Magazine article American Banker

Buffalo's M&T Bank Cobrands a Card with Growing Long-Distance Carrier

Magazine article American Banker

Buffalo's M&T Bank Cobrands a Card with Growing Long-Distance Carrier

Article excerpt

M&T Bank of Buffalo has launched its second cobranded credit card in four months, this one offering rebates on long distance telephone service.

The Frontier Visa will be issued with Frontier Communications International, formerly the Rochester Telephone Co., one of the oldest independent telephone companies in the country.

Frontier has grown, through recent acquisitions, to delivering local service to 33 markets. After the pending purchase of ALC, owner of Alltel Corp., it will be the fifth-largest long distance provider in the country, behind LDDS Metromedia Communications, Sprint, MCI, and AT&T.

A Frontier spokeswoman said the card will provide a way to generate more awareness of the company. "We made a name change," she said; "we want to make sure people know who we are."

M&T, in an effort to increase its card portfolio, now at 150,000 accounts and $180 million outstanding, has "committed ourselves to the cobranding business," said Alan M. Ellison, vice president, consumer credit card product management.

Last April, the First Empire State Corp. subsidiary announced a cobranding deal with Tops Friendly Markets that rewarded cardholders with discounts on groceries.

At that time the bank owned 130,000 accounts and $150 million in outstandings.

"We're finding our credit card customers are very interested in value- added type benefits and this is a very good way to give them that, versus competing on rate," said Mr. Ellison.

Robert B. McKinley, president of RAM Research Corp., Frederick, Md. …

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