30 June 2005
MBNA has been the nation's largest standalone (i.e., not connected to an individual full-service bank) credit-card issuer for some time; its $35-billion absorption into Bank of America will position B of A as the largest issuer of plastic, period, ahead of the Chase/Bank One combine.
In one way, at least, it's a good fit; Bank of America issues primarily Visa cards, while MBNA has more MasterCard (and, lately, American Express) cardholders.
With Providian now off the market, this leaves Capital One as the only merger target among the Top 10 card issuers, who now control about 87 percent of the nation's credit-card market.
And there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth in Delaware, where MBNA is the largest single private employer, but I don't think it will be that much of a hit; since basically MBNA people will be running the combined show MBNA CEO Bruce Hammonds will be in charge, and card operations will be centralized in Wilmington I'd expect that most of the 6,000 or so expected layoffs will come from the B of A side.