Richard Vague, co-founder of securitizing giant, First USA, secured $94 million of private equity last week for his latest venture, Juniper Financial.

Juniper, of which Vague is chief executive officer, is a full-service online retail bank, offering checking and savings accounts, loans, credit cards, CDs, online bill payment and insurance services.

Not surprisingly, the business plan mirrors First USA's, as the bulk of the company's management team is drawn from First USA's ranks.

As chairman and chief executive of First USA, Vague grew the company into the world's largest VISA credit card issuer, with 57 million credit cards issued, $70 billion in loans and more than 20,000 employees when he left to found Juniper.

Because of rapid expansion - or, as one source termed it, "growth for growth's sake" - First USA became a problem child for parent company Bank One which had acquired First USA in 1998.

Vague previously served as chairman of Paymentech, the merchant payment-processing subsidiary of First USA and is a former board member of Visa. Juniper's President, Jim Stewart, joined Vague at First USA in 1988, and most recently served as executive vice president of partnership and Internet marketing. In 1999, he spearheaded the creation of WingspanBank.com, the online subsidiary of Bank One.

Stewart served as Wingspan's CEO until December, when he joined Vague to start Juniper.

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