Infinite affinity
A Bank of Scotland case study

Page 1: Introduction

Bank of Scotland has a long and distinguished history. Established by an Act of the Scottish Parliament in 1695, it is the UK’s oldest clearing bank with its headquarters firmly planted in Edinburgh. In the region of 22,000 staff are employed by the Bank of Scotland Group, with regional offices and departments supporting the activities of some 325 branch outlets, meeting the banking needs of...
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Page 2: Affinity

Most of us are gregarious and clubable.  In forging our social links, we look for people with whom we feel we have something in common e.g. people who share our interests, our enthusiasms, our concerns, our values, our views, our beliefs, our past experiences. These are people with whom we have an affinity. In every advanced community there are individuals whose common link is: a...
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Page 3: Affinity credit cards

Affinity credit cards offer something over and above what ordinary credit cards offer. Unlike many ordinary credit cards, affinity cards help card holders to portray an image and to deliver a message about themselves each time they use the card. People like to be identified with the interests they pursue, the causes they support, the allegiances they hold. Carrying and using the card is a source...
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Page 4: Benefits of early market entry

Many charitable organisations, clubs and societies have a high proportion of their members who are securely employed and comparatively well paid, or comfortably placed in retirement.A major benefit to Bank of Scotland from entering the affinity credit card market early was that it was able to have 'first pick’ and select good quality business. Not all membership lists are equally...
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Page 5: Making contact

Bank of Scotland has several ways of making contact. One involves gaining access to membership lists. The usual route is through club officials, who may or may not decide to co-operate, depending partly on the wishes of the club’s members. Sometimes the bank is able to obtain a list free of charge. Other times it may have to pay to obtain the list. Once a list has been obtained, the bank...
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Page 6: Conclusion

The UK affinity card market generates a lot of business. Cumulative royalty payments to participant organisations exceed £20 million from Bank of Scotland alone and one particular charity receives £2 million annually from this source. The UK market is probably a long way from saturation, however. Of 42 million credit cards in the UK, only 2.2 million (about 1 in 20) are affinity cards...
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