Cawley was the first person to realize the commercial potential of issuing credit cards in the name of sports teams, charities, trade unions, schools and universities and founded MBNA in 1982.
Accordingly, “affinity cards” issued by Cawley’s company, MBNA, have been used by nearly 30 British football clubs and the proceeds from a small portion of each interest payment have led to millions of pounds being donated to youth development in the British game. Supporters of the British Heart Foundation, the RSPCA, Mencap and Great Ormond Street Hospital as well as schools and universities have also helped MBNA on the way to enlisting 50 million customers, who have borrowed $120 billion. Cawley started in the business when he joined the credit card arm of the Maryland National Bank in Baltimore in 1972. True to the character of a man who would later name his luxury yacht Impatience.