Citi Sells Three Card Portfolios

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Citigroup Inc. said Monday afternoon that it sold three credit card portfolios representing about $1.3 billion of managed assets from Citi Holdings, its dumping ground for unwanted assets.

The buyer was U.S. Bancorp, according to industry members with knowledge of the transaction, who identified the assets as the card portfolios for KeyCorp and Associated Banc-Corp, which Citi issues as an agent bank, and the affinity card for the American Dental Association.

But a spokeswoman for Citi, which only identified the portfolios as "North American partner credit card portfolios" in a press release, would not comment, identify the buyer, or elaborate on the release. U.S. Bancorp, Associated Bank and the American Dental Association did not return calls by press time; a spokesman for KeyCorp would not discuss the matter.

Citi identified the portfolios as "North American partner credit card portfolios" in a press release. A spokeswoman for Citi would not elaborate or identify the buyer. Terms of the deal were also not disclosed.

The New York banking company will continue to service the portfolios through the first half of 2010, "at which time the acquirer will assume all customer servicing aspects of the portfolios," the release said.

Citi has said that it is seeking to sell or wind down card portfolios, including its private-label card business, along with other assets in the Citi Holdings division. "The sale of these card portfolios is consistent with Citi's strategy to optimize the assets and businesses within Citi Holdings while working to generate long-term profitability and growth from Citicorp, which comprises its core franchise," the release said Monday.

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