Interview with Bob Footman,

November 30, 1992

Conducted by Jan Shaw

1966, 1976, '86' that's 26 years ago. Shall I start off from the beginning? The beginning came when I worked for an agency called Johnson & Lewis and I was the account supervisor on BankAmericard. And there was a man at the bank named Vern Richards who was an absolute jerk. And, although our agency was across the street from the bank, the news flooded the agency within a half hour after what I'm going to tell you about.

Two men from Marine Midland Bank in New York came in to see Vern and asked him if Bank of America would consider having a joint credit-card operation with their bank. They had their own credit card, you know, with Bank of America together. And Vern Richards said to them, "We don't need you. You are, in effect, an incidental factor in the business and Bank of America can get along without you." And these two men, one of them was Heintz, Karl Heintz [check spelling]'I think I have the name right'and his associate, they staggered out into the street. And we in the agency. The word went through the whole Bank of America, what he had told them, and we heard about it in the agency. It was none of our business. We don't hear these sort of things normally. I heard about it.

All right. I'll leave the story there. I'll come back to it. They are out on the street, on Montgomery Street.

And one day not long after, about September of '66, the phone rings and my ex assistant calls me and he says, he's with Foote, Cone & Belding now, I was with Johnson & Lewis with the BankAmericard bank, he says, "Would you consider coming to work for Foote, Cone & Belding?" And I said, "Of course." Many, many years ago, I decided, anybody that calls me, I would go.

Because, you know, I knew what I was doing at BankAmericard. It was already routine. And so I talked to various people there and it turned out they were pitching a new bank credit card. Unnamed. And I had a certain reputation in the field and they said, "Would you, if we get the account, would you handle it?" And I said to them, "Of course, be glad to. But you mustn't use my name in your pitch. I'm an employee of Johnson & Lewis. You can't pitch me." Of course, they went ahead and pitched me. That's the way (or why) they got the account. And so I became the account executive and we all went to work.

And they had a computer outfit. All right? By this time I knew what was necessary in the computer field and I told these guys what we wanted. It took them 20 years to get what I wanted because the computer technology wasn't that good then. What you have now is what I asked for. You know, you can call them up and they have your phone and everything. They know who you are. They have your whole account history and so on. I wanted all that.

And, uh. So we went to work and the two problems right away were, there were three problems, one was to get a new name for a card. Two was to get a new design for a card and three was to get the banks working together.

Now, who were these banks? These banks were Crocker, Bank of California, and United California Bank out of Los Angeles.

And, uh. So we went to work and the two problems right away were, there were three problems, one was to get a new name for a card. Two was to get a new design for a card and three was to get the banks working together.

Now, who were these banks? These banks were Crocker, Bank of California, and United California Bank out of Los Angeles.

And the founder, Wells Fargo, headed by Jack Elmer, who was the real instigator of this thing. He might still be alive.

I was invited to a meeting of the four banks that were thinking of a competitor to BankAmericard.

So these four banks'I met them the first time, the four directors of the four banks, handling this thing. And I told them a lot of things in my experience at BankAmericard which the basic point hasn't changed very much from what I understand. One-third of your customers will pay their bill in total right away. One-third won't ever use the card. They just want it for a credit reference. And one-third will roll over. You'll make your money on the one-third that rolls over. I said that's manifestly unfair and the time will come when you will have to charge every holder of a card a certain sum of money. And they all banged the table and they said,'Oh, that's what we've been waiting to hear.' It bothered them. How do you make money on this card? And how do you break even on it?

Okay, So I didn't work with these directors. I went to work with Jack Elmer (EVP at Wells Fargo and head of the new credit card project), but the other three guys scattered to their banks. But I worked with the advertising committee. And the advertising committee had, oh dear, the name will come to me, George. George. The smartest guy was the guy from UCB. I'll get his last name shortly. And the other three guys. And George had a bigger responsibility at UCB than these other three guys at their banks. They were simply ad directors. And so, we'd sit down and we'd work out a plan of action and absolutely nothing would happen. So I went to Jack Elmer and I said, "Jack, I've discovered something about the way you banks run your business. Your ad directors have no authority in the bank whatever, do they?" And he said, "Well, not very much." I said, "I need people with authority."

Oh, by the way, this was all, up 'til this minute, this was all illegal. Because it was collusion. Competitors can't do this. They had a man named John Archer, I'm sure I've got the name right, with Morrison, Foerster, Holloway, Clinton & Clark. It's now just Morrison Foerster. Now how the heck I know that name and not remember George's last name. It's kind of a little song. Morrison, Foerster, Holloway, Clinton & Clark.

No, John Austin. Archer was the guy with Bank of America. He was the man who was guiding them through the shoals of anti-trust, federal anti-trust rules and regulations. And I hadn't met John at this point. So I said to Elmer, "I've got to have people here with authority." He said, "Well, what do you mean?" "Well, somebody that's involved in the marketing operations of your banks." "Oh, you want marketing directors. Okay, I'll get them for you."

So, at the next meeting, three of the most remarkable men I've ever worked with appeared in the room with the four advertising managers, too. And, uh, and George, the guy from UCB, he had two at his bank. He did have authority. He was marketing director besides being ad director. And one of these guys was named Richard Rosenberg. Name mean anything to you? (became CEO of Bank of America)

He was the most wonderful man, one of the most wonderful men I ever worked with. And smart. And so, the four banks and me, sat down and this is what we are going to do and I wrote my first conference report on what the marketing committee 'that's what I called it' had decided. Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing. All those things. Most of which came true. Not all. Some of them took 25 years. But I wanted to go right away into the grocery business. Well, it took them 25 years to get to the technology to do that. Now, of course, I do all my shopping with a credit card here. Slide it through. Wonderful.

The grocery stores don't have to be banks anymore. They were banks. I could get 200 bucks from a grocery store, if I wanted to.

All right, so the marketing report goes out to the four banks an to Jack Elmer. The next day the phone rings and it's Jack Elmer. He says, "Bob, John Austin wants to see you." And I said, "Who's John Austin?" He says, "Well, he's our lawyer with Morrison Foerster Holloway Clinton & Clark." "Well, what does he want to see me about?" "About the conference report of yours." Well, what's wrong with the conference report?" "Well, let him tell you."

So I go over to Morrison Foerster and in those days, I know how they are now, but in those days the furniture was linoleum floors and chrome steel tables. Very simple. And we sat down, the two of us, around a chrome steel table, like a card table. (Phone rings. He calls Lisl, his second wife. General chat.)

Question: Do you remember the names of the other people on the marketing committee?

No, I don't. Well, Richard was. (Remarkable.) He dominated from the word "go." It wasn't anything he did. He just dominated. He was a very remarkable man. (Goes into some of Rosenberg's background.)

And John (Austin) says, "What in the hell?" And he held the conference report, "What is this all about?" I said, "Well, you read it. You can see what it's for." He said, "You can't do that." And I said, "Why not?" He says, "I am shepherding this new credit card through the Justice Department and the one thing they've made very clear to me is that there must be no marketing collusion of the four banks. You can all do things that are not competitive. They are joint. But not marketing. Not how you will increase your sales in respect to somebody else." And so on. And I said, "Well, I don't give a shit about the Justice Department. I need these four men. Things are starting to happen, right away." And so we argued for two hours. Back and forth. He said to me, I'll never forget, he said, "What the?? There are six men in jail now in the banking business that were all caught by the Justice Department for marketing collusion with another bank."

I've been around in business long enough, here's how you do it in my business. You pick the phone up and you say, "Joe, my price is gonna be x, y, and z tomorrow. What will your price be?" And the guy says, "So and so." "Well, let's make it so and so." "Done." That's how it's done. On the telephone. That's collusion. You can't do that. But it's done all the time. Okay?

But this wasn't that way. This was just four guys trying to make something work. And it was all'

By the way, a key, key point here. These men all liked each other. The banks, the banks all liked each other. It never once,I'm saying this because I'll come back to it later on, it never once crossed my mind that these banks were competitors. These were cooperators. How do we compete with BankAmericard with four banks, of which the four of them together probably,I don't know what their size was compared with BankAmericard, maybe all four of them equalled it. I don't know.

All right. For two hours, I'll never forget, we just went back and forth, back and forth. "I've gotta have these men." And John listened to me shout and scream. And he realized that I really was serious. I gotta have these men. How could we have a card without Richard Rosenberg and George whateverhisnamewas'shit. Isn't that awful? (He still can't remember the last name.) He was a good friend of mine. (Lisl comes in.)

So he leaned back after two hours of screaming back and forth, or I screamed, he was very quiet. By the way, John Austin's shoes were cracked. He looked very old to me. How old was I? I guess I was not quite 50 then. I guess. Forty-six or so. And John to me was an old man. He must have been in his mid-60s. And I just loved it. He came to work with old, uncreased pants and shoes, brown shoes, that had cracks in them. Old shoes. I loved that. (Comments to Lisl.)

Anyway, he (John Austin) leaned back and, "All right," he said. "I can see that you're serious. That you've got to have these four men. But they can't be a marketing committee." He said, "I'll tell you what. We'll call it the planning committee. No one has gone to jail yet for planning. Let's see how that flies."

"So what about my conference reports?" He said, "You call everybody up and have them destroyed. Right now. Go and reissue it as Conference Report No. 1 of the Planning Committee."

Okay. That was done. And from there on, they were the planning committee.

All right. There were just a thousand details to work out. Point of sale. And so on. Advertising. But the next problem now was to get a name. So what the agency did. Foote Cone & Belding. Don't laugh. It's kind of funny, but that's what we did. We gave a $25 prize to anybody in the company who submitted a winning name. So everyone in the place submitted names. And I gave one to my secretary to give. I wrote Mastercharge. But there were four other Mastercharge persons too. A lot of people had them, the same name. There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of names and five of them had Mastercharge. So then they put it in a hat and drew out whoever of the five who took that name. Because we took the name. And my secretary, Vanessa Whitam, who is now Mrs. David Brooksbank of England. She won the $25, which made her very happy because now she could go skiing.

This was along toward, along towards November. Now we all felt that was the best name but you have to go through a routine with banks, with clients. And you have to have some kind of authoritative proof that your name is best. So you do a research job. And somebody sent out a research thing with five or six names. And, sure enough, it came back that the public out there'whether it was true or not I have no idea. I hoped to God. As long as it came back Mastercharge, I didn't care if it was true or false. But it came back Mastercharge. The second choice was Mastercard.

Now came the question of a design. Foote, Cone & Belding had maybe, I don't know, half a dozen artists. And they had a retired art director who was a great man. Again, I'm sorry. His name escapes me. If you call Jack Weiss. [I think he means Elmer.] You leave me your number and I'll get you his name. He played a key role here. He wasn't with the agency anymore. He was retired. But they brought him in to supervise the design situation and so finally there came the day that the artists presented their designs to him and the two or three of us who were concerned were in the conference room with a great big table and there were literally hundreds of designs on the table. And I sat across from him and he went through this and that and the other thing and talked to the artists and finally narrowed it down to two or three designs.

And he started to pick one which was, from my point of view, wrong. It had a lot of straight lines in it. And I said to him, I almost got his name, I said, "This card is going to have to be a success with women." And he picked the two balls, instantly, of the group on the table.

But he said, "The colors are wrong. The shape is correct. It's a shape that will appeal to women. But the colors are wrong."

So now they went back. Oh, by the way, that design was by Bruce Wilt. Isn't it funny that I can remember some names? But Bruce Wilt was a great artist, is a great artist. He left the agency business not long after and he lives up in Lake Tahoe. The North Tahoe area. And he's an artist. He makes a living as an artist. I mean, a fine artist. Bruce Wilt.

Now they all went back and tried to get the right colors. And the colors that came out, if you look at them, they're identical with BankAmericard really. It's ocher and red. There was no design (to copy BofA) in that. That was just the two colors that came out best together.

All right. So now we had a label and now we had a name and now came the problem of presenting it to our client, to the four banks, and also to a, the research company. They had a representative there, the man I told you about, the computer fella, before. And the date I'll never forget because the little speech I wrote was based on that date. That was, that morning George Schultz (the Peanuts cartoonist) had his annual Beethoven cartoon. December 16th. And the, Linus does the Beethoven routine. And so I started off the talk that on December 16th a new thing is being born in the world and so on. And I don't know if Schultz still does (that). Look for it December 16th. In a couple of weeks.

Anyway, so I made this speech and'oh, the chairman of the board of Foote, Cone & Belding was there and, after, he told me, "That was an absolutely perfect speech." Okay.

But nothing is perfect in this world because this computer guy stands up and says, "Well, I'm sure that Mastercharge is a good name. I'm sure you've done a lot of work. But, this is a California card and it seemed to us in the"'whatever the hell the name of their company was'"that your card should build upon that California image."

I almost died. The first thing we had done in the agency was reject having anything to do with California. We wanted a ubiquitous name. We didn't have any purpose in mind but tying it down to California when BankAmericard was free anywhere.


So I, I just, I pissed all over him, frankly. I just leveled him. And as far as I'm concerned the issue was closed.

The next morning Jack Elmer phones me and he says, "Well, you know, Bob, we're paying an awful lot of money to these people. They are our consultants giving us advice in this field." And I said, "Jack, you can't be serious." He says, "Well, Bob, they all heard it. They believe a California name is appropriate." And I said, "I'll take care of it, Jack."

So we put together another research proposal. This time Mastercharge against two or three California names. The California card. That sort of thing. And, believe me, it was, Mastercharge was a hands-down winner. How did it happen? I never asked. It was just the winner.

And I called Jack Elmer up and here are the results, Jack. Mastercharge is a head-and-tail winner over California card.

So. We had our first presentation of the card and the name to the other banks.

Now I say "other banks."

While these four banks were running things, sixty other banks in California insisted on joining. And they had to have a representative on the marketing committee. And they had a bank, the one fella up there in Napa, his exact name I don't remember, but a very nice fella, he came down and he was the representative of all the sixty other banks.

So we had this auditorium somewhere downtown. Big auditorium. And the presentation was made and everyone was very pleased and all that, and the next day, or very shortly after, Jack calls me, Jack Elmer, called me and said, "Bob, we've got a problem." I say, "What's the problem, Jack?" He said, "The Nevada banks have appeared on our doorstep and they want in." "And what did you say, Jack?" "I said I turned them down." "And what did they say?" "They said, "If you turn us down, we'll sue you for millions of dollars.'" I said, "Now, what did you do?" He says, "They're in." (laughs)

Okay. Shortly afterwards, he calls me up and says, "I've got a problem, Bob." "What's the problem, Jack?"

"When you did your search'" See, once you get the name Mastercharge, we had to search all the United States to see if anybody else had that name. You know, you have to do that sort of thing. And so what you do normally, you do the top forty cities in the country. At that time, Louisville was the 41st city. Louisville was not on our list to be checked. And guess what the credit card for the bank in Louisville is named. Mastercharge. (laughs)

And, boy, did they put the screws to us. What we did to pay 'em off, I don't know, but they were paid off. By that time we were just too far gone. We just couldn't. You'll have to ask Jack Elmer. He can tell you. If he's still alive.

Okay. So we solved that problem.

Now we are in January. And he calls me up. Elmer calls me up and says, "Bob, we have another problem." And I say, "What's the problem?" He says, "Marine Midland Bank in New York is talking to us about becoming part of Mastercharge."

And I said, "That won't be any problem, Jack, because we have the Interbank on the card." When the Nevada banks came in, it was obvious we had to do something that had some symbol for a national or at least a Western coverage.

By the way, we changed our name from California Bank Card Association to Western States Bank Card Association because the Nevada banks and I guess, shortly after, the Oregon banks and the rest of them, they all joined us.

And I said, "No problem." And he said, "Well, there is a problem because they have their own card, Bob, and they think they are going to lose their identity."

Now my memory is vague here. I think the Interbank symbol, that little 'i' on the card, I don't know if it's still there now, that little 'i' we put on it was, I think originally, was their contribution to it. Their own card. They had an Interbank card on there. (General pulling out of cards from wallets. The 'i' is gone.) All the original cards had that 'i'. We were called "Mastercharge, the Interbank card."

He said, "No, they have a lot of objections to our card and our plan and our program and so on."

I said, "Well, that's too bad, Jack. Why are you calling me?" "Well, I want you to go back there and straighten them out."

I said, "Buffalo?"

And he said, "Yes!" And I said, "All right, I'll be on my way tomorrow." It was about January 15th. Christ. And all I had was a little, light California topcoat. (Describes the scene.)

When I finally got into the bank, I was a piece of ice. It was cold.

So I go up, It's not Heintz, it's Heinke (HEIN-key) Karl (or Carl) Heinke. God, I hope I got his name right. And he was, as I got to know him later on, a marvelous man. I love Karl Heinke. But let me tell you, he was as frosty inside as the weather was outside. He was really cold.

And I kept, I would talk and I would talk. And he and his colleague sitting to my left over there stared at me like I was a fish in the ocean. And I thought, "What's the matter with these guys?"

I couldn't say anything to warm them up. And finally, it suddenly dawned on me. I said, "Wait a minute, Mr. Heinke. Aren't you the man that called on Vern Richards at Bank of America that day and he threw you out?"

And he jumped around that table and sat on the table, he was a little man, and said, "Let me tell you about that." (laughs)

And the ice was broken. And then went on, when I met you, when I brought it up, I said, "we at the agency even heard about that, Mr. Heinke, and we were so shocked. It was such a terrible thing. I worked for BankAmericard then. And we just couldn't imagine anyone being so crude and so rude." And that's when he said, "Let me tell about it."

And he (Heinke) said (to Vern Richards), "Without any hesitation we would like Marine Midland to become part of the BankAmericard system and Vern Richards said this and that and he threw us out."

And he (Heinke) said, "We reeled, we reeled out to the street. And we stood there, looking around Montgomery Street." And his associate, whose name I forget, said, "Carl," (he) said, "I heard a rumor that Wells Fargo is thinking of having a credit card. Let's go talk to them." So they went up to the 20th floor of Wells Fargo and they talked to Jack Elmer and he said, "Of course we want you in. We want everybody in."

Jack didn't know what he was talking about.

We were the California bank card, you know. But he wasn't going to throw them out on the street. We had no card, no name, no nothing at that point. He wasn't going to throw them out on the street.

It's very easy to promise something when you haven't done anything.

So from there on the ice was broken. We could keep the 'i' on the card. Yeah, that was Marine Midland's contribution. I'm pretty sure that was it. I said, "We'll guarantee, we'll keep that 'i' on the card. You'll have your identity," and so on.

So they formed an Eastern States Bank Card Association with Marine Midland, Grace in New York City, the Chemical Bank, Manufacturer's Hanover, it was First National City? No, they weren't in right at the start. They came in later. There's one more bank whose name I forget. But those three were the prime ones, especially Chemical and Manufacturer's.

Ed Bontems was the Jack Elmer of that operation. Ed, by the way, died after a few months into the plan. He went to dinner and he got fish in his throat and he died. Bing. He was in the prime of life. B-O-T-E-M-S. He'd been in California. And then they made him president of Eastern States.

So I had'just to give you a contrast'I had my first meeting with the four banks at the Foote, Cone office. They came in. And my associate, who was their consultant, Pennyman. Caleb Pennyman. C-A-L-E-B Pennyman. He's still alive. He's in Essex, Connecticut. You can reach him on the phone.

And when I arrived at the conference room, Caleb was standing there and the four bankers were standing there and they hadn't gone in. And I pulled Caleb (aside) and said, "What the shit's going on? Why don't they go in?"

He says, "None of them wants to be the first one to step in." (laughs) I said, "What are you talking about?" He says, "Well, these bankers don't like each other."

They hated each other. This was not California. This was a new world to me. So I said, "Gentlemen, follow me." And we all trooped in and we sat around the table. And I thought, "Oh, boy, we've got to solve this problem in a hurry."

So I said, "Gentlemen, there are four of you and so I recommend that rather than having one chairman for all time, we have a revolving chairmanship, each of you for one month." They all beamed and smiled and from that time on, they did work together. (laughs) Oh God. It's like having children.

Anyway, so back to California. We now had Western States Bank Card, we had our own card. We had 60 banks in California.

Now came the problem, from here on in, as far as we were concerned in the agency, it was an advertising/marketing problem. As far as the banks were concerned, each one was out there in the field now signing up merchants. And here they were competitive. You had Wells Fargo walking down the street and you had Crocker walking down the street. And you'd have a retail store and each one would go in and try to sign them up.

But it wasn't that difficult. Because, again, at the start, they went to their own customers. If this retail store worked with Crocker, Crocker would of course get it for Mastercharge. Okay?

And then they also had a competitive area there too and this they had to be competitive on. Although, how competitive? The banks will never tell you. And God knows, I didn't know.

They could offer the merchants different discount rates, uh, different percentage rates. I think it was usually around 3 percent, but I don't know. Three percent of sales went to the bank. But that's a guess. I think it was somewhere in that area. A bank at the "get" could have offered 2 percent, but they didn't. I don't think they did at this time.

I think that'it was very obvious to them that they weren't going to make money for a very long time, oh boy. So everybody they could get was important.

So they had to buy point-of-sales to go up in all these. In our marketing group there, we said to them, "We will have to have a common point-of-sale, obviously, a common Mastercharge design." And they said, "Well, we're not set up to do that. It's all new to us."

And I said, "Well, what do you propose then?" "Oh, very simple. You do it." (laughs) I said, "What, Foote, Cone & Belding make your point-of-sale?" They said, "Yes."

So, without consulting anyone at Foote, Cone & Belding, I wasn't really smart as far as agency operations went. I spent $4,000 of the agency's money without asking anybody. And then I billed, when it came in, like a sign to go on the window, they would buy 5,000 of them, and I would bill them. So I got the money back. But I became a bookkeeper, for God's sake. Keeping track of all this point-of-sale.

But I didn't make any money on it. I'm not a bookkeeper. And I didn't price it right. I should have charged them for the work that I did. But I didn't as far as I know.

Anyway, so they got their point-of-sale.

Now came the question of the, what will be the advertising campaign?

There was a girl in the agency, whose name I forget, she came up with the idea of the 60 bankers.

Now, the first commercials that we made,TV commercials, they had an elevator. For instance, one of them would have an elevator open and out would march, out of the little elevator, would march 60 bankers. And they had a nice song that went with it, a really good tune. (Hums the tune.)

Anyway, so we had this. So the commercials were made and, of course they were expensive with 60 guys walking out of the elevator and you had to pay union rates to them.

Marching to the Western States Bank Card, you know. I mean Mastercharge.

We had newspaper and outdoor and I forget what the copy line was. It was very simple. It was almost entirely vertical. If there was a picture, I don't recall it. I don't recall if we had radio spots or not. I think I was pretty much by this time a TV advocate.

So, with the 60 bankers there was a problem. Because a group that promptly sued the banks to get paid not extras' scale but actors' scale. Because as they came out of the elevator, the camera focused full-face on them. They were just extras dressed nice. You know. But they wanted to be paid as actors because the camera hit them full on, see? Not from the side.

And I couldn't believe it. I was curious this time. So this time I flew down to Los Angeles and I sat in on the, we had, we don't call them arbitrators, when you get a guy who has the, the "gyps", you know he's an arbitrator, something like that. There's a legal name for it.

Anyway, he was a judge or a professor or somebody.

For the first time I was exposed to how the law approaches these problems. And not one of them gave a single hoot about what actually took place in that commercial.

I was there and I talked to my people and I said, "What the blazes is going on here? Why doesn't somebody show the spot and make clear they are not actors?" And they said, "Bob, quiet down. Just keep quiet." (laughs)

Because all they'd talk about were contracts going back 15 or 20 years. And they had all these documents and they'd read clauses off. And it was all clauses back and forth. Nothing to do with the spot. We lost it too. The contracts were very clear. We had to pay all those that the camera hit head on. They had to be paid actors' wages, not extras' wages, which wasn't all that much more but it was more.

What else? Sales went well. Everything went well. We got bank card associations in the Midwest out of Omaha. I handled that account too.

Q: A concept whose time had come and it was well organized?

That's right.

BankAmericard, just before I left them, they had gone national too, you see. They had colleague banks around the country.

I'll never forget that meeting. The banker from Boston, a really funny man, and to,the people would stand up and they'd ask our people questions, the BankAmericard people, questions. They would all look at each other and somebody would say something. And this guy on my right said, "Boy, you're a walking instant policy in operation." They had no idea what they were doing. But they did something.

Anyway, that was quite a story, too. BankAmericard. It's just as fascinating, or even more so, than this one.

What else?

That's about it. Now the plan was launched and things were going. And that's all there is to it.

I remained until 1970. This was 1966 when it started. And, again, the phone rang and I said, "Sure, I'll go." Honig Cooper. To work on BankAmericard, oh, pardon me, to work on Bank of California.

Q: B of A dislike the competition?

Liking or disliking was not the issue. But if there'd been anything at all in that line, I think they would have approved, deeply, because then, again, it takes the curse of collusion off them, too. They've got a competitor now. See, they are working with all their banks, all over the country. Bank of America works in California in those days. First National City works in New York City and it wasn't even allowed to go upstate, even. And Chicago and Illinois, the banks all work in local cities. They're allowed to have one branch, you know. So BankAmericard now had a legitimate reason to unite to compete. Which they did, very well.

Here and then in (Hawaii?) too. Went on to Europe.

It was kind of fun. I enjoyed it.

(Interview winds down. Small talk.)

If Jack Elmer is still alove'. (He calls 707 information. Gets a number. Tries it.) 707-963-2329. Christ, he must be 90 years old. J. O. Elmer in St. Helena.

That fellow Haley interviewed Jack when he wrote a book about BankAmericard. (He calls the J. O. Elmer number.)

No answer. The phone does ring.

Jack is the real authority on this thing.

I almost got George's name. It starts with a 'B'. Briggs! George Briggs. He would know. If you can't talk to Jack Elmer, (talk to) George. Here's the address. That's what it was years ago. He's with a bank up there somewhere. He's smart. He's a wonderful man. (Old address is 2123 38th Ave. East, Seattle, WA 98102.)

Arthur Hailey wrote this book on the California banking industry. A novel. (I'm not sure he has the right name and I'm not sure it's a novel.)

And in it he has a lot of stuff that's pertinent to Mastercharge. And Jack Elmer, when I talked to him one day, said to me, "You know, this fellow Hailey knew more about it than I did. I read something in the book and I called him up and I said, "That's all wrong, Arthur''. Hailey lives up in Napa too, and he said, "You don't know what you're talking about Jack. This is what you fellows did. Bang, bang, bang, bang.'" So Hailey, whatever he has in that book, is correct.



Footman then remembers a Briggs story.

I had my first Southern California meeting and that's where I really confronted George Briggs. I may have met him up here before, I don't recall. I certainly recall that meeting.

We sat around a big table. And he was awful to me. He just gave me a going over. So we walked to lunch.

And I said, "George, what in the Christ was all that about? Why did you jump all over me?" (laughs)

And he says, "Bob, you're so God-damned smug, I wanted to see if I could break you down.




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