Key Federal Savings Bank is discovering what happens to a big fish in a small pond when the pond suddenly gets bigger, and so do the other fish.

One of the pioneers of secured credit cards, the $196.8 million asset bank based in Havre de Grace, Md., now has a lot more company than it did in 1982 when it began issuing secured cards under a former New York banker named Robert M. Bouza. Although competition has intensified, Key Federal is fiercely defending its position as a leading issuer of the cards that require a deposit as security for a credit line.

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