Alumni information used to distribute credit card offers

Liz Farmer

[Corrected Sept. 30: Changed headline]

Customer usage of a Longhorn silhouette credit card generates $875,000 per year for the Texas Exes alumni association.

The almost 20-year-old corporate agreement with Bank of America includes an undisclosed third party that uses the names and addresses of UT alumni to mail out credit card offers. Texas Exes CEO and executive director Leslie Cedar said the contact name and address is kept confidential by the third party, and Bank of America pays the association based on transaction volume.

“We provide an offer to members, and if they use that offer, we benefit,” Cedar said.

Cedar said as a nonprofit organization, it is important for the Texas Exes to have agreements like this to continue to provide alumni services. She said these types of agreements help the association continue to run.

She said the offer is sent out every couple of months to 380,000 addressable contacts. Cedar said 95,000 of the addressable contacts are dues-paying Texas Exes members and the rest are UT alumni who are not members. She said the Texas Exes association manages the University alumni database, so the most direct way to get out of the offers is to call the Texas Exes.

“This is standard practice for alumni associations,” Cedar said. “In order to run the operations, we look for revenue streams.”

Jessica Ramsour, a 2004 alumna, said she does not think the association should collect revenue streams that would come in from credit card usage on top of its membership fees and does not like the extra mail that comes with the offer.
“I personally am not a fan of that because I get enough credit card offers as it is,” Ramsour said.

She said she does not mind the transfer of alumni names and addresses to a third party as long as they are kept confidential.

Bank of America spokesperson Betty Riess said the corporation has this type of agreement with other alumni associations and sports teams.

“It basically gives the card issuer the opportunity to market a card with a particular brand,” Riess said.

She said Bank of America stopped on-campus marketing of credit cards to students in 2008. Riess said for the past few years, Bank of America has excluded student names from marketing lists.

Brad Miller, 2011 alumnus and Texas Exes member, said he is fine with the agreement.

“If they can make a dollar here or there, it’s not a huge deal,” Miller said. “As a member, it will give me some perks so that will be nice.” 

Printed on Thursday, September 29, 2011 as: Alumni information used to distribute credit card offers