Heartland Payment Systems Inc. has a new bank-sponsor agreement with Bancorp Bank of Wilmington, Del.

The processor announced the five-year contract with the Bancorp Inc. subsidiary on Monday.

Heartland, of Princeton, N.J., signed the agreement in November after SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta gave notice in August that it was ending its sponsorship of the processor, according to Heartland's most recent 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bancorp took over sponsorship in February.

SunTrust agreed in February 2009 to sponsor Heartland's large merchant accounts for Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc.

SunTrust's decision to no exit the third-party sponsorship business and, to a lesser extent, the high-profile security breach of its payment systems that Heartland disclosed last year played a role in the bank's choice, Heartland's president and chief financial officer, Robert Baldwin, said Monday. SunTrust declined to comment.

"I don't think we necessarily expected it," Baldwin said of SunTrust's decision. Heartland, however, is "very excited about Bancorp as a sponsor. They're very progressive in terms of facilitating payments. They understand the world of payments very well and we think they're really a great match with what we're trying to do."

Like SunTrust, Bancorp's sponsorship will cover mostly large petroleum and convenience store merchants that Heartland acquired with its 2008 purchase of Alliance Data Systems Corp.'s network-services business.

Heartland also has sponsorship agreements with KeyCorp's KeyBank in Cleveland and Heartland Bank in St. Louis. The KeyBank agreement is set to expire in March 2012 and the Heartland Bank agreement in September 2010.

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