WILMINGTON, Del. — MBNA Corp. fourth-quarter earnings surged 26 percent, as the credit card lender attracted enough new accounts and loans to compensate for increased delinquencies and loan losses.
The Wilmington, Del.-based bank, the second-largest credit card issuer behind Citicorp, said net income rose to $188.3 million, or 35 cents a diluted share, up from $149.4 million, or 28 cents, in the year-earlier period. That beat the average Wall Street forecast of 34 cents, according to an IBES International Inc. survey of 17 analysts.
MBNA rose 1 11/16, or 6.6 percent, to 27 7/16.
“Outstanding,” said analyst Katrina Blecher at Gruntal & Co. “It’s indicative of what a superior company they are.” MBNA increased its new loans by 28 percent while the industry average is only 7 percent, she said.
The company added $3.2 billion in loans during the fourth quarter, bringing its total to $49.4 billion. For the full year, it added $10.8 billion in loans. It also added 9.4 million new accounts in 1997 and endorsements from 563 organizations for whom it issues affinity cards.
MBNA operates call centers in Belfast, Orono and has plans of opening one in Presque Isle.