Fitch Investor Services upgraded Signet Banking Corp.'s 7.75% senior debentures due 1997, affecting $12 million of debt.

Improving earnings - mainly driven by strong credit card receivables - and strong asset quality and capital, moved the agency to upgrade to A-minus from BBB-plus, Fitch said.

Earnings were $53 million in the first quarter, and $174 million for all of 1993, Fitch said, noting higher credit card fees and securitization income also boosted earnings, as noninterest income grew to 50% of fully taxable equivalent revenue compared to less than 40% in 1993.

Fitch added, however, that concerns still center on the company's below-average operating efficiency, reliance on securitization to fund its fast-growing credit card business, and the increasingly competitive credit card industry.

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