processing services for the Michigan Retailers Association. The trade group consists of more than 4,400 businesses with 8,000 stores in Michigan. About 3,400 of the stores get bank card services through the association. Society of Michigan, a subsidiary of Cleveland-based Keycorp, took the business away from Old Kent Bank and Trust Co. of Grand Rapids, Mich. "It gives us an opportunity to expand our market share, especially in areas where we don't have a branch program," said a Keycorp spokeswoman. She added that Society will offer point of sale debit promotions that Old Kent had not offered. Larry Meyer, vice chairman and chief executive officer of the Michigan Retailers Association, said he was impressed by Society's "strong relationship" with credit card vendors. The group chose Society "because we wanted to be strategically positioned to take advantage of all the new technology they currently provide," said Mr. Meyer. The trade group's announcement follows a Keycorp decision to join MasterCard's debit program - a decision that will affect more than two million automated teller machine cards. The Keycorp spokeswoman said there was "no correlation" between the two moves. The MasterCard partnership "will have no direct effect" on the Michigan retailers group "other than offering them something they can obtain through us," she said. Keycorp will convert its portfolio of off-line debit cards from the Visa brand to MasterCard's Master Money. Society Bank of Michigan is one of three affiliates through which Keycorp issues these cards, the holding company said. In another recent gain for Keycorp's processing business, Society National Bank of Cleveland recently became credit card processor for the PC-based bill-paying service of Checkfree Corp. Keycorp has more than 1,400 branch and affiliate offices in 25 states and its merchant services division serves over 60,000 U.S. merchants.
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