PORTLAND, Ore. — Any doom and gloom predictions about credit unions not having the ability to compete in the credit card market aren't looking so good right now.

First quarter 2007 data show credit union card portfolios are growing about twice as fast as the market as a whole. "There was a period of time when big issuers were getting ahead of credit unions with rewards, and features that credit unions were not matching. In the last few years, credit unions have been adding those features and are matching the big issuers," said Frank Selker, president of AssetExchange, a card portfolio advisory and brokerage firm.

Analysis by AssetExchange of portfolios of $1 million and larger in the first quarter show the average balance per account has grown nearly 10% to $2,200 from March 2006 to March 2007. Total card assets increased from $22.4 billion to $25.3 billion during the same period.

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