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A Thing The Chase is On Once Again
The Chase is On Once Again


It's official: Chase Manhattan Corp., is in the market for credit card portfolios.

A year ago, the fourth-largest bank card issuer declared an interest in becoming number one among Visa and MasterCard lenders, a move that would require it to more than double its managed loans.

But in the months that followed, it made no visible move to achieve that goal. Instead, its executives say, Chase worked on getting ready to bulk up by hiring risk managers, improving customer service, and adding predictive models and other technological pizzazz.

"The aspiration [to be number one] remains," said Michael Urkowitz, executive vice president and head of card member services. "Expectations are there will be an even smaller number of remaining issuers in five years and we intend to be one of the dominant ones. We are back in the hunt for the next portfolio acquisitions."

Some longtime card issuers have left the field, daunted by the enormous scale that the largest issuers are accumulating. Chase's $34 billion of receivables is about half that of Citigroup, Inc., or the First USA division of Bank One Corp. MBNA Corp., at $67 billion, stands between Chase and the two leaders.