Europay International, the European bank card association closely allied with MasterCard International, proclaimed 1997 its "strongest year ever," with a record 18% increase in cards issued by member banks.

Cards bearing the Eurocard-MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus, and Eurocheque logos increased by 28 million. The company said seven out of 10 new cards issued were Europay brands, and the total of 178 million amounted to a 60% regional market share.

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