SBJ/August 29-September 4, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NHRA, UMB Bank deal will create customized credit cards

The NHRA signed an affinity card agreement with UMB Bank, which will allow the drag racing association to release its first customized credit cards since 2009.

The multiyear deal will see UMB Bank, a subsidiary of the Kansas City-based UMB Financial Corp., offer five NHRA-branded affinity credit cards. The organization’s previous relationship with MBNA, which ended in 2009, allowed it to offer just one card.

The highlight of the deal is the ability for NHRA members and fans to upload an image of their own race car or street car to be placed on the UMB credit cards. Organization officials expect that offering to be especially popular among its 80,000 members, many of whom are amateur racers who are known to spend hours working on their own drag racing cars.

UMB has an agreement with the Porsche Club
of America, and more than half of the affinity cards provided through that program are personalized to feature the individual cardholder’s Porsche. Douglas Davis, UMB vice president, said he expects the personalization offering through the NHRA program to be equally popular.

“It’s unprecedented that an organization can put a picture of their choice on a card,” Davis said. “Personalization moves things, and it’s going to be really cool to see all these hot rods come in.”

Like most affinity card agreements, the deal with UMB Bank is a licensing agreement that will see UMB pay the NHRA activation fees and a percentage of fees collected when cards are used.

“Our last affinity card agreement proved to be very lucrative, and we anticipate this being very successful for us as well,” said Tony Driscoll, the NHRA’s vice president of sales and business development.

The NHRA plans to promote the cards on its website, in email blasts and in direct-marketing materials.

“We love to partner with something that’s proven, and the NHRA has tons of fans and drivers and had a previous program that was proven,” Davis said.

UMB, which has more than 800 affinity card partners, has banking operations in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

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