Mellon Bank Corp.'s plan to sell its consumer credit card portfolio raises the question: Is it worthwhile for midsize card issuers to compete against the giants?

Mellon decided the answer was no. The Pittsburgh-based bank's $1.9 billion card business-ranking 24th in the industry-was increasingly dwarfed by those of larger issuers, and the company thought it best to sell the division and pump the proceeds into stronger units.

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