ARLINGTON, Va. — As credit unions have continued to manage their card portfolios to better profitability, the sales of those portfolios have sharply dropped from last year according to analysis of NCUA data.

While card portfolio consultants and analysts cautioned that three months worth of data alone cannot qualify as a trend, they acknowledged that CU card portfolio picture from the first quarter of 2008 is almost a complete reversal of the same picture from 2003. Then, as CU card performance struggled, CU card portfolio sales moved at a fast clip.

According to the agency data, only 10 credit unions with card portfolio balances of over $1 million sold their portfolios in the first quarter of 2008, for balances worth roughly $60 million. This is down 40% from the first quarter of last year when NCUA data showed 17 CU card portfolios sold with balances worth roughly $107 million, according to records kept by noted CU card portfolio firm Asset Exchange.

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