James Watts

Senior Manager,

Credit Card Issuing, Partnership Finance, Rewards Program Support


James Watts initially joined First Annapolis in 2006, left to pursue his MBA, and returned in 2011 to support the Card Issuing practice.  His primary areas of expertise include credit card partnerships, credit portfolio management, RFP/renewal process, and contract formation or renegotiation.  James has experience advising many of the most successful brands in the U.S. across different product types, channels, and economic/operating structures.  James’ experience spans a number of cross-functional areas at First Annapolis including mergers & acquisitions, rewards program support, and business operations & risk management.

Examples of recent assignments include advising a number of high-profile card partners and issuers on contract renewals, supporting two major retailers on private label and co-brand launch initiatives, supporting buy-side and due diligence initiatives for major credit card partnership transactions, analyzing strategic options for in-house big-ticket financing operations, and advising multiple companies on matters related to card-based rewards/loyalty programs.

In his time at First Annapolis, James has worked across multiple practice areas at First Annapolis, giving him a unique understanding of the payments value-chain.


Credit Card Issuing
Partnership Finance (Retail, T&E, Affinity, Agent, etc.)
Big-Ticket Financing
Rewards Program Support


Emory University M.B.A. with honors and American Marketing Association Award recipient
University of Maryland B.S. in finance Cum Laude

Professional Background

Joined First Annapolis in 2006

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