For the fifth time in as many years, American Banker reporters and editors are singling out a few executives worthy of the distinction "Leaders of the Bank Card Business." Paradoxically for a period of consolidation that has propelled a handful of top performers ahead of the rest of the pack, there seems an endless supply of "leaders" candidates, and the selections often must come down to subjective judgments.

Including the nine profiles in these pages, 48 articles have been published on bank card leaders at 39 organizations. The two numbers differ because companies like NationsBank, Wachovia, Banc One, and its recent acquisition First USA have each been spotlighted more than once.

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