Advanta Corporation


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Advanta (TSO Financial until 1988) was an American banking company. It controlled two banks, Advanta Bank Corp and Advanta National Bank. (It is not associated with Advanta Energy Corp., a California energy consultancy.) Advanta began in 1951 as a provider of personal loans to schoolteachers. In 1971, when the current CEO, Dennis Alter, took over the company from his father, it had 30 employees. It served mostly teachers and was licensed only in Pennsylvania, Florida and Delaware. It only provided fixed-payment loans; it did not own any banks nor was it involved in the mortgage or financing business. In the early 1990s, when its assets were at an all-time high of $25 billion, the firm had the sixth-largest consumer credit card business in the United States, with seven million credit card holders. In 1999, the company sold this part of its business, including and related assets, focusing instead on the small business market.