U.S. Bancorp Fattens Up On CUCards

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MINNEAPOLIS - (03/07/06) -- U.S. Bancorp said last week its ElanFinancial Services unit purchased 35 credit union credit cardportfolios with a total of $138 million in receivables, putting itamong the leading managers of credit union portfolios. Theportfolios ranged in size from under $1 million assets to up to $11million assets. Elan was particularly active in the fourth quarterwhen it purchased 18 credit union card portfolios. Elan says the2005 results reflect a trend toward credit unions outsourcing theircard programs. In 1999, for example, eight credit unions sold cardportfolios that had total receivables of $92 million. Last year, 64credit unions sold card portfolios with $466 million inreceivables, according to NCUA. So far this year, Elan has acquiredfour portfolios including the $24 million portfolio of HarborstoneCU in Lakewood, Wa. After buying a credit union's portfolio, Elanissues cards in the credit union's name, markets the cards,approves card applications, and performs all back-officefunctions.

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