synchronyfinancial.com
burgerLogo

Margaret Keane
President and
Chief Executive Officer

A Message from
the CEO

What makes Synchrony unique is our long history of providing customized financing programs for our partners and exceptional service for consumers, combined with our ambition to revolutionize payments and banking.

We have a proven record of providing value to our partners and consumers through our significant experience, dedicated relationship teams, big data, loyalty programs and digital capabilities.

Highlights for the year include:

Loan
Receivables
Grew
7%
Net Interest
Income
Increased
11%
 
Efficiency
Ratio*
30.3%
 
Deposits
Grew
$4.4B

* For Synchrony, Efficiency Ratio represents (i) other expense, divided by (ii) net interest income, after retailer share arrangements, plus other income.

Driving Business Growth

In 2017, we delivered solid financial performance; some highlights include:

  • Net earnings of $1.9 billion and adjusted net earnings, excluding the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, of $2.1 billion1
  • Net interest income increased 11% to $15 billion
  • Loan receivables grew more than 7% to $82 billion
  • Purchase volume increased 5%, with $132 billion in sales financed
  • Total deposits grew 9% to $56 billion
  • Dividend increased to $0.56 per share
  • Announced $1.64 billion share repurchase program

We achieved these results through organic growth, new deals and the renewal of key partnerships.

Our focus on big data and innovation is driving robust consumer value propositions and world-class digital experiences, which allow our partners to differentiate themselves.

We continue to pursue new opportunities to expand our business, particularly in areas where we see outsized opportunity. One significant and exciting example in 2017 was our agreement with PayPal to meaningfully broaden and extend our strategic relationship. This expanded partnership is especially important because it deepens our reach within the rapidly growing mobile and online payments channels.

We also continue to explore new opportunities to leverage our expertise and increase our product offerings. In 2017, we successfully expanded our reach in travel and entertainment and the auto marketplace by launching co-branded programs with Cathay Pacific and Nissan and Infiniti.

Extending the utility of our cards is another key focus area, broadening where our cards are accepted so that consumers can use them more frequently. This is especially important in our CareCredit and Payment Solutions sales platforms where we have been working to encourage more repeat purchases.

In 2017, we announced the rollout of our new CareCredit Dual Card™. This product combines the promotional credit capabilities of the core CareCredit product with the added convenience of being able to use the card anywhere and earn points for those purchases. We further expanded the CareCredit network with our acquisition of the Citi Health Card portfolio.

In Payment Solutions, we launched the Synchrony Car Care network. Members now have the convenience of one card to pay for and finance comprehensive auto care at more than 30,000 service and parts locations, as well as buy fuel at more than 185,000 fuel stations nationwide. Similarly, we launched the Synchrony HOME credit card network, with acceptance at more than 10,000 retail locations. Both networks will offer enhanced digital tools to allow users to easily locate nearby network partners, track expenses, manage their accounts and access cardholder-only offers.

These expansions and extensions complement our core businesses while giving us a strong base from which to grow in key markets such as the home, health and auto industries.

In addition, we continue to invest in our banking platform as retail deposits remain an important funding source for our business and we continue to broaden our products and servicing options. In 2017, Synchrony Bank grew deposits more than $4 billion, or 9%, to $56 billion.

Expanding Our Digital Capabilities

We invest heavily in leading-edge mobile and online capabilities to enable new products and programs to drive growth, reduce fraud and enhance customer service.

As we help our partners anticipate and deliver the experiences and tools consumers want, we are driving innovation through acquisitions, strategic investments and a growing number of tech-savvy forward thinkers.

Early in 2017, we acquired GPShopper, an innovative developer of mobile applications that provide a full suite of commerce, engagement and analytic tools. With GPShopper, we are expanding our mobile engagement capabilities, while improving the functionality and ease of use for mobile users and our partners. Investments like this help us stay ahead of the ever-changing intersection of physical and digital commerce in retail.

Through Synchrony Ventures, we look for and invest in early-stage companies that provide differentiated, emerging technology and products. We are focused on companies in areas of strategic importance, including enhancing customer experience, fraud detection and identity authentication.

During 2017, we expanded our in-house innovation capabilities. We now have four Innovation Stations — cross-functional teams focused on digital, data analytics and enterprise operations — to test new ideas and technologies, solve client problems and improve speed to market through agile development of new products.

Leveraging Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

We have also invested in a dynamic big data environment. We have more than 170 dedicated data analytics professionals who are using disparate data sources, advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques to give us a more holistic view of our consumers, drive higher engagement and deliver a better experience.

We have access to approximately 70% of SKU or category level data on the more than one billion transactions that are processed on our network, compared to less than 50% on transactions just three years ago. This is important as we increasingly partner with retailers to leverage this information to grow their programs.

Customer service is an area where we are leveraging data, AI and machine learning to improve customer experiences. For example, predictive data analytics allow us to deliver targeted payment options in our voice response system to anticipate how specific consumers might like to pay. This reduces cycle time, decreases calls to our associates and improves the overall experience.

We have combined experience from our long history of service excellence with the latest AI technology to introduce Sydney, our 24/7 Intelligent Virtual Assistant. Sydney is trained to understand customer inquiries and adapts to work across various channels. Sydney will continue to transform our customer service in 2018.

Ambitions Live Everywhere

In 2017 we introduced a new creative campaign called “Ambitions Live Everywhere” to highlight how we empower people and businesses, including our employees and communities, to realize their own unique ambitions.

Our people are our most valuable asset. We’re passionate about attracting the most qualified, diverse and driven talent. We have a responsibility to nurture and develop our employees every day so they feel challenged, valued and fulfilled.

We are proud to have been recognized as a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018, placing at #44, a Fortune Best Workplace for Diversity (Top 50), a 2017 Working Mother Top 100 Best Company, and we scored 100% on both the 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI) and the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

Part of helping our employees feel fulfilled is engaging them in our local communities. Our Families that Work corporate citizenship platform focuses on today’s working families. Synchrony supports our local communities by working to improve economic security, housing needs and afterschool programs.

In the short time we’ve been a public company, we have expanded our community outreach to benefit hundreds of organizations throughout the United States. In 2017 nearly 5,000 employees volunteered over 35,000 hours making a direct impact on our communities. You can read more about our citizenship and diversity efforts in our Corporate Social Responsibility report at www.synchronyfinancial.com.

Looking Forward

Synchrony finished 2017 with more energy than ever before and we will continue driving value for our partners, consumers, employees and shareholders. We’re building a legacy — one that we can all be proud of today and into the future.

A top priority is to continue to grow our three sales platforms and our bank, building upon our capabilities in marketing, analytics, loyalty and digital technology. We will invest in expanding the utility of our cards and work with our partners to deliver innovative ideas and attractive value propositions to drive usage.

We will continue to invest in big data and technology to drive an even higher level of engagement with our consumers.

The entire act of purchasing is becoming less about the point of sale and more about the points before, after and in between. Consumers are increasingly seeing purchases as an experience, free of wait-times, bureaucracy and friction. By leveraging our tools and expertise, Synchrony can deliver a frictionless lifestyle, where we anticipate consumer wants and needs, and then seamlessly fulfill them.

I would like to thank all of those who support our ongoing efforts — our partners, consumers and shareholders — and recognize our 16,000-plus dedicated employees who pioneer the future of financing, improving the success of every business we serve and the quality of each life we touch.

Sincerely,

Margaret Keane Signature

Margaret M. Keane
President and Chief Executive Officer

1 Adjusted net earnings is a non-GAAP measure. For further information regarding non-GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net earnings, please refer to Synchrony’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017 (the “Form 10-K”).

2 FORTUNE and FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For are registered trademarks of Time Inc. and are used under license. From FORTUNE Magazine, March 1, 2018. ©2018 Time Inc. Used under license. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with and do not endorse products and services of Synchrony Financial.