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In this episode of the Insights podcast, we’re joined by Sam Poirier, CEO at Mercantile Financial.
Poirier is an esteemed entrepreneur who grew up amidst the healthcare industry. He and his team at Mercantile offer industry-specific small business credit-cards, including the MGMA Emerald Card, that recognize popular vendors and negotiate better rates on behalf of cardholders.
Editor’s note: The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: You’re the CEO at Mercantile. What is Mercantile? What do you guys do?
A: What we do at Mercantile is that we are going to provide small business credit cards. … We are really going to go think from ground up - how would a dentist, or an optometrist or any kind of physician, really, use a business credit card, if we were to build it from the ground up for that medical specialty alone. So that's how we think about our products. Then we are going to distribute these products, these business credit card products, in partnership with typical industry associations, so groups that already know that vertical quite well. So obviously, this is where that MGMA partnership stems from.
Q: You’re up in Canada, and you have family members in the healthcare industry, but I want to know about how you first got interested in the healthcare market yourself. Tell us about that journey.
A: My father is a maxillofacial surgeon; he was actually the president of his professional order here. So I grew up, basically, in conferences for professional orders and such. So, this was very much familiar territory when we started the business. I’ve seen my dad, he’s had his practice for north of 30 years, and I’ve seen him evolve through this. And I think it’s been more and more difficult for the last five years to run an independent practice. So in part, why we were building what we’re building at Mercantile is to help people like my father, who, (have) seen years where it was easier to be competitive and its getting a little more difficult.
Q: In October, Mercantile partnered with several healthcare organizations including MGMA, on an industry specific credit card. Talk about the origin of that partnership, where that come from, and what you guys are doing.
A: Given that we are really tailoring (products) to each medical specialty individually, we tend to think that the people who know the most about these individual pockets of specialists are typically their professional associations. So who best understands optometrists than the AOA? Who best understands the orthodontist than the AAO? ... Who helps to better understand the financial aspects of running a practice than MGMA? So when we initially met with MGMA … it became very clear that they knew a lot about what tools doctors need to run their practices. And frankly, we really want to just help them sort of distribute this product or to their audience. We think that what they've built is a truly astounding network, and the trust they have built with their members is also extremely impressive.
Q: What do MGMA listeners need to know about this card? How can it benefit them and their practices?
A: This is a 1.5% (cashback) no annual fee card. On top of that, and one of the great things about it is that it pays MGMA dues. So as you use it, we set aside some share of the transaction revenue, and through that we’re going to fund membership dues basically for the member. ...
The cards we build for doctors have no impact on personal credit. We really only look at the credit of the business, and we separate the person and the business. So that’s been really appreciated by doctors, because that’s very rare that issuers are going to do that. ...
Mercantile is going to closely watch who are the main vendors that are being paid with these cards … So you can imagine that into 12 months, 24 months’ time, this card not only gives you a great cashback, it helps pay your dues, has no impact on personal credit, and gives you rewards.
Q: What would you like to leave us with today about Mercantile and that relationship you see the company having with the MGMA audience – whether it’s what you’re seeing today, or what you’re projecting down the road?
A: Frankly, we were doing this in large part because we are seeing that there's a couple movements that are making it harder for independent practitioners and it's certainly been the case of my father. I've seen it … the internet has already chipped a little bit at their business. Then you have private equity who started coming in and squeezing some of these people. Then … obviously COVID did not help, and so there you have a couple of forces that are making it harder to be independent. Our goal is that with these kinds of tools that we're giving them, we can do a little bit of whatever we can, even if it's very small, to help them preserve their independence. And giving them help when it comes to their purchasing power.
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The MGMA Insights podcasts are produced by Daniel Williams, Rob Ketcham and Decklan McGee.
You can now register for The Transformative Healthcare Delivery Certificate (THDC) Program that will run Dec 6-7, 2022. THDC is an in-depth online learning experience that provides healthcare leaders with a mastery of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Clinically Integrated Networks (CINs), Commercial Value-Based Care Programs and CMS’ Value-Based Care Programs, including MIPS and APMs.
This episode is brought to you by the MGMA Emerald Card* (about.mgma.cards/), the premier card built specifically for medical practice owners.
With 1.5% cashback, paid MGMA dues bonus, no impact on personal credit, and vendor rebates, it’s tailor-made to medical practices. So what are you waiting for? Go to about.mgma.cards/ to get started today.
*Conditions apply. Subject to approval. Mercantile Financial Technologies, Inc. is a financial technology company, not a bank. The MGMA Credit Cards are issued by Hatch Bank pursuant to a license from Mastercard. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Review the cardholder agreement at https://about.mgma.cards/terms.