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FirstBank Aims To Become Major Force In Credit Cards

Allies with MBNA, the largest independent issuer of credit cards


January 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

FirstBank has signed a long-term strategic marketing alliance with MBNA, the world’s largest independent issuer of credit cards, which will allow FirstBank to expand its credit card offerings by leveraging MBNA’s suite of custom products and services.

"This alliance will change the banking landscape in Puerto Rico," said FirstBank President & CEO Angel Alvarez.

Considered the third-largest issuer of credit cards in Puerto Rico, FirstBank is ready to substantially increase its market share. The new alliance with MBNA is expected to provide the economies of scale and the product diversity needed to increase sales through competitive pricing and other benefits to customers. FirstBank’s credit cards will be issued exclusively by MBNA, which will honor the bank’s outstanding cards.

"We chose MBNA because it is the largest independent lender of credit cards in the world and its resources and experience are invaluable," said Aurelio Aleman, FirstBank’s executive vice president for consumer banking. "MBNA provides innovative products backed by excellent customer service. With it, FirstBank will offer the most compelling and competitive credit card program in Puerto Rico."

FirstBank’s new credit cards will look the same as the old ones, but they will be accompanied by a much more extensive menu of products and services. "We are confident our customers will be pleased with the benefits they will receive," said Aleman.

Delaware-based MBNA is capable of providing the content and the processing agility required to complement FirstBank’s efforts to grow its credit-card business. MBNA has developed unique card products for specific audiences such as students, trade and professional groups, sports associations, environmental groups, and universities.

One of the concepts to be introduced in Puerto Rico is WorldPoints. Like Banco Popular’s Premia program, WorldPoints rewards customers for using the card.

"FirstBank is a premier financial institution that has been serving its customers for over 50 years," said Michael G. Rhodes, MBNA’s chief marketing officer. "In FirstBank we have found a strong partner, one which shares our vision of providing world-class products and services to Puerto Rico."

MBNA Corp. is a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America Bank N.A. MBNA also provides retail deposit, consumer loan, and insurance products.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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