UniRush Lands Industry Veteran Rick Savard
Recently minted CEO of UniRush LLC Rick Savard sees a bright future for the Cincinnati-based provider of the prepaid Visa RushCard—a future that includes growth and evolution of the brand, which could entail bringing technology-minded companies into the fold.
“GPR is our bread and butter. So, first and foremost, we will continue to evolve and grow our GPR business and the RushCard brand,” Savard tells Paybefore in his first interview as UniRush CEO. “There’s always an inherent risk when you’re a company with fundamentally one product, regardless of how strong that product is. The opportunity here is to take the franchise and what we stand for and grow that to other consumer-facing products in the marketplace.”
Savard was appointed UniRush CEO earlier this month and he maintains his post as chairman, which he has held since June 2013. This isn’t his first time at the helm of a major GPR player. Savard was CEO of NetSpend Corp. from 2004 to 2008. In 2009, he joined the FSV Payment Systems board as a director and became CEO in 2010, where he led the sale of FSV to U.S. Bank in 2012.
Growing the Brand
Factoring into the evolution of the RushCard brand, Savard says, is determining how best to communicate and sell the product, which means scrutinizing everything from the company’s social media and traditional advertising strategies to adding features that are compelling to RushCard customers.
“That’s the core business. Outside of that, how do we add other products to the franchise? Should we have a RushCard payroll card? How aggressive do we want to be in our government offerings?” Savard says of the possibilities available to the company.
“There are other examples of how we might expand the business,” he adds. “We’re certainly open to looking at other companies that we can bring under the flagship. We may find ourselves buying other companies that are technology-based to enhance our value proposition of the main product.”
And while Savard envisions a future of growth and expansion, what he doesn’t foresee, despite industry whispers to the contrary, is a UniRush sale.
“I think it’s only natural that people would think of a company the quality of RushCard as an acquisition target. That’s reasonable,” he says. “But I didn’t join UniRush to sell the company.
“Nobody can predict the future; but we have no intention of selling the business at this juncture,” Savard continues. “The company’s founders, investors, management team and I feel there is just too much opportunity to be considering something like that.”
Because of his tenures at NetSpend and FSV, Savard says he is able to bring a fairly well-rounded set of skills and experiences to UniRush. NetSpend, which was acquired by TSYS last year, was a consumer-facing company that made technology a focus as it primarily offered alternative financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.
“I learned a lot about distribution, technology, how to create a compelling product, and how to sell a product to an underbanked consumer where this might be their first foray into sophisticated financial service products,” Savard says.
As a B2B player, FSV was a very different business, he says, adding that the prepaid card program manager and processor partnered with other companies to bring to market “every flavor of product,” including government, gift, payroll and GPR.
“Other than issuing the card, I’ve had experience at running almost every facet [of the business]. It’s a unique combination of experiences,” Savard says. “I am bringing all of those assets together in partnership with what is a great management team.”