First Data Corp., since 1991 a key credit card processing player in the United Kingdom, has named Rick Norman senior vice president and director of client services for its First Data Resources Ltd. unit, Basildon, England.

Mr. Norman joined Omaha-based First Data Resources in 1986 as manager of plastic card services and has held subsequent positions in client services, operations, and human resources.

Mr. Norman will report to Joe Jackson, senior vice president and managing director for First Data Resources Ltd.

Neither Mr. Norman nor Mr. Jackson was available for comment.

First Data Resources Ltd. was created in July 1991 when First Data acquired it for $235 million from Lloyds Bank PLC, Midland Bank PLC, National Westminster Bank PLC, and Royal Bank of Scotland PLC. The purchase gave the company half of the United Kingdom's card processing business, with Barclays Bank of London handling the rest.

Richard K. Weingarten, an analyst with Montgomery Securities in San Francisco, estimated that First Data's European operations account for 4% to 5% of its revenues. The company's operating revenues were $1.1 billion in 1995.

Mr. Weingarten described Europe as "one of the huge growth areas in credit card processing. The U.K. is one of the more developed regions, and is kind of a launching pad for the rest of Europe."

As for First Data's recent performance, "We did see in the last quarter an improvement in their growth rate," said Mr. Weingarten.

"Since 1991, most of what they were doing was getting the cost structure in line and converting the system to their software, and they're now moving more toward gaining revenue," Mr. Weingarten added. "It looks like they're getting ready for a period of accelerated growth."

"The climate in Europe will become increasingly favorable for third- party processors because issuers are looking at increased expenses associated with marketing," said David Robertson, president of The Nilson Report, an Oxnard, Calif.-based newsletter. "They will want to divest themselves of operations, such as processing, that are better left to specialists."

"Some of the issuers that have moved over there were already First Data clients," added Mr. Robertson, citing Advanta Corp. as one. Through its RBS Advanta subsidiary, Advanta will be issuing cards in Europe.

"That has allowed First Data to grow its business and allowed some issuers to take advantage of an existing relationship," Mr. Robertson said.

Prior to joining First Data, Mr. Norman worked in sales and client services for Valmont Industries.

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