When most major banks reach the end of the road in their efforts to collect on defaulted credit card accounts, they often sell rights to the soured loans to debt collectors for pennies on the dollar. Those pennies can add up to tens of millions in dollars in revenue for a large card issuer, but American Express (Amex) and USAA have long left that money on the table.

The two companies say their policy of eating all of the losses is an outgrowth of business models that give priority to long-term relationships. Even if defaulted customers aren't welcomed back, the overall customer experience is undoubtedly critical to the issuers' reputations.

Subscribe Now

Access to a full range of industry content, analysis and expert commentary.

30-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Access coverage of the securitization marketplace, including breaking news updated throughout the day.