PORTLAND, Ore. (6/2/09)--The growth rate for credit card portfolios has slowed, and credit card penetration remains flat, according to a credit union credit card portfolio advisory and brokerage firm. Card penetration was 18% in the first quarter of this year, according to AssetExchange. Outstanding portfolio balances grew 5.9% between March 2008 and March 2009 to $31 billion, down from 16% growth in the first quarter of 2008. Card accounts grew 2.4% during the same period to 12.2 million, down from 21% growth during the first quarter of 2008, the firm said. Two large card portfolios also were sold in the first quarter of this year--Kern Schools FCU, Bakersfield, Calif., at $101 million, and American First, La Habra, Calif., at $53 million. Five other credit unions sold smaller portfolios, bringing total sales to $190 million. AssetExchange’s data was based on National Credit Union Administration call report data for credit card portfolios larger than $1 million.