The Premier Credit Card - History of First PREMIER Bank and T. Denny Sanford

T. Denny Sanford founded First PREMIER Bank in 1986 and is currently the sole owner and chairman of the company.  As a young boy growing up in the wake of the Depression, his family instilled in him the importance of hard work and persistence. In fact, Sanford began stocking shelves each summer at his father’s garment shop when he was eight years old. 

Sanford’s Young Life Leads to First PREMIER Bank

Sanford continued working for his father’s business throughout his youth and college years at the University of Minnesota, where he went on to graduate with a BA in Psychology. Upon graduation, Sanford pursued a career in sales and marketing while employed with the Armstrong Cork Company.  Sanford left the Armstrong Cork Company in 1960 to found Contech, a business which promoted technical products by way of engineers and architects.  

This company quickly grew from a relatively small operation to a nationally successful business. Throughout the years he acquired other businesses and later sold Contech for $28 million. In 1986, Sanford purchased the United National Bank in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This bank eventually became First Premier Bank. 

Sanford - Businessman and Philanthropist

Besides being a successful businessman, Denny Sanford is an active philanthropist. In 1998, he made a $2 million donation to the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota. Sanford later donated $15 million more, allowing more buildings to be constructed and programs to be established for South Dakota’s troubled kids. Over the years, Sanford has donated over $1 billion to Sanford Health, a group of 43 non-profit hospitals.  According to the 2018 Forbes 400 list, Sanford had given over $1.6 billion during his lifetime, which is equal to 38% of his net worth. 

PREMIER Bankcard Extends Credit to High-Risk Consumers

When South Dakota laws changed, Sanford attempted to expand First PREMIER Bank by extending credit to high-risk consumers who had been previously turned down by more traditional lenders. By 1989, Sanford’s bank started offering credit cards. Throughout the many changes, First PREMIER Bank gradually became a major player in the banking and consumer credit industry. 

Today, First PREMIER Bank services more than three million credit cardholders across the United States. Denny Sanford still serves as Chairman and sole owner of United National Corp — the holding company for First PREMIER Bank and Premier Bankcard. Today Sanford’s company is rated among the strongest and most profitable banks in the nation, with more than $1 billion in assets and zero debt.  

First PREMIER Credit Card Offers

The First PREMIER Bank Gold MasterCard is meant for consumers with low credit scores or no credit history who might not otherwise qualify for a “better” card. While the First PREMIER MasterCard can help those who need to establish credit or improve their credit score, there may be better options. The First PREMIER Bankcard Gold MasterCard has an exorbitant interest rate, at 36 percent, also including high set-up fees, annual fees, and monthly fees, as well as high credit limit increase fees. 

In fact, the interest rate on this card is so high that it violates consumer protection laws in New York and Wisconsin, making active duty military members and other consumers unable to secure the card. The card does offer credit protection for those who are hospitalized, become disabled, have to take unpaid family leave or lose their job involuntarily. There is a fee for these services though--89¢ for every $100 of the outstanding balance on your card. Although the card enjoys a good rating with the Better Business Bureau, it receives low ratings from consumers who have the card. 

As with most credit cards geared towards people with less than perfect credit, you can expect higher annual fees, in addition to set-up fees and monthly fees, so be sure to read the Premier Terms and Conditions before you apply.   

If you are interested in something other than a First PREMIER credit card, our bad credit credit cards section has offers from other issuing banks that you can check out. Prepaid debit cards are also an option for people who don't want the hassle of credit card debt and high-interest charges. 

Note: Information about these cards has been collected independently by CreditSourceOnline. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy. 

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