A Command Credit Corp. subsidiary has been signed by Uniondale, N.Y.- based European American Bank to process its secured card program, starting this spring.
Berwyn Holdings Inc., Wilmington, Del., will provide credit card and payment processing services for the secured cards, Command Credit said in a press release.
Command Credit, Garden City, N.Y., acquired Berwyn Holdings, which processes fewer than 10,000 accounts, in March 1995.
"EAB brings us a tremendous amount of credibility with respect to its size," said Command Credit chairman and chief executive William G. Lucas.
Mr. Lucas said that Berwyn is negotiating with National Westminster Bancorp, another bank apparently looking to enter the secured card market.
In addition to secured cards, Berwyn processes medical card and student loan transactions. Berwyn president Harold Hendrickson said that EAB is the company's fourth client.
EAB, which has about 300,000 credit card accounts, plans to issue about 10,000 secured cards beginning in March or April.
Bill Redman, EAB's senior vice president for retail credit, emphasized that "we have no plans to divert our existing credit card processing." First Data Corp. handles processing for EAB's credit card accounts.
"A secured card program is an opportunity for us to increase our credit card base with a profile of customers we haven't been overly successful in reaching," said Mr. Redman. Natwest is looking for people with limited or no credit, sections of the immigrant population, and college students.
"We looked at several vendors," Mr. Redman said in looking for a secured card processor, and found there are not many to choose from. "Berwyn represented the best opportunity for us."
Tom Juranich, vice president of Key Federal Savings Bank, a leading processor of secured cards, estimated that "no more than 10" companies focus on that market.
Secured-card advocate Irving Levin, chief executive of Renaissance BankCard Services, was pleased with EAB's plans.
"EAB is following a long list of metro-New York City banks that are issuing secured cards," noted Mr. Levin. "Retail banks are becoming more of a central distribution point."