The American Bankers Association has conferred distinguished service awards on three card industry legends.

John F. Fisher, retired senior vice president of Banc One Corp., and George Fesus, formerly of American Express Co., MasterCard International, and State Street Boston Corp., received their awards last week during the bank card conference in Orlando.

Software pioneer Arthur S. Kranzley was honored posthumously. His son Arthur D. Kranzley, senior vice president of Advanta Corp., accepted.

The ABA held an awards dinner on the eve of the conference, as it did last year in naming the first hall-of-fame-like honorees: Kenneth Larkin, the BankAmericard initiator at Bank of America; credit card and automated teller machine luminary D. Dale Browning; and the late MasterCard organizer and Marine Midland Banks executive Karl Henke.

James Shanahan, partner of Business Dynamics Consulting and a key ABA conference planner, said he expects the awards to get more attention in future years, becoming more integrated with the conference program.

Mr. Fisher was cited for his influence both within Banc One - he had a hand in its credit card and other service innovations, and even came up with the company name - and as a thought leader for the industry. "He was not always right but he was never wrong," said Banc One spokesman John Russell, a longtime friend and onetime protege. "Everything we did we did for a purpose."

Mr. Fesus was the top marketing officer at MasterCard when it introduced gold and business cards and changed the card design with holograms and more space devoted to the bank's name.

The late Mr. Kranzley and Kranzley & Co. were responsible for some of the first and most widely used charge card, installment lending, and ATM network systems. "He was there at the right time with the right ideas," said Mr. Browning, an early customer. "Whatever this industry accomplished, Art Kranzley helped."

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