IBAA Bancard Inc. has cemented its 11-year relationship with Equifax Card Services, extending its contract through 2004.

The payment services subsidiary of the Independent Bankers Association of America signed a five-year extension of a three-year contract to do credit and debit processing for member banks.

About 2,000 IBAA members, with two million cardholders and 100,000 merchant locations, are in the program.

The deal is further enhanced by IBAA's plan to issue credit cards for its smaller member banks through a limited-purpose institution, Total Card Management Bank, which will be open to 5,000 banks. (See article above.)

The relationship will generate about $1 billion of revenue, said Lee Kennedy, president of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Equifax Payment Services.

"As a community banker, I think it is important that this service is available through a friendly trade association," said David Ballweg, chairman of IBAA Bancard and president and chief executive officer of Community State Bank, Union Grove, Wis.

"It removes the risk of leaving community banks high and dry when services are sometimes terminated as a result of acquisitions," he added.

To accommodate the increase in business, the Equifax unit expects to add 200 employees a year to its current base of 2,000, for the length of the contract.

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