Advanta Corp., the Horsham, Pa., financial services company, has received favorable ratings for its newly chartered credit card bank, Advanta National Bank.

Moody's and Standard & Poor's gave the bank's long- and short-term deposits ratings comparable to those for Colonial National Bank, Advanta's primary credit card bank.

The de novo bank, located in Wilmington, Del., has about $300 million of assets, primarily credit card receivables, generated internally and transferred from Colonial National.

Unlike its counterpart, Advanta National Bank is not subject to the 7% growth cap imposed under the Competitive Equality Banking Act of 1987 that restricted Colonial's on-balance-sheet growth.

Advanta National, chartered in February, will offer MasterCard and Visa credit cards through direct mail and telemarketing.

Recently, Advanta chose Devon Direct Marketing and Advertising Inc. to handle the direct marketing account of its consumer financial services business unit. The division includes both credit card banks.

Ron Greene, Devon Direct's managing director, said the Berwyn, Pa.-based company would support Advanta's card marketing from every perspective, including customer acquisition, relationship management, statement communications, and branding.

Thomas P. Facciola, an analyst at Salomon Brothers Inc., said last week that Advanta would introduce a small business card, either MasterCard or Visa, aimed at the self-employed and small business arena.

Also, he said, the company is likely to announce an expansion into the European or United Kingdom bank card markets this year with a joint-venture partner.

Robert Jennings contributed to this article.

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