Leading credit card issuers reducing outstandings

Coverage of 3Q09 results from the leading U.S. credit card issuers focused–not surprisingly–on trends in their charge-off and delinquency rates, but many of these issuers have been significantly reducing outstandings in recent quarters. This is due to reduced acquisition activity, as well as charge offs.  The following is a list of end-3Q09 managed outstandings for the leading issuers, along with q/q and y/y changes:

  • Chase: $165.2 billion in EOP managed outstandings; down 4% q/q; down 11% y/y
  • Bank of America: $164.5 billion; down 3% q/q; down 10% y/y
  • Citi (Citi-Branded Cards in North America): $83.7 billion; up 2% q/q; down 1% y/y
  • Capital One (domestic credit card): $61.9 billion; down 4% q/q; down 11% y/y
  • American Express (U.S. Card): $51.9 billion; down 4% q/q; down 19% y/y
  • Discover (U.S. Card): $48.1 billion; down 2% q/q; down 2% y/y

And this reduction in outstandings should continue for the next few quarters, as issuers continue to pull back on acquisition activity, charge-offs remain high, and new credit card legislation comes into force.

However, it is worth noting that some of the second-tier bank card issuers, who are focused mainly on cross-selling existing bank customers, have grown outstandings:

  • Wells Fargo: $23.1 billion; up 2% q/q; up 16% q/q
  • U.S. Bank: $16.1 billion; up 10% q/q; up 31% y/y (in part due to an acquisition of card portfolios from Bank of America)
  • PNC: $4.1 billion; up 3% q/q
  • Fifth Third: $2.0 billion; up 3% q/q; up 17% y/y