THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Credit union sales of credit card portfolios soared to $33.1 million and 37 deals last year - with another $6 million in deals pending - from just $5.3 million and 10 transactions in 2011, according to a new report by card consultants R.K. Hammer.

R.K. Hammer indicated a variety of factors caused the surge in deals. First, the effects of a limping economy between 2008 and 2011 and a modest recovery are finally working through the system. Second, the impact of recent credit/debit legislation has been a hit to those who used to buy lots of credit card portfolios, bringing a new chance for smaller regionals to fill in the gap and buy.

Third, significantly rising sale premium prices during 2012 have increased the number of potential sellers. Fourth, card ROA earnings continued to improve, which has brought back many previously sitting on the sidelines back into the market, with better selling conditions, again leading to better prices.

The result, according to Hammer, has been more card buyers willing to return to the market actively looking for good deals and more sellers wanting to get better prices.

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