Since creating the affinity credit card in the late 1970s, our team of financial services experts have spent the past four decades building and expanding the business far beyond its credit card roots. As a result, KG is widely known for developing elegant solutions to the most complex problems faced by our clients.
Innovative partnerships and concepts created by KG continue to reshape the payments industry. The result — billions of dollars of value for our financial services clients and their non-profit and co-brand partners. See timeline below
Based on his success in marketing teacher loans using a state teacher union’s endorsement, Howard Kessler takes the newly conceptualized affinity credit card to MNC Financial.
Affinity concept expands to a wide range of sectors including colleges and universities, preferred professionals, professionals, special interests, sports, and non-profits. During the 1980s and 1990s, KG signs over 6,000 partners, while also performing marketing services for hundreds of partners.
MBNA is founded as the credit card subsidiary of MNC. KG partners with MBNA to establish card partnerships between MBNA and affinity groups, resulting in the issuance of the first affinity branded credit cards.
Further expands concept to include partnering with smaller banks to issue credit cards. Begins managing the acquisition of the smaller banks’ pre-existing credit card portfolios. Signs hundreds of banks and credit unions for MBNA, FNBO, and U.S. Bank in the 1990s and 2000s.
Partnered with NOVA (later U.S. Bank) in merchant acquiring to convince banks to sell their merchant portfolios and use NOVA to process them.
Kessler Group becomes a free standing entity.
Creates the first affinity/co-brand partnership with 2 major bank issuers — a super-prime/prime issuer and a near-prime/sub-prime issuer — to maximize the value of the partnership to the issuers and co-brand partners.
Launches the risk-based funding business enabling issuers to expand their marketing acquisition efforts leveraging a $100 million investment by J.C. Flowers & Co.
Launches debt advisory business in Australia, facilitating the sale of debt to third party buyers and optimizing collections performance via complex, in-house data analytics practice.
Creates new concept of “participation” model enabling agent banks to put some of their card programs’ receivables on balance sheet without moving credit card program in-house. The participation model allows the agent bank to put high-yielding credit card assets on their books while leveraging the scale and expertise of a top 10 credit card issuer.
Advises Capital One on its acquisition of Cabela’s credit card operation, including approximately $5.2 billion in credit card receivables and other assets. The acquisition closed concurrently with Bass Pro Shops’ acquisition of Cabela’s. See full press release here.
Signs several new Risk-Based Marketing clients and begins funding across multiple bank products.
ECN Capital, one of North America’s leading financial services companies, makes a significant strategic investment in KG. See full press release here.
ECN Capital purchases additional minority ownership resulting in 96% ownership of KG.
Builds Fidem Financial to purchase unsecured consumer loan assets on behalf of investors and manage the assets. Over $5B in purchased assets to date.
Investment management platform adds $500 million personal loan portfolio. Began first pre-screen wireless marketing for major telco provider.
Partnerships: added new bank partner in Canada
Performance Marketing: added 10 new clients, including roll out of first Card-as-a-Service client – a large credit union
Fidem purchased almost $1.8+ billion in credit card outstandings in Q4
Fidem signed multi-year funding commitment with a leading private equity firm through its subsidiary, Specialty Lending Company
Performance Marketing: expanded to support auto refi, student lending and subscription water clients.
In October, ECN Capital sold The Kessler Group to Stone Point Capital and a group of KG executives. See full press release here.
KG rebrands as Onboard Partners to reflect the evolution of the business since Stone Point Capital’s acquisition of the company.