BofA to exit credit card businesses

Bank of America is to exit its international credit card businesses, starting with the sale of its Canadian business, as it seeks to bolster its capital levels and de-risk its operations.

America’s biggest bank by assets is selling its Canadian operation, an $8.6bn (£5.3bn) credit card portfolio, to TD Bank for an unspecified amount.

TD Group said it will pick up 1.8 million active card accounts from the deal and that it would pay a "modest premium" for the card receivables.

Bank of America’s remaining credit card operations, in the UK and Ireland, will also be closed but it has not yet decided whether to sell them or wind them down.

The move effectively ends Bank of America's consumer banking operations overseas.

The move is a defensive strategy to sell non-core assets as it fights legal battles and credit problems related to its ill-fated acquisition of home mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp three years ago.

BofA has has lost more than $22bn in its consumer mortgage division in the last four quarters and the charges pushed it to an $8.8bn loss in the second quarter of this year, its biggest-ever quarterly loss.

Bank of America said the deal would have a positive effect on its capital levels. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter.