Associates First Capital Corp., already swelling with credit card accounts, swept up another portfolio last week as it agreed to buy Citgo Petroleum Corp.'s gas card loans for $120 million, marking Associates' third gas-card purchase this year alone and possibly setting the stage for a debut credit card securitization in the near future.

At least the gun is loaded. "I think they're thinking about doing a credit card securitization," said one investment banker familiar with this and other recent transactions.

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