American card issuer Discover Financial Services has posted a net income of $500m or $1.14 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 23.7% compared to $404m or $0.87 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.
The company’s credit card loans increased 3.1% to $57.9bn, while its card sales volume rose by 2.6% or about 5% excluding gas purchases compared to a year ago.
The company’s Payment Services division registered a pre-tax income of $21m for the fourth quarter, a rise of $19m compared to the same period in 2014.
Payment Services transaction dollar volume fell 10% to $45.9bn from the prior year quarter. PULSE transaction dollar volume dropped 14% year-over-year, driven by the loss of volume from a large debit issuer.
The company’s credit card net charge-off rate for the quarter decreased 8 basis points from the prior year to 2.18%, while the delinquency rate for credit card loans over 30 days past due decreased 1 basis point from a year ago to 1.72%.
Discover chairman and CEO David Nelms said: "We once again delivered a solid return on equity in the fourth quarter. While we achieved record annual originations in both Student Loans and Personal Loans, card loan growth was at the low end of our target range, slower than we’d like. We are taking steps to accelerate card loan growth in 2016 while staying disciplined on credit and continuing to execute on our Payments strategy."