NEW YORK - National Westminister Bank USA said it has purchased the credit card portfolio of a New Hampshire-based bank owned by John Hancock Financial Services.

The Bank, First Signature Bank and Trust Co. of Portsmouth, has $120 million of card loans outstanding, almost entirely in gold card accounts. The price was not disclosed.

The purchase increase National Westminister USA's card loans to more than $600 million, which would rank among the top 40 individual bank portfolios.

Hancock obtained a state charter for First Signature in 1985. It was one of several banks opened by insurers and others in the 1980s to market credit card loans.

Like Travelers Corp., Hancock is revising that strategy.

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