While securitization of residential mortgages that lack government backing remains moribund, credit card and other consumer lenders have issued about the same amount of ABS this year as they did in 2008 thanks to a federal rescue.

That has kept open one of the more interesting sources of information on the industry. Prospectus data appears to confirm American Express Co.'s widely recognized grip on affluent cardholders. But competitors' prospectuses show that Amex is far from alone among major issuers in relying heavily on big spenders.

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