Magazine article American Banker

Elan Starts Issuing Visa Signature Card for Northern Trust

Magazine article American Banker

Elan Starts Issuing Visa Signature Card for Northern Trust

Article excerpt

U.S. Bancorp's Elan Financial Services has replaced MBNA Corp. as the credit card provider for Northern Trust Co.

Northern Trust, a private bank and wealth advisor based in Chicago, began offering Visa Signature cards through Elan on Oct. 1.

The card is being offered to all Northern Trust customers. Northern Trust plans to promote the card's American Express-style benefits, including concierge service and a variety of rewards options.

"We will work with Northern Trust employees on what makes sense to build the right products for their customers," said Diane Sommers, a senior vice president and the managing director of Elan's credit card program.

"We will use sophisticated segmentation strategies" to offer the appropriate product to customers. Like its parent, Elan is based in Minneapolis.

Lately Visa U.S.A. has been pitching its Signature card as an alternative to the American Express gold card in television ads and in kiosks at airports, Visa spokesman Paul Cohen said.

Some travelers at Chicago, Charlotte, and Boston airports, among others, can win free limousine rides if they present a Signature card at a kiosk.

Though it has been around for years, the Signature card was slow to pick up issuers at first. Now it is being issued by close to 10 banks, Mr. Cohen said.

They include J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., U.S. Bancorp, Citigroup Inc., National City Corp., and Bank of America Corp. Merrill Lynch recently began offering the card to high-net-worth customers.

"We did notify all credit card holders that have cards with us that we have had a change in provider," said Rebecca Hayne, a Northern Trust spokeswoman. …

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