Total System Services Inc. has created a division to help small financial companies develop credit card programs.

The Columbus, Ga., processor said its TSYS program solutions unit, which was announced Wednesday, can design, implement and operate card programs for community banks and credit unions that want to issue their own cards.

The new unit offers profitability analysis, portfolio management and marketing support as well as the company's standard processing, card and statement production and analytics services.

Big issuers dominate the card industry, but TSYS said that impending regulatory changes designed to make credit cards more consumer friendly will also make it easier for smaller banks to stake out a space in the field.

"Over a period of years, the top issuers competed aggressively with marketing techniques, such as mass solicitations and teaser rates, to gain market share to the point that many smaller banks felt they couldn't effectively compete," Philip W. Tomlinson, TSYS' chairman and chief executive, said in a press release. "We believe the case for re-entry is there, if we can demonstrate a compelling and profitable business case."

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