CHICAGO -- As they tend to do annually at such affairs, the presidents of MasterCard and Visa managed to find some grounds for debate this week in their speeches to the American Bankers Association's bank card conference.

But the two men, each engaging in this "state of the industry" exercise for only the second time, gave the impression that the attack mode was against their better instincts.

They seemed to be striving for a higher plane of dialogue -- in stark contrast to the way their predecessors knocked heads in years past.

Helping promote the kinder and gentler tone, the ABA for the first time scheduled the two speeches on different days,

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