Apple Pay, TD is working with multiple technology partners to expand the array of payment options focused around delivering convenience to the customer.  We’ve committed to continue evolving the payment ecosystem through an innovation lab we opened, which is staffed with 15 developers who develop prototypes for authentication, wearables, and personal financial management in a local technology hub where we count Google as one of our neighbors.

We recognize that analytics are the core that drives successful partnerships. We leverage data sciences capabilities across the customer lifecycle – from designing acquisition & sales campaigns, product development & pricing, to account and portfolio management.  TD has applied customized strategies developed in-house with the help of decision sciences team complemented by science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals with advanced degrees, to drive acquisition, engagement and utilization activities for our partners. The team’s wealth of knowledge and granular data gleaned from customer interactions – personal, digital and mobile – will be a key differentiator for us in the years ahead.

Finally, TD is regarded as a social media leader in financial services, using social media to address customer questions, complaints or suggestions, seven days a week. We use Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to maintain and protect our brand and to connect with our customers.

All of these investments are worth it. They let us serve our customers in new ways. That’s what we’re about and that’s what our partners care about, too.

1 MasterCard is a technology solution partner for the processing of loyalty card and payment card transactions with a single tap.

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