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Consolidated Balance Sheets (Parenthetical) (USD $)
In Millions, except Share data
Jun. 30, 2011
Dec. 31, 2010
Variable Interest [Line Items]    
Long-term debt, debt issued by consolidated variable interest entities $ 61,395 $ 66,416
Cash and cash equivalents    
Securities purchased under resale agreements 478 372
Accounts receivable    
Cardmember receivables, reserves 415 386
Other receivables, reserves 111 175
Loans    
Cardmember loans, reserves 2,560 3,646
Other loans, reserves 19 24
Premises and equipment, accumulated depreciation 4,680 4,483
Shareholders Equity    
Common shares, par value $ 0.2 $ 0.2
Common shares, authorized 3,600,000,000 3,600,000,000
Common shares, issued 1,193,000,000 1,197,000,000
Common shares, outstanding 1,193,000,000 1,197,000,000
Accumulated other comprehensive (loss) income    
Net unrealized securities gains, tax 71 19
Net unrealized derivatives losses, tax (1) (4)
Foreign currency translation adjustments, tax (577) (405)
Net unrealized pension and other postretirement benefit costs, tax 228 226
Variable Interest Enterprise [Member]
   
Variable Interest [Line Items]    
Gross cardmember receivables available to settle the obligations of a variable interest entity 7,500 8,192
Restricted cash held by Trusts 304 3,759
Long-term debt, debt issued by consolidated variable interest entities 18,113 23,341
Variable Interest Enterprise [Member] | U S Card Services [Member]
   
Variable Interest [Line Items]    
Gross cardmember receivables available to settle the obligations of a variable interest entity 7,000 7,700
Gross cardmember loans available to settle the obligations of a variable interest entity $ 32,137 $ 34,726