The last five days of growth for Discover Financial Services (DSF), located in Riverwood, Illinois has been well above their credit card competitors, Visa, American Express and Mastercard. Why has this happened? David Nelms, CEO of Discover since 2004 says, “Our very strong results this quarter were driven by a significant improvement in the credit performance of our loyal customer base along with continued solid growth in cardmember spending.”
During the fiscal second quarter, Discover reported a record sales volume at $23 billion. Discover topped their prior year statistics by 6%. Where are the profits coming from?
Discover has three payment services Pulse, an ATM/debit network, Affiliate Banking and Diners Club. Together these services process billions of financial transactions a year.
PULSE is one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,500 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country and they have just partnered with MoneyPass which offers thousands of surcharge-free ATMs. It is now the company’s biggest money maker.
Diners Club International was acquired by Discover in July of 2008. Diners Club card entitles consumers to exclusive savings on travel, dining, and entertainment.
Struggling with the new banking rules which prohibit charging late fees over $25, Discover will be loosing between $80 to $90 million a year. To help make up for that they will be focusing on their consumer banking division to make up for lost profits. They have two bank affiliates, Discover Bank and Bank of New Castle. In addition to the credit card division, they also offer personal and student loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts.
With David Nelms as the CEO, this company seems to be doing better and better. In fact, the earnings statement for Mr. Nelms is staggering. For 2009, his salary was $1 Million dollars, restricted stock awards $4,627,613.00, other compensations at $17,150.00 and pension valued at $39,750.00 for a grand total of $5,684,513.00 – over 5 1/2 million dollars a year. Looks like his MBA from Harvard Business school served him well.
The two most significant reasons he gives for the recent improvements have to do with how you and I have improved our credit reliability and continued to use Discover Card for purchases. Some employees from Discover have even suggested ways of making money through the significant rewards program they offer. If you are dedicated to watching your spending and able to actually pay off the monthly balance, you can earn money on what you spend. But that is only for the very self-disciplined spenders. This practice could leave you with nothing more than a huge credit card bill so be wary.