Total System Services Inc. has signed a contract to process cards for Principal Bank, an Internet-based bank owned by Principal Financial Group of Des Moines.

Principal Financial, a major insurance company, obtained a thrift charter to cross-sell deposit and card products to its 10 million customers and 17,000 employees.

Principal Bank opened last month and does business entirely through remote channels: on-line, telephone, mail, and automated teller machine.

Total System, a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp., expects to begin processing Principal's cards in the second quarter.

Philip W. Tomlinson, president of Total System, said the new customer "is a pioneer in the virtual banking industry and we are excited to establish a partnership with them for consumer card processing."

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