Advanta Corp., one of the jewels of the credit card industry, may be on the block.

Faced with rising chargeoffs and consumer bankruptcies, the Spring House, Pa.-based card company said Monday it will report a loss of $20 million for the first quarter. Advanta also said it had retained merger- and-acquisition specialist BT Wolfensohn & Co. to help it explore strategic alternatives, including a joint venture or sale.

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