First Bank System to Buy Card Accounts

MINNEAPOLIS - First Bank System Inc. said Tuesday it will purchase $200 million to $300 million in credit card receivables from Chevy Chase Savings Bank, Chevy Chase, Md.

The Minneapolis banking giant said it is paying a premium of about 11%, or up to $33 million, for the business. The receivables represent about 125,000 accounts, primarily in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.

With the addition, First Bank's card accounts will climb to about 1.5 million and $1.3 billion in outstandings. That would put it within the top 25 companies in the bank card business at yearend.

"This portfolio fits our geographic profile and builds market share for First Banks," said John F. Grundhofer, chairman, chief executive officer, and president.

Earlier this year, First Bank acquired about $110 million in receivables from First Interstate Bancorp's referral card program.

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