First Union Corp. has promoted its credit card chief Fred M. Winkler to executive vice president.

Mr. Winkler, 52, joined the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking company in 1993 as senior vice president in charge of card products. Since that time, First Union's credit card portfolio has doubled to $5.6 billion, and ranks 15th nationally.

In addition to credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, automated teller machines, and merchant processing, Mr. Winkler has molded the superregional's remote banking business. Early this year, the bank introduced a collection of products for that business, under the service mark "Cyberbanking."

In the spring, First Union became one of the first banks to create a site on the World Wide Web. And it laid out an aggressive plan to issue more than one million smart cards in time for the 1996 summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. First Union will replace its ATM debit card with a chip card during the stored value rollout.

"As First Union develops new technology to better deliver products and services through alternative channels, Fred's role takes on even broader implications," said Burt Melton, First Union executive vice president and head of consumer credit and bank-related services, in a statement.

Mr. Winkler's division is responsible for acquiring new customers through nontraditional banking channels and providing relationship-based customer service. It will handle the bank's call center, which provides centralized communication for customers and the ability to cross-sell multiple bank products and services, Mr. Winkler said.

Before joining First Union, Mr. Winkler was chief operating officer of AT&T Universal Card Services. He was also chief executive officer and president of Citibank South Dakota from 1983 to 1989. From 1970 to 1980, he was a law professor and private practice lawyer.

Mr. Winkler earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a law degree from the University of South Dakota.

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