The profitability of credit cards fell in 1996 for the second year in a row, but they remain one of banking's most attractive lines of business.

R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers, in its annual card industry survey, pegged the business' 1996 return on average assets at 3.3%. That was down from 3.6% in 1995 and 3.9% in 1994 but equaled the 1993 reading.

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