GTCR Forms Credit Platform with Ex-MBNA Exec

GTCR has formed Palladian Financial Holdings, a Wilmington, Del.-based acquisition platform focused on the credit, payments and loyalty/rewards market. The firm has committed up to $300 million in equity. Palladian will be run by Michael Rhodes, former vice chairman at MBNA.


GTCR, a leading private equity firm, today announced it has entered into a partnership with Michael Rhodes to form Palladian Financial Holdings, LLC (“Palladian”). Palladian, headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, will focus on creating a leading platform to provide a variety of services related to consumer credit, payments and loyalty/rewards. GTCR plans to invest up to $300 million of equity capital to support management’s strategy. Mr. Rhodes will serve as CEO of Palladian.

Rhodes, a 15-year financial services industry veteran, was formerly Vice Chairman at MBNA, the highly successful credit card issuer built over 23 years and sold to Bank of America in 2005 for $35 billion. In his more than 11 years at MBNA, Mr. Rhodes held a variety of roles, including Chief Marketing Officer, where he managed the majority of the P&L for MBNA’s $75 billion U.S. card business.

In this role, Mr. Rhodes drove MBNA’s affinity and partner marketing strategies, which were crucial to the company’s success. He helped develop over 750 new relationships within various sectors, including financial institutions, retailers, sports, colleges and universities, professional associations and cause-related groups. He also managed credit card portfolio acquisitions totaling several billion dollars and restructured a number of arrangements with some of MBNA’s largest partners.

After the sale to Bank of America, Mr. Rhodes became CEO of MBNA Europe Bank Ltd (EBL). Under his leadership, MBNA EBL became the largest credit card issuer in Europe, with profitability doubling during his tenure.

“I believe that the current environment presents an opportune time to build a tremendous business by deploying customer-focused solutions in financial services,” Rhodes said. “I see great opportunity in everything from consumer credit to marketing services, risk management, data management & analytics and customer loyalty. GTCR has a strong legacy of building successful companies in the financial services and technology industries through acquisitions and organic growth, and I look forward to working with the firm to build a thriving new company devoted to delivering fresh, new ideas in consumer financial services.”

“Michael is an exceptional executive with a long track record of value creation in financial services, and we look forward to collaborating with him to capitalize on the opportunity created by the recent developments in the market,” said Collin Roche, a Principal at GTCR. “Our partnership with Michael reflects another example of GTCR’s strategy of identifying a highly attractive industry and then forging a partnership with an outstanding executive to build a market-leading company.”

“We believe the dislocation in the financial sector, combined with recent regulatory changes, have generated the unique opportunity to create a leading customer-friendly credit platform,” added GTCR Vice President Mike Hollander. “We anticipate partnering with a number of leading finanical institutions to enhance Palladian’s capabilities and also evaluating customer loyalty/rewards opportunities.”

About Palladian Financial

Palladian Financial, headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, is a speciality financial services company focused on the North American market. For more information about Palladian, contact Michael Rhodes at 302-421-8202 or

About GTCR

Founded in 1980, GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC is a private equity investment firm and long-term strategic partner for outstanding management teams. The Chicago-based firm pioneered the investment strategy of identifying and partnering with exceptional executives to acquire and build companies through a combination of acquisitions and strong internal growth. GTCR currently manages more than $8 billion of equity capital invested in a wide range of companies and industries. More information about GTCR can be found at