Another year
of growth.

Margaret Keane
President and Chief Executive Officer

Synchrony accelerated its growth in 2018. We continued to build momentum, working hard to drive strong growth across all sales platforms. Our efforts were rewarded, making this our most profitable year ever.

We continued to transform the company, deepening our investment in technology, acquisitions and innovation powered by our data and analytics capabilities. We advanced our position in the digital space, offering new partner and customer focused experiences. We added new products and services to our pipeline. We re-energized our brand message. Now, we’re set to make 2019 a year of moving forward into a very promising future.

The consumer landscape is changing.
Here’s what that means.

Purchasing continues to move beyond the transaction. Today, it’s less about the point of sale and more about the whole experience. Consumers increasingly want one that’s quick, seamless and intuitive—whether in-store, online or mobile. Delivering that in this new digital environment takes the kind of innovative thinking we’ve developed in this business for more than 85 years.

Digital and mobile are getting bigger.
We’re already there in a big way.

In 2018, approximately a third of our Retail Card sales volume came through digital channels. And, nearly half of the credit applications we received originated online and with mobile. Even more telling, the number of those applications that came through the mobile channel (including PayPal) grew 44% over 2017. We’re excited about what this means for Synchrony and our partners.

Credit applications through the mobile channel grew 44%

Synchrony has invested significantly in digital technology and acquisitions. Today, we are moving toward the forefront of digital commerce, creating a strong competitive advantage for Synchrony, our partners and customers. We’re using our expanded capabilities to deliver innovative customer service applications—like “Sydney,” our artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant. We’re also creating new digital and mobile customer experiences, rapid and enriched credit decisioning tools and enhanced fraud detection. The result: better service for our customers and profitable growth for our partners.

We're delivering
new digital and mobile customer experiences.

We’re doubling down on data.
It’s paying off for our partners.

A sizeable portion of our multiyear investment in technology is centered on expanding our data and analytic capabilities to enhance marketing, credit decisioning and customer service.

For instance, we now receive SKU or category-level data on over 80% of the transactions that run over our network. When fed into our advanced machine learning algorithms or coupled with our artificial intelligence, we can offer our partners more precise information that helps them design marketing and personalized sales offers.

We also develop personas with our partners based on behavioral trends and predictive models. We can view sales growth and profitability trends by product category, customer segment and even by coupon redemption, so we can see where the biggest areas of opportunity lie.

The data we collect also gives us an edge in credit decisioning. Through new technology and credit innovation, we can assess risk more accurately and issue credit in just seconds, while reducing fraud.

We can even help our partners analyze the performance of their credit program—not just overall, but also by channel, campaign or individual store. Supplying our partners with smarter, more specific intelligence like this gives them—and us—a big competitive advantage.

Advanced data
and analytics

increases personalization and performance.

Strategic Priorities for 2019.

  • Drive organic growth in our three sales platforms and our bank—adding new partners, programs and products. Invest in capability-enhancing technologies and businesses.
  • Invest in “Next Generation” data analytics, AI and digital capabilities—furthering innovation, underwriting and authentication while delivering frictionless customer experiences.
  • Position us for long-term growth. Invest in core infrastructure, while exploring diversification and start-up opportunities in healthcare finance, small business and proprietary networks.
  • Operate with a strong balance sheet and financial profile. Maintain strong capital and liquidity. Deliver earnings growth at attractive returns. Continue to execute our capital plan through dividends and share repurchase program (subject to board and regulatory approvals).

We’re adding new products and services.
We’re adding value, too.

Through internal development and acquisition, we continue to add innovative products and services that can drive incremental growth for our partners and provide seamless customer experiences. In 2018, we acquired Loop Commerce and its patented, award-winning GiftNow® platform and in-store gifting services.

This acquisition helps diversify Synchrony’s business, broaden our reach and provide more strategic value and capabilities for our partners.

Our Payment Solutions and CareCredit platforms expanded their networks and products this year. Both focused on getting broader acceptance for our cards by adding new opportunities and spaces for card use. The CareCredit card is now accepted for medical needs like physical therapy or urgent care, as well as at thousands of Walgreens, nationwide. In addition, Payment Solutions significantly expanded acceptance and value propositions in both its home and auto networks.

Our values and culture drive more than our business.
They also drive our responsibilities.

As a company, Synchrony is guided by a strong moral compass to always strive to do the right thing for our customers, partners, employees, shareholders, the environment and the communities we’re in.

We’ve created a diverse and inclusive workplace where people can be themselves. In 2018, we were recognized as a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and recently learned we made the list again in 2019. And we were recognized by Forbes as one of the nation’s best employers for diversity. We foster volunteerism and giving back. Collectively, our employees devoted more than 44,000 hours to helping others in 2018.

We believe in governance and transparency. So, we’ve increased our focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), evaluating the sustainability and ethical impact of the investments we make.

You can learn more about these efforts in our Corporate Social Responsibility report at synchrony.com.

We are well-positioned for the future.
And for growth.

The broad range of capabilities we bring to our partners helps them grow their business, which, in turn, grows ours.

VISION

To build a future where every ambition is within reach.

MISSION

We create financial and technology solutions to move our customers and partners forward.

VALUES

  • Honest
  • Responsible
  • Passionate
  • Bold
  • Caring
  • Driven

Our expertise in data and analytics, digital innovations in e-commerce and mobile payments, enhanced marketing programs and attractive value propositions of our products all add significant value in today’s competitive environment. It’s one reason we have historically generated growth that has outpaced the retail industry itself.

While we were unable to renew the Walmart program, we successfully renewed over 50 relationships, including five of our largest ongoing programs—PayPal, Lowe's, JCPenney and, in January 2019, Amazon and Sam's Club, a Walmart subsidiary. In addition to renewing key partnerships, we won over 35 new business deals.

As we move into the future, we will continue to use our strong capital position to support growth and return capital through dividends and share repurchases.

We will pursue acquisitions, partnerships and continued investments that support our business objectives and capabilities if they meet our risk-adjusted return thresholds. We are moving rapidly forward, focused on delivering meaningful experiences and solutions for our customers and partners—and changing what’s possible.

Looking back, 2018 had its challenges, but thanks to the hard work and effort of our over 16,500 employees we delivered a strong year and are well-positioned for the future.

In closing, I want to thank our shareholders for their continued support. I also want to thank our Board for their insightful advice and guidance. And to our partners and customers, thank you for another great year.

Sincerely,

Margaret M. Keane
President and Chief Executive Officer