Credit

In Search of a Profit: 2020 Credit Card Return on Assets Slipped During COVID but Remain Strong


With revenue streams coming from fees, interchange, and interest, credit cards generate returns significantly higher than retail banking when measured by return on assets (ROA). In 2020, credit card issuers returned a 2.40% ROA, significantly below the 4.14% achieved in 2019. However, even with the card industry adapting to a substantially more conservative loan loss provision, the global pandemic, and a shift in consumer borrowing, it still performed at almost 300% of the level reported for all commercial banks, which delivered a 0.88% ROA, according to the Federal Reserve Bank’s 2021 Report to Congress on the Profitability of Credit Card Operations of Depository Institutions.

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