Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

hired

Credit Suisse First Boston

to evaluate options for the bank holding company's consumer credit card business, including a possible sale of the operation.

Wachovia Bank Card Services

is the nation's 12th largest bank-card issuer, with about $8 billion in receivables from nearly 2.8 million active accounts. Wachovia said other options for the business include retaining the operation or developing a joint venture.

"Although highly profitable, the credit card business is not as relationship-focused as other Wachovia lines of business," the company, which is based in Winston-Salem, N.C., said. "Significant consolidation has occurred in this business in recent years, leading to a very competitive environment. Increasingly there are pressures to spend heavily on marketing programs designed to retain and acquire customers to achieve growth."

Shares of Wachovia lost 70 cents, or 1.1%, to $66 in recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading.