Share this article

print logo


Services will be private for credit card pioneer Karl H. Hinke, the man behind the MasterCard, who died Saturday (Dec. 22, 1990) in his East Aurora home.

Hinke, 84, was the former chairman of the board of InterBank and a retired executive vice president and director of Marine Midland Banks. He had been associated with Marine for 55 years.

He is credited with launching Marine Midland into the credit card business. Today it is a large part of the business the corporation generates.

Hinke first raised the idea of financing accounts receivable and inventory for companies unable to obtain unsecured financing to Marine Midland, then the Marine Trust Co., in the late 1930s. He was a credit officer for the company, and this was the beginning of his career.

According to his wife, the former Donne Zick, Marine then sent him to Chicago to help develop this concept in bank lending. He established a department in Buffalo to handle the revolutionary financing before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1942.

Hinke served with the Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II and was a captain when he was discharged in 1945.

After the war he returned to the bank's commercial banking department in Buffalo. In 1961, he transferred to Marine Midland's holding company as a vice president and was named executive vice president a year later.

In 1965 -- when Bank of America was licensing other banks to issue its credit card, Marine was considered too large to be licensed. Hinke persuaded Marine to start a credit card association in competition with Bank of America the next year.

The trial credit card operation was started in Binghamton and spread to Jamestown, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.

The idea then was to attract other East Coast banks to join -- and Chase, Pittsburgh, National, Mellon and the Bank of Detroit were among those who did. They formed the InterBank Card Association in 1966.

By the end of 1967, there were 150 members, among them banks in the South. In time, InterBank overtook Bank of America, which consolidated its efforts and became a member of InterBank.

Hinke was made a director of Marine Midland in 1967 and, in 1969, also was made chairman of the board of the InterBank Card Association. He retired from Marine's board of directors in 1971 and was made a member of the Marine Advisory Council. He remained on the council, which is made up of former Marine directors, until he retired in 1982.

Born in Philadelphia, Hinke attended Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy and was a 1927 graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton. The college honored him with its prestigious Bell Ringer Award, for services to his community and the college, in 1980.

A member of the Buffalo Club, Hinke was the recipient of several other awards and citations. After his retirement, he enjoyed gardening at his home in East Aurora where he and his wife of 43 years lived for the past four decades.

Survivors also include a son, Frederick William of Leesburg, Va., and two grandchildren.

There are no comments - be the first to comment