Magazine article American Banker

Dallas Firm to Test-Market Visa Cards to Hancock Customers

Magazine article American Banker

Dallas Firm to Test-Market Visa Cards to Hancock Customers

Article excerpt

DALLAS -- The Associates Corporation of North America, a Dallas-based financial services company, has announced plans to test-market its Visa credit cards to customers of John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., Boston.

The agreement, the first of its kind between a major insurance company and a card issurer, may allow the Associates Corporation to extend its credit cardholder base and provide another avenue for selling other financial services. The arrangement gives John Hancock a chance to broaden its line of financial services.

John G. McElwee, chairman of the insurance company, said: "We are into several kinds of financial services. We want our policyholders to look at us as a financially strong financial services complex instead of an old-line mutual life insurance company.

"One of the musts is credit cards -- i you are going to offer financial services in a broad array," Mr. McElwee added.

Reece A. Overcash Jr., chairman of the Associates, said his company selected John Hancock for the pilot program because both firms have a long history of working together. The Associates sells commercial paper and term-debt instruments for funding, and John Hancock has been a buyer of those securities for more than 30 years.

"[John Hancock has] always been a premium lender to the finance industry," Mr. Overcash said. "Since 1950, we have worked with them."

The Associates, a unit of Gulf & Western Industries Inc., already has a cardholder base of about one million customers. The cards are issued through its affiliate bank, the Associates National Bank, Concord, Calif. …

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