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PHOENIX — For most of the past five years the $2.7 billion Desert School Federal Credit Union had been a jewel in the crown of monoline card issuer MBNA’s credit union agent issuing program, but no more.

As of Jan. 1, Desert Schools switched from having FIA Card Services (formerly MBNA), the card-issuing arm of Bank of America, issue credit cards in its name to having Elan, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, do so. The change marks a significant shift of direction for a credit union that used to play a significant role in MBNA’s effort to market its agent program to the broader credit union industry. “I think it’s important to note right off that our move should not be seen as any comment on the folks at MBNA that we have worked with over the life of our contract,” said Jeff Meshey, an executive vice president with the CU. “But what we noticed was that, with the merger, there were just things about the new organization, the people to whom the former MBNA people reported, that made us nervous and made us want to reevaluate our options,” he added.

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