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PORTLAND, Ore. – Credit union credit card portfolios increased in value over last year and increased as a percentage of credit unions’ overall assets, according to an analysis of NCUA’s third quarter data performed by Asset Exchange, a leading broker of credit union card portfolios. The analysis showed that while the overall penetration of credit cards among credit union members continued to decline (18.8% in Sept. 2004 compared to 18.1% in Sept. 2005), total card assets matched the 3% growth over last year seen in previous quarters. Total card assets in Sept. 2004 stood at $20.6 billion and $21.8 billion in Sept. 2005. Credit card penetration generally lags credit union membership because cards are generally not among the first CU products that new members start to use. Card assets stood at 4.05% of overall CU assets in Sept. 2004 and had increased to 4.09% in Sept. 2005, the data showed. The data also showed that the number of credit union card portfolios which grew faster than the rate of inflation stood at 51% as of Sept. 2005, up from 43% one year earlier. Asset Exchange’s analysis also showed that the pace of credit unions selling their credit card portfolios appears to have firmed up and may be poised to match or surpass the pace of 2004 sales. An analysis of NCUA’s third-quarter data showed that approximately 11 credit unions with card portfolios worth more than $1 million sold their portfolios in the quarter, bringing the total to 50 for the year or about 10% above where the sales had been in 2004 at the same time. But while the number of portfolios sold firmed, the total value of the portfolios sold still trailed last year, the broker said. Through the third-quarter, $330 million in credit card portfolios sold versus $400 million as of the third quarter of last year. Brookwood Capital, another credit union card brokerage headquartered in Peterborough, New Hampshire, had similar findings. Brookwood’s analysis found that 49 credit unions sold their portfolios as of Sept. 30, compared to 66 for all of last year and that the total value of the portfolios purchased was $348 million as of the end of the quarter. However, Brookwood’s analysis also added some data about how the different card portfolio buyers are performing. Brookwood found that MBNA’s purchase of a $35 million portfolio meant that the monoline card bank, on its way to being merged with Bank of America, had the largest single portfolio purchase in the quarter. Elan Financial Services followed with six purchases totaling $26 million and InfiCorp came in with three purchases totaling $14 million. InfiCorp leads the year in volume however, Brookwood reported, coming in at $100 million with MBNA close in second place. [email protected]

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