Joseph W. Saunders, who was tapped Monday to manage the soon-to-be- combined credit card portfolios of Fleet Financial Group and Advanta Corp., knows the industry will be watching his every move.

In the five weeks since the deal was announced, credit card executives have talked constantly about the daunting task of knitting the operations together. Adding an extra layer of pressure is Fleet's ambition to fashion the disparate units into a unified, top-performing card portfolio.

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