First Premier Bank

First Premier Bank, headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the 13th largest issuer of MasterCard brand credit cards in the United States.[citation needed] The bank is known for specializing in a wide range of subprime credit cards that are marketed to individuals with low credit scores.

First Premier Bank
TypePrivate company
FounderThomas Denny Sanford
HeadquartersSioux Falls, South Dakota
Key people
Miles Beacom (CEO)
RevenueUS$ 87.65 million (2016)
US$ 24.95 million (2016)
Total assetsUS$ 1.551 billion (2017)
Number of employees
ParentUnited National Corporation


The bank was founded in 1986 and is owned and controlled by T. Denny Sanford.[1][2] The typical First Premier Bank MasterCard user uses the card for about 18 months before moving to another card with better terms; Sanford described the company as offering a "lifeline" for those with poor credit.[3]

In 2007, the bank settled a case with the New York Attorney General who claimed the bank used deceptive practices to market its credit cards. The bank paid $4.5 million as part of the deal.[2]

As of December 2010, Premier Bank was reportedly offering a credit card with a 79.9% interest rate and a $300 limit. This was cited by Senator Bernie Sanders as an example of what he called "extortion and loan sharking".[4]

In 2014 it was announced that First Premier Bank sued for allowing customers to view rates and terms and also letting users review the card.[5]

First Premier Bank's CEO, Dana J. Dykhouse, was referenced in a 2014 piece in the Argus Leader as belonging to a group of would-be local benefactors who the author wrote, "should quit gouging poor people who can't make it from paycheck to paycheck, or don't qualify for regular credit cards. ... Loan sharks who charge an obscene profit just because they can don't make good community leaders."[6]


In April 2018, John Kiernan of WalletHub, a personal finance website, ranked the First Premier Bank MasterCard poorly (1 stars out of 5). He wrote that the card had excessive fees, low credit limit and a high annual percentage rate that made it a bad choice for most users.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Faturechi, Robert; Arnsdorf, Isaac (August 28, 2020). "Billionaire T. Denny Sanford Was Under Investigation for Child Pornography". ProPublica. Archived from the original on August 31, 2020. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Shenon, Philip (2010-10-19). "America's Worst Credit Card: First Premier Bank's Dubious Distinction". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 2020-09-02. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  3. ^ Whelan, David (September 22, 2007). "Dying Broke". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 8, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  4. ^ Archived 2010-12-14 at the Wayback Machine Senator Bernie Sanders Speech 3:01:10
  5. ^ "Card comparison site gets sued for showing rates, fees". Archived from the original on 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  6. ^ Nipe, Sue (18 December 2014). "Letter: Community benefactors reap profits from poor". Argus Leader. Archived from the original on 2 September 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2016.

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