Credit card issuers are taking unusual steps to protect their securitization vehicles as surging unemployment continues to hurt credit performance and a government program has reopened the asset-backed market to new issuance.

This month Bank of America Corp. issued to itself a class of securities, equal to 8% of its outstanding bonds, that will receive no interest payments and absorb losses ahead of all other investors. The new notes are backed by a like amount of receivables that were not serving as collateral for the previously outstanding bonds. Citigroup Inc. said this month that it would create a similar, though smaller, buffer.

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