MasterCard International Inc. said it has consolidated its remittance processing and home banking activities under a single executive, A. Christian Fredrick.

The remittance processing service, known as RPS, was a long-established part of MasterCard's electronic services group, reporting to executive vice president Philip Verdi.

MasterCard said it made the organizational change because RPS' specialty - electronic processing of bill payments - has become increasingly tied to the remote banking initiatives in Mr. Fredrick's Master Banking unit.

RPS provides part of the infrastructure for Master Banking, and its commitment to increase the number of merchants receiving electronic payments was seen as a key to Master Banking's effectiveness.

"Exploiting the synergies of these services will provide our membership with an increased level of support and greater cost efficiencies, while enabling them to enhance their offerings to depositors with a bill payment services that is second to none," said Mr. Fredrick, a senior vice president.

Mr. Fredrick joined the New York-based card association early this year as head of strategic planning for the U.S. region. Mr. Fredrick, who formerly headed the credit card program at Fleet Financial Group, Providence, R.I., added the Master Banking responsibility in July.

RPS has become a major force in consumer remittance processing since its formation in 1987. It says its paperless methods cut the cost of delivering a consumer payment by 80%. Monthly transaction volumes have grown to 700,000 from 10,000 in 1988.

Master Banking, since its launch in 1993, has signed 18 financial institutions to provide services via touch-tone telephones and personal computers. Twelve have gone live, generating more than 300,000 transactions a month valued at $70 million.

Visa Interactive, the Visa International counterpart of Master Banking, has surpassed MasterCard in number of institutions signed. But MasterCard still claims to be benefiting from its head start in transaction processing, bolstered by the recent conversion of Chemical Banking Corp.'s home banking back-office.

"Through RPS, MasterCard has a stellar electronic bill-payment processing track record, and this has been strengthened by the Master Banking service," Mr. Fredrick said.

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