CEO Confidence Surges in the 2nd Quarter

The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence reports a jump to 55 from
30 in the last quarter, indicating more positive responses by 100 business
leaders with 32% that claim conditions have improved compared to
six months ago, up from zero percent last quarter. In assessing their
own industries, business leaders were also much less negative. Now, 24%
claim conditions are better, up from just 1% in the
first quarter. Nearly 55% of business leaders expect economic conditions
to improve in the next six months, up from approximately 17% last quarter.
Expectations for their own industries were also more optimistic, with 45%
of CEOs anticipating an improvement in the months ahead, up from
26% last quarter and 46% of executives anticipate increases in profits.
Executives engaged in the durable goods industry are the most optimistic,
with 77% expecting profits to increase. Among chief executive officers
who expect profits to increase, 56% believe cost reductions will drive
profits up, while 33% cite market/demand growth as the main source of
improvement. Only 7% cite new technology as a driver of growth and the
remaining 4% cite price increases.

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NBB & SINNAD

A global travel payment network is set to offer a prepaid voucher that consumers may use to purchase flights online. Universal Air Travel Plan has teamed with paysafecard group to offer “Cash-Ticket.”
The voucher can be purchased throughout Europe and provides a 16 digit pin code. Users can keep track of their balance and transactions online.
The vouchers are available in denominations of 10 euros, 20 euros, 50
euros, 100 euros and 150 euros. Up to ten vouchers can be used at once
for larger payments. There is one-off activation fee of two euros, regardless of how much credit is purchased. paysafecard group operates in 20 countries. UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide.

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MOBILEXPENSE & MASTERCARD

MasterCard Europe and MobileXpense have extended contracts for the
delivery of enhanced expense management solutions for businesses.
Allowing card issuers and their commercial customers to integrate their
MasterCard corporate card programs directly with MobileXpense’s
web-based travel and expense management platform, the partnership
provides companies seamless workflow using MasterCard spend data
automatically sent to the MobileXpense’s online tool. The subsequent
data integration can help drive card utilization at organizations up to
94%, significantly improving T&E tracking and expense reporting efficiency.

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Video Display Upgrades its LCD ATM Display

The Video Display Corporation’s Display Concepts division has redesigned
its 8.4″ sunlight-viewable “V084H1” LCD ATM display to improve
readability, reduce power consumption, increase lifetime and reduce
cost. The “V084H1” high-brightness ATM monitor is a redesign of the
SunView ATM monitor line acquired from Palomar Displays in 2007,
provides full-color monitoring with increased contrast, even in direct
sunlight, and automatically adjusts brightness for optimum viewing in
all lighting. Implementing a more efficient LED backlight and ballast,
rather than the original fluorescent backlight, the new design is also
fully backward compatible with original Palomar SunView design and all
bracket kits. Video Display Corporation designs, develops and
manufactures solutions for display requirements in military, medical and
industrial sectors across the United States and Europe.

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AmEx Business Travel Promotes Supplier Exec

American Express Business Travel has promoted Michael
Qualantone to vice president and general manager, Global Supplier
RelationsQualantone will manage and direct all strategic relationships
with global supplier partners, including airlines, hotel and car
companies, tour operators and cruise lines, as well as maintaining
strategic relationships with all technology providers including global
distribution systems and booking tools. During his 21 year tenure at
American Express, Qualantone has held
leadership positions within Finance, Travel Back Office, and Business
Travel. Prior to his role as vice president, Client Services Group, he
was vice president, On Sites and Customer Solutions, and vice president,
Global Distribution Strategy.

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SMALL BUSINESS

While 56% of Canadian small business owners are feeling the effects of
the current economic climate, 55% are accelerating innovation efforts,
investing in improving product designs and new offerings to capitalize
on opportunities. Rather than passively waiting-out the recession, 61%
have earmarked a portion of company revenues for innovation and 48% have
made it a high priority. These findings, made available through the “Small
Business Monitor” studies conducted by American Express, also show 90%
of the small businesses surveyed expect these investments will make them
more profitable; 87% expect to attract new customers; and 87% feel the
investments will improve their product offering. Among the small
businesses, 66% are financing the investments by reinvesting revenue,
20% are using
credit cards, charge cards or bank loans, and 32% are implementing
personal reserves while 82% feel government should be doing more to
promote small business growth.

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CardSmith Renews Fairleigh’s 1card Contract

PA-based campus card supplier CardSmith has signed a renewal with
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s “1card” services. The card features a
prepaid flexible spending account, “1Card Cash” that students,
faculty and staff can use to make purchases at the campus bookstore,
dining locations, copy centers, vending machines and business offices and
at participating off-campus businesses surrounding both campuses.
“Fairleigh 1Card” is also used to control spending
for fuel and related purchases for university vehicles and for
customized spending plans for scholar-athletes.

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U.K. Credit Card Charge-Offs Rise Above 9%

Delinquency and charge-offs among credit card-backed securities in the United Kingdom hit record highs again in May. Charge-offs increased 50 basis points while 60-to-180 day delinquency nudged up by 20 basis points. The Fitch “Charge-off Index” increased for the fourth straight month in May to 9.1%, compared to 8.6% in the prior month and 6.4% one-year ago. Fitch says it is particularly concerned that the increase in charge-offs is a result of the increased roll-through of delinquencies, with the stress on consumer payments brought about by the deterioration in the UK economy expected to continue throughout 2009. In May, the Fitch “Delinquency Index” increased for the ninth month in a row, moving to 5.5% from 5.3% in April and 3.7% in May 2008. On an individual trust basis, six of the eight trusts included in the “Index” reported new historical high delinquency levels in May. Fitch also reports that its “Monthly Payment Rate Index” fell 10 basis points in May to 15.4%. However, the Fitch “Yield Index” increased to 20.0% in May, compared to 19.4% in April.

U.K. CREDIT CARD ABS
Delinquency Charge-Offs
May 08: 3.7% 6.4%
Jun 08: 3.7% 6.9%
Jul 08: 3.7% 6.5%
Aug 08: 3.7% 6.3%
Sep 08: 3.8% 6.6%
Oct 08: 3.9% 6.6%
Nov 08: 4.1% 6.4%
Dec 08: 4.3% 7.2%
Jan 09: 4.5% 6.8%
Feb 09: 4.8% 7.5%
Mar 09: 5.0% 8.4%
Apr 09: 5.3% 8.6%
May 09: 5.5% 9.1%
Source: FitchRatings

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U.S. Retailers Focus on POS Efficiency & TOC

Turning focus back towards store POS efficiencies and total cost of
ownership, 73% of retailers rate themselves below or at sub-par on their
current POS capabilities. Augmenting business benefits derived from
upgraded POS performance and cost optimization, 66% of surveyed
retailers are focusing on the POS as a marketing tool to justify the TCO
behind the next phase of technology improvements by overcoming internal
mandate for store operations and securing corresponding data management
processes. This research, according to the Aberdeen Group’s “POS to
Profits: Reviving Best-in-Class Sales and Service in Retail Stores”
report, also shows retailers are establishing highly specific
implementation cost criteria plans as well as short- and long-term
benefit lifespan analysis. Aberdeen provides fact-based research and
market intelligence, having fielded research from over 30,000 companies
in the past two years.

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Credit Risk Index Portends Higher Delinquency

The inherent level of credit risk within the U.S. is now 27% higher
than 1998. On a state basis, Mississippi ranks as the riskiest state and
North Dakota at the least risky. The TransUnion “Credit Risk Index”
increased 1.98% from 124.79 in the fourth quarter to 127.26 in the first
quarter. On a year-over-year basis, the “Index” increased 7.10%, the
largest increase for that time period in this decade. The states that
experienced the largest quarterly changes included Nevada (4.25%),
Arizona (4.06%) and California (3.98%). On a year-over-year basis,
Arizona (14.82%), Nevada (14.38%) and California (13.82%) had the
highest percentage increases. TransUnion notes that since the index
remains at an all-time historical high, delinquencies and foreclosures
will likely continue to rise in the coming months. The “Credit Risk
Index” is defined as the weighted average probability of 90-day
delinquency or worse among consumers in a given region relative to the
nation as a whole.

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