UPDATE 1-RBC, Shoppers Drug Mart offer co-branded credit card

Fri Sep 7, 2012 11:52pm IST

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* RBC buys Shoppers card portfolio from Bank of America

* Financial details not disclosed

* RBC, Shoppers already offer debit cards and bank accounts

TORONTO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Canada is launching a co-branded Mastercard with Shoppers Drug Mart , and also bought the drug store company's existing Mastercard portfolio, extending a relationship that started with the launch of a co-branded debit card earlier this year.

RBC, Canada's largest bank, will buy Shoppers' card portfolio from Bank of America, the U.S. lender told Reuters.

RBC did not disclose the sale price nor the size of the credit card portfolio.

"It's not a material transaction," Linda Mantia, RBC's head of credit cards and payment solutions, told Reuters.

Bank of America, which has lagged rivals in recovering from the financial crisis, has sold more than $50 billion in assets since the beginning of 2010 in a bid to build capital and streamline the sprawling company. It sold its Canadian consumer credit card business to Toronto-Dominion Bank last year.

The Shoppers deal will increase RBC's credit card portfolio at a time Canadian banks are struggling with meager growth from their consumer lending businesses.

Profit at Shoppers, Canada's largest drug store chain, has come under pressure as a result of reforms launched by Canadian provinces that have brought down prices for generic drugs. .

The new cards will offer rewards points under Shoppers' Optimum program.

In January, the two companies teamed up to offer co-branded bank accounts and debit cards. Shoppers said at the time it would put 300 RBC bank machines in its stores.

Other Canadian banks and retailers have also partnered in the hope of expanding their markets.

Last October, Bank of Montreal and Empire Co's Sobeys supermarkets launched a co-branded debit card, while grocer Loblaw Cos has a long-standing partnership with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

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