Citigroup Inc. may not just want out of Visa. It may eventually want to escape any kind of association entanglement in order to call its own shots as a proprietary card issuer a la American Express or Discover.

It is pure speculation at this point, but people in the credit card and transaction processing businesses find this idea plausible. Some were saying so even before the Feb. 5 resignations of Citigroup co-chairman John Reed and consumer banking co-chief Robert Lipp from the Visa U.S.A. board.

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