Lending growth is coming back at Back of America (BAC +0.7%) where the credit card portfolio - typically shrinking since the financial bust - grew in Q3. Don't look for the unit to return to pre-crisis size anytime soon though, as the bank has made a strategic choice to focus lending on existing customers - this saves money on marketing and assures BofA knows a little bit more about who it's doing business with. "The card business will be smaller, but less volatile and more profitable," says Titi Cole, a senior exec for retail products.
Even by focusing on its own customers, CEO Brian Moynihan reminds the opportunity is huge ... "tens of millions of customers," he told a conference late last year. The bank issued 1M new credit cards in Q3 and Q4 issuance is expected to be strong as well.