Ron Zebeck has always been a pioneer. When others were collecting fat fees for gold cards, he convinced Advanta Corp. to waive fees-and the national market for the original precious metal card exploded. At Household International, he defied conventional wisdom and sweetened rebate incentives to make the GM Card the most successful affinity card launch in history.

Now, as CEO of Metris Cos., he is again shaking things up-rapidly growing what some describe as a subprime credit card business, offering plastic to consumers who can do little better than obtain secured cards. And Zebeck has done so without the mass marketing that has made the card industry what it is today.

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