First Interstate Bank of Los Angeles has appointed a new credit card chief to expand the bank's presence in the lucrative field.

Miles R. Adam, executive vice president of the bank card division, was promoted from manager of acquisitions and retail planning. He has been with First Interstate since 1984 in various posts, including manager of the retail market services division.

Michael Walker, senior vice president of the card division, who had been in charge, will now report to Mr. Adam.

The 50-year-old executive is not a stranger to the card business. He spent three years at Citicorp's Diners Club facility in Denver, managing customer and merchant services, administrative services, and operations.

First Interstate, the 25th-largest credit card issuer in the country, with outstandings of more than $1.25 billion and 1.5 million cardholders, said it is intent on portfolio growth.

"It's a product line we want to substantially expand," said Mr. Adam. "I plan to reenergize the bank card company."

"They haven't been that big a factor in the credit card business," said Ronald I. Mandle, senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "It's been good for many banks. I could see why they want to increase their share of the business."

The bank will start with improved penetration of its existing customer base. "We can do a better job of cross-selling credit cards to the deposit base," said Mr. Adam.

"It makes sense that a large regional bank like First Interstate would want to have at least a reasonable share of their own customers' business," said Mr. Mandle.

Mr. Adam said his experience overseeing the many acquisitions by First Interstate over the past year has taught him much about the competitive card business.

"Acquisitions has given me an excellent perspective on other institutions' card programs," said Mr. Adam. "I've learned a lot about card marketing and card product offering."

Mr. Adam said the bank merged several programs from the large and active San Diego Trust Bank portfolio with some smaller ones. "It's expanded our ability to understand what's out there."

Mr. Adam, who starts his new job next week, acknowledged that creating a successful card program could be tricky. "I'm anxious to get started," he said. "I think we can have some fun and grow our business."

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