First of America Bank Corp. has given Peter Purcell an official title for the responsibilities he has been handling since November.

In July the bank announced his promotion to president of its retail delivery and card services division.

Mr. Purcell, 36, was senior vice president of the retail delivery group and senior vice president of application services at First of America Services, the bank's back-office operations and data processing unit.

He will be responsible for developing and carrying out alternative retail delivery and electronic funds transfer strategies for the $22 billion Kalamazoo, Mich.-based bank. He will also have profit-and-loss responsibility for debit cards and the merchant services division.

He succeeded William F. Smith, who joined First Solutions, a subsidiary of First Data Corp., last summer as senior vice president of decision support.

Mr. Purcell reports to Donald Kenney, executive vice president of automation, operations, retail credit, and mortgage.

Since November, Mr. Purcell said, he has targeted core markets as well as affinity and cobranded opportunities to bolster the existing portfolio of two million accounts with $1.3 billion in receivables. The bank is also planning to launch a purchasing card.

In recent years, the bank has developed a reputation for pursuing cutting-edge technology in the financial services industry.

"Historically, our bank has not taken risks on credit quality," Mr. Purcell said. "We take our risks with product innovation and new ways to serve our customers. Technology plays an important role in that."

Last fall the bank installed the nation's first closed smart card system at two University of Michigan campuses. The high-function student identity cards serve as automated teller machine cards, stored value cards, and building access cards.

Before joining First of America in 1987, Mr. Purcell worked for Union Trust Bank of Maryland.

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