* 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 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
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'
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.