Making an unusually early report of fourth-quarter earnings, the credit card issuer MBNA Corp. said Monday that its net income rose 27%, to $238.3 million.

A week ahead of when the biggest bank holding companies are expected to begin their earnings announcements, MBNA sought to call attention to its healthy growth and bottom line just days after credit analysts raised doubts about its financing of a credit card portfolio purchase from PNC Bank Corp.

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