It makes sense that a company devoted primarily to credit card customers would expect to also have to shore up loan loss reserves toward the end of an expansionary credit cycle, said Mayra Rodriguez Valladares, managing partner at MRV Associates, a bank and capital markets consulting firm.

“The whole point of the reserve is that you can get prepared for that downturn,” Rodriguez Valladares said. “And we have to remember that credit card holders don’t just have credit card debt; they have auto loans, maybe student loans, they may have a mortgage. You have to also make estimates that this person has other levels of debt.”