First Bank System Inc.'s agreement to buy U.S. Bancorp wouldn't substantially increase its credit card business right away, but there is opportunity for growth.

U.S. Bancorp, Portland, Ore., which issues only Visa cards, is the nation's 49th-largest bank card issuer, while Minneapolis-based First Bank ranks 20th, according to The Nilson Report. If the $8.4 billion deal announced last week is consummated, the combined portfolio would rank 17th, with $5.5 billion in outstandings and two billion accounts, according to Nilson.

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