Republic Unit to Issue Visa Travelers Checks: Hopes Move Will Enlarge Its Own Check Operation

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Republic Money Orders, Inc. of Dallas, Tex., the smallest issuer of proprietary travelers checks, plans to issue Visa travelers checks early this year.

Republic hopes that the widespread recognition of the Visa name will enable it to expand the scope of its travelers check operation. The firm will continue to issue its own checks.

Republic, a subsidiary of Republic-Bank Corp., has been issuing its own travelers checks for nearly 50 years. Republic is a significantly smaller issuer of proprietary travelers checks than other domestic issuers such as American Express, BankAmerica, and Citicorp, said Richard W. Hammond, vice president of marketing at Republic. He declined to reveal Republic's sales volume.

Republic is aiming to become the second biggest domestic issuer of Visa travelers checks, Mr Hammond said. Republic will have to generate $1.5 billion in annual sales of Visa travelers checks to achieve its goal, he said.

"We have reached contractual agreements with some significantly large institutions in the United States that we feel, in short order, will put us in the running for top domestic issuer of Visa checks," Mr. Hammond said. He declined to reveal the names of the institutions that will become sales agents for Republic.

Republic also plans to quadruple its spending on advertising for travelers checks, Mr. Hammond said.

Based on 1983 sales volume, the biggest domestic issuers of Visa travelers checks were Barclays Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank, said Vince La Paglia, vice president in charge of Visa's travelers check operations. BankAmerica, which is issuing Visa travelers checks, may also become a leading issuer, Mr. La Paglia said.

Republic's proprietary travelers checks are now available at about 3,800 locations -- primarily in the southwestern United States -- but Republic also has some sales offices in other parts of the world. …