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PORTLAND, Ore. – Approximately 65 credit unions in the U.S. sold their credit card portfolios worth over $1 million and entered into agent relationships with the purchasers, according to Asset Exchange, a leading independent broker of credit union card portfolios. An analysis of NCUA’s end of year data showed that the portfolios were worth $475 million. Brookwood Capital, another portfolio broker headquartered in Peterborough, New Hampshire, showed similar numbers. Brookwood reported that 67 portfolios sold and that these were worth $459 million. According to Brookwood’s figures, 2004 represented the third year in a row of increasing portfolios sales, with 41 portfolios sold in 2002 and 59 in 2003. Interestingly, Brookwood also tracked average portfolio size among portfolios sold and that number has dropped from $7.0 million in 2002 top $6.9 million in 2004. Asset Exchange’s numbers continued to show overall poor showing from CU card portfolios, but with some bright spots as well. While card penetration, for example, among credit union members slid from 19% in December 2003 to 18.4% in December 2004, the slide was only 0.1% below the 18.5% in the third quarter, indicating that card penetration may have stabilized or be on the uptick. Overall total card assets grew only slightly over the year, from 21.1 billion in 2003 to $22.0 billion in 2004 and the percentage of credit card assets in the overall mix of total credit union assets also fell, the broker reported, from $4.29% in 2003 to 4.22% in 2004. Roughly 46% of credit unions saw growth in their credit union card portfolios in 2004, the broker reported. -

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