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When Paul Leighton moved from San Francisco to the District, he was prepared for potholes, poor city services, and political disenfranchisementthe standard list of indignities that have made D.C. famous. However, Leighton hadn’t braced for the punishment issued by his credit-card company for associating himself with the District. In an Oct. 15 letter, Providian Bancorp Inc. notified Leighton that his imminent move to D.C. disqualified him from using his Visa Gold card. As far as Providian was concerned, the District was as far from its service area as, say, Sri Lanka. “Unfortunately, accounts maintained outside the U.S. present significant processing and security difficulties,” reads the letter. And the letter featured a zinger that would have D.C. statehood activists frothing at the mouth: “If you move back to the United States we will be happy to assist you in possibly reopening your account.” Providian spokeswoman Laurie Cole says the letter was a mistake but confirmed that the company was no longer soliciting customers in the Washington area. She also said Leighton could keep his account with Providian, but Leighton says no thanks. He’s taking his D.C. business elsewhere.