Target plans to grow credit card operation in state

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By Eileen Dallabrida

TD Bank plans to expand its credit card presence in Delaware, primarily its operation handling plastic for the Target big box chain. Toronto-based TD also will continue to maintain its Target operation in Minnesota, where the retailer is based, says a spokesperson at the bank’s U.S. headquarters in Cherry Hill, N.J.

No word on the timetable for expansion or how many jobs would be added in Wilmington. A few higher-level positions have shown up on job boards

As of August 2012 TD employed about 220 people in Delaware, most in New Castle County, and was the largest retail bank in the Philadelphia/Wilmington/South Jersey market with $59.8 billion in deposits.

TD Bank USA, N.A., the subsidiary of TD Bank Group that owns the Target credit card assets, will expand its Wilmington office to support the overall growth of its North American credit card business, the spokesperson said.

In March, Target completed the sale of its entire consumer credit card portfolio to TD for $5.7 billion. The companies also agreed to a seven-year deal in which TD will finance accounts and oversee compliance and risk management in the U.S. for Target credit cards and Target Visa cards.

That has led to speculation that TD might move some credit card operations to the state.

Alan Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, said no discussions are under way with TD. Banks often talk to the state about incentives when expanding operations.

The sale provided Target with cash to pay down debt and allows the company to focus on retailing.

Over the years, investors had urged that Target unload the credit card citing the exposure of the retailer to bad debt from the cards.

Hedge fund operator Bill Ackman, at one point, wanted to put Richard Vague on the Target board and suggested selling off the credit card operation.

Vague helped form two credit card banks in Wilmington, First USA (now Chase) and Juniper (now Barclays). Ackman’s effort failed as the stock price of Target recovered.

The recent sale raised concerns that TD would eliminate a big attraction for the card – a 5 percent discount on every item at the discounter. Target and TD officials said the discount will continue.

Target has three stores in Delaware.

TD was late to expand in the credit card business, but comes with deep pockets.

The Canadian bank sailed through the recession and was not involved in the federal (TARP) program that invested in banks. – Doug Rainey contributed to this story.

 

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