Sales of credit card portfolios soared to $20.8 billion in 1997 from $7.1 billion in 1996, according to R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers.

The 1997 figure does not include the $14 billion portfolio Citicorp is buying from AT&T Corp., a deal that had not closed by yearend. Nor did it include mergers of equals or whole institution purchases like Banc One Corp.'s of First USA Inc.

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