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Recently, Visa Inc. (V - Analyst Report) and ICBA Bancard entered into a partnership agreement to provide local, community-based programs to the member institutions of ICBA Bancard. For this purpose, the joint venture is expected to introduce a program named Visa Offers. The deal is aimed at strengthening the company’s relations with the community banks, their trusted clients.

The program is expected to be launched in the second half of 2013 and consists of many ICBA Bancard member institutions. Over time all the community bank membership institutions are expected to be brought under the purview of the program.

Through Visa Offers, the Visa account holders of the community banks participating in the initiative will receive merchant offers, discounts and other loyalty programs exclusively tailored to their interests and communities. By opening up these opportunities for the community bank customers, Visa Offers program intends to enhance the importance and value of the services provided by Visa.

The Visa Offers program is unique in that it entitles financial institutions and merchants to provide customers with customized offers based on their shopping behavior and location of shopping.

ICBA Bancard is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America. It endows community banks with access to market-leading credit card options, debit card options, ATM and merchant processing solutions as well as other services. Through its alliance with Visa, it provides an opportunity for the company to cater to retailers and financial institutions by enabling them to deliver the Visa cardholders with customer specific offers at the point-of-sale.

Community banks have served as relevant clients for Visa. Now, Visa aims at shaping up its products and services as per the requirements of its clients. In turn these clients will be able to provide improved services to their customers and cater to the local community requirements.

Not only will the initiative assist the member institutions of ICBA Bancard, but also augment other community bank programs. This will bolster the growth of these institutions and serve their clients’ demands.

Through the association with ICBA Bancard and their member institutions, Visa will be exposed to a wider customer base which is expected to fortify its revenues thereby bolstering earnings going forward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 is currently pegged at $7.47 representing a year-over-year improvement of 20.56%.

Visa currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Among other stocks Vantiv Inc. (VNTV - Snapshot Report) carries a favorable Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS - Analyst Report) and Official Payments Holdings Ltd. share the same Zacks Rank as Visa.

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