The Postal Service has decided to stick with U.S. Bancorp as the provider of purchasing cards for its employees.

IMPAC, the purchasing card system of the Minneapolis-based banking company, has been used by the Postal Service for a decade. Under the federal government's card procurement system, the Postal Service recently had the option of selecting another provider.

U.S. Bancorp said the new contract will run for five years, with five one-year renewal options. Transaction volume is estimated at $320 million a year.

"This new agreement underscores the trust government places in U.S. Bank and the IMPAC card," said Steven M. Putney, president of U.S. Bancorp's government services unit. "It strengthens a successful 10-year partnership built on our unique understanding of the complexities of the government environment."

Last month U.S. Bank, formerly named First Bank of Minneapolis, won what it called the world's largest purchasing card contract, a $9 billion, three-year deal with the Department of Defense.

These contracts and others with federal entities take effect Dec. 1. Many agencies have not yet named new providers.

Citicorp, NationsBank Corp., and U.S. Bancorp have the most "wins" so far.

American Express Co. dropped out of the bidding process earlier this year. Mellon Bank Corp. and First Chicago NBD Corp. are still in the running.

Under the existing contract, U.S. Bancorp has been the exclusive purchasing card issuer for federal agencies.

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