Q1 Bankruptcy Filings Nearly Triple Since BAPCPA

The bankruptcy pace has been picking up as the number of filings,
compared to the same year ago period, rose in the first quarter by 34.5%
from 33.1% in the fourth quarter. Since the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention
and Consumer Protection Act of 2005” took effect, there have thirteen
consecutive quarters of increased filings. Compared to three years ago
bankruptcy filings have nearly tripled. According to the Administrative
Office of the U.S. Courts, total filings in the first quarter of this
year hit 330,477, compared to 301,317 for the fourth quarter and 245,695
one-year ago. Bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending March
31st, were up 33.3% over bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period
ending March 31st, 2008. Consumer filings for the 12-month period ending
March 31st, totaled 1,153,412, up 32.4% from the same period one-year
ago. For this same period “Chapter 7” filings rose 46.3% to 819,362 and
“Chapter 13” filings rose 10.9% to 370,875. More recent figures show the
pace for the second quarter picking up too.
May 2009 filings were up 37% from one-year ago. According to the
American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Bankruptcy Research,
consumer filings totaled 124,838 in May, compared to 125,618 in April
and 91,214 in May 2008. (CF Library 1/08/09; 1/30/09; 6/3/09)

QUARTERLY BANKRUPTCY FILINGS
1Q/06: 116,771
2Q/06: 155,833
3Q/06: 171,146
4Q/06: 177,599
1Q/07: 193,461
2Q/07: 210,449
3Q/07: 218,909
4Q/07: 226,413
1Q/08: 245,695
2Q/08: 276,510
3Q/08: 292,291
4Q/08: 301,317
1Q/09: 330,477
Source: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

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Arise Virtual Solutions Meets PCI DSS Lv1

For the 4th consecutive year, Arise Virtual Solutions home-based
business process outsourcing (BPO) services has met the universal
Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance Data Security Standards (DSS) as
a Level 1 Service Provider. Assessed by VeriSign third-party Internet
infrastructure services provider and confirmed by Visa as a validated
PCI DSS provider, Arise offers users individual “secure virtual
workstations” for the ability to control home-based agent computers
through its portal. PCI DSS universal technical and operational
requirements help card payment processors prevent security
vulnerabilities and threats while the FL-based Arise Virtual Solutions
certifies independent professionals on the at-home model.

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AmEx Launches Women’s Golf Month in June

As part of the national Play Golf America campaign, American Express is
hosting its 5th annual “Women’s Golf Month” to provide attendees golf
education through participating facilities. Offering complimentary golf
instruction to people 14 years of age and older, networking receptions,
equipment demonstrations and playing experiences, the event has
attracted over 105,000 people nationwide since its premier in 2005 as
“Women’s Golf Week”. In 2008, 1,208 facilities participated in “Women’s
Golf Month”, reported additional median revenues of $3,320 and hosted a
total 37,350 consumers, of which 47% were new customers while 32% were
new golfers. The nationwide event is coordinated by such organizations
as Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA), Golf Course
Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Ladies Professional Golf
Association (LPGA), National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and
The PGA of America (PGA). Additional information, such as participating
facilities, can be found at PlayGolfAmerica.com.

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Accertify and RMS Team to Fight Card Fraud

Accertify online fraud prevention e-commerce software solutions has
partnered with RMS Accounts Receivable (A/R) management/Business Process
Outsourcing (BPO) to offer merchants a combined anti fraud solution. The
RMS back-office chargeback and recovery service provides merchants
thorough security management and resolution of credit card transaction
chargebacks while Accertify software helps merchants combat e-commerce
fraud. Accertify develops fraud prevention tools and strategies to
protect online merchants and the PA-based RMS A/R offers its services
across the United States, Canada, Mexico, India and China.

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GLOBALCOLLECT & EMIRATES AIR

Emirates International Airlines has implemented GlobalCollect’s payment
processing for alternative payment solutions through its website,
www.emirates.com. Initially available in 37 countries across the world,
users can choose to pay using payment cards, local bank transfers, real
time bank transfers, cash through Western Union or Quick Pay, direct
debits, and eWallets, all hosted by GlobalCollect. Additionally, the
GlobalCollect single-interface payment platform, “WebCollect”, allows
Emirates Airlines to offer locally preferred payment options to consumer
segments who prefer not to use a credit card.
GlobalCollect Payment Service Provider offers its single-interface
online payment platform in over 200 countries and will allow Emirates
Airlines to grow sales while reducing costs through streamlined back
office processes.

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APACS & ABTA

Last year Britons used their payment cards for GBP 27.8 billion worth of overseas transactions, up just over 10% on the total from 2007.
About GBP 19.9 billion of transactions were made on credit and debit card purchases and GBP 7.9 billion was cash taken out of cash machines.
The UK Cards Association and ABTA, the travel association, have teamed to publish a consumer advice guide for U.K. cardholders using their cards overseas. The free quide provides useful information regarding the types of charges you may incur when withdrawing cash at a cash machine or when making a purchase overseas using your card, and includes tips on what to do before, during and after your trip abroad to minimise the chances of being a victim of fraud. ABTA is the largest travel association in the U.K. with 1,415 members with 5,900 outlets. The U.K. Cards Association was formed in April 2009 as the successor body to the APACS Card Payments Group.

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AmEx and Maritz to Introduce MaXvantage

American Express Business Travel and business travel specialist
Maritz Travel have entered into a preliminary agreement to
launch “MaXvantage”, a strategic alliance to provide end-to-end strategic
meetings management services that support a company’s entire meeting,
event and incentive travel portfolio. “MaXvantage” will be designed to manage the
meetings process, negotiate cost-saving agreements and favorable
contract terms and conditions with suppliers, and improve the
participant experience by designing and implementing memorable meetings,
events and incentive travel programs to ensure maximum return-on-investment and will develop
transparent, company-appropriate spending policies that will enable
increased accountability while helping companies consistently apply
processes to control costs when planning meetings and track, measure and benchmark purchasing behavior to ensure maximum
policy effectiveness over time.

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The Visa Brand Rules Financial Services

The results of the 2009 Harris Interactive/EquiTrend study reveal that
Visa dominates the “Financial Services” category for brand equity.
A brand equity score is determined by a
calculation of familiarity, quality and purchase consideration for each
individual brand. Not surprisingly given the economic situation of the
past year,
financial service brands, particularly AIG, joined the ranks of these
weaker brands on the bottom of the list. EquiTrend
provides insight on brands based on six base measures including
familiarity, quality, purchase consideration, brand expectations,
distinctiveness and trust.

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FTC Updates Elsevier and ChoicePoint Deal

The FTC has approved a final consent order in the matter of Reed Elsevier NV and ChoicePoint Inc. and authorized the staff to send letters to the commenters of record. In September the FTC issued a complaint charging that Reed Elsevier’s proposed $4.1 billion acquisition of ChoicePoint would be anticompetitive and in violation of the antitrust laws, as it would combine the two largest providers of electronic public record services to U.S. law enforcement customers.
To eliminate the anticompetitive effects of the proposed acquisition,
the FTC will require Reed Elsevier to divest assets related to ChoicePoint’s AutoTrackXP and Consolidated Lead Evaluation and Reporting (CLEAR) electronic public records services to Thomson Reuters Legal Inc., within 15 days after the proposed acquisition is consummated.

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Q1 90-Day Card Delinquency Rises 9% Sequentially

Based on credit bureau data, the ratio of bankcard borrowers 90 days or more delinquent on one or more of their bankcards in the first quarter rose 9% sequentially and 11% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the aggregate balance on all bank-issued credit cards for an individual bankcard borrower inched upward nationally 82 basis points to $5,776 from the previous quarter and 409 basis points, compared to the first quarter of 2008. TransUnion.com found that the steepest increases in average bankcard debt over the previous quarter occurred in Alabama (+5.6%), Mississippi (+5.4%) and Tennessee (+4.7%). Delinquency (90+ days) increased to 1.32% in the first quarter, compared to 1.19% one-year ago. Incidence of bank card delinquency was highest in Nevada (2.44%), followed closely by Florida (1.9%) and Arizona (1.68%).
The current TransUnion forecast for the national 90-day bankcard delinquency rate is a continued rise throughout 2009, approaching 1.7% by year-end. According to CardData (www.carddata.com), Chase posted a 3.22% delinquency (90 day+) rate in the first quarter as BofA reported a 3.99% ratio, Citi a 2.71% ratio and Discover a 2.78% ratio.

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