RushCard Offers a Tax Deposit Sweepstakes

OH-based prepaid Visa RushCard will send a winner that direct deposits a
tax refund onto their “RushCard” to meet philanthropist and
entrepreneur Russell Simmons. RushCard and Baby Phat RushCard members
who direct deposit their federal or state tax refunds will automatically
be entered to win a trip for two to New York to have
an exclusive lunch meeting with Simmons and get a private shopping spree
at a selected store in New York City. The trip will also include a
financial consultation during which the winner will receive advice on
how to better manage his or her finances in the New Year.To qualify,
RushCard members must make a direct deposit onto the Prepaid Visa
RushCard of $100 or more from a Federal Tax Refund, Refund Anticipation
Loan or State Tax Refund between January 1, 2009 and April 30, 2009.

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GAIN Capital Board Taps Visa’s Lyons

Forex provider GAIN Capital Holdings has appointed Susanne Lyons,
previously with Visa, to the Board of Directors. Lyons brings to GAIN
Capital a breadth of experience in consumer financial
services. At Visa USA, she most recently served as executive vice
president and chief marketing officer. At Charles Schwab & Co., Lyons
held a variety of senior
roles including president of retail client services and chief marketing
officer. She was also a member of the firm’s Management Committee. She
received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College and a
Master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University. GAIN
services clients from more than 140 countries and supports average trade
volume in excess of $200 billion per month. The company operates
FOREX.com (www.forex.com) one of the largest,
best-known brands in the retail forex industry.

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Matica Hires a New Latin America Exec

MN-based card personalizer Matica Americas has hired Hilmer Rivera,
previously with Zebra Technologies, as its new director of Latin America
Sales. Rivera will be responsible for the development of all Matica
Americas activities in Latin America including new business development,
sales channel building and creating and executing long-term revenue
growth plans to achieve market leadership and create brand awareness
throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. At Zebra
Technologies he served as Sales Manager, Latin
America and Caribbean and his tenure Rivera
developed the Latin America sales channel and substantially grew the
business in Latin America and the Caribbean. Matica Americas systems
are used in a wide range of plastic
card personalization and metal plate embossing markets such as
financial, retail, service bureau, healthcare, membership, insurance,
corporate and government identity markets.

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PPI REPORT

The Competition Commission reviewed the distributors and
intermediaries of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) and determined
that these entities face little competition for the sale of PPI when it
is sold in combination with the credit it insures. They found that there
were features of relevant markets which led to an adverse effect on
competition (AEC) in these markets and in turn resulted in consumers
facing higher prices and less choice than they would if there was
effective competition between PPI providers. As a result of this lack of
competition the Commission found that it is highly profitable for
distributors to sell PPI and that some of the resultant profit is used
to subsidize credit prices. They concluded that there were serious
deficiencies in the competitive process for selling PPI policies, and,
in order to remedy the adverse effects identified, a package of remedies
would be required which includes some significant restrictions on what
parties selling both PPI and credit can do (and also impose some burden
on parties that offer only PPI to consumers). We concluded that such an
intervention in these markets would enhance overall consumer welfare,
and that the scale of the problem identified warranted a significant
intervention. The Commission concluded that they should impose: a
prohibition on distributors and intermediaries from selling PPI to their
credit customers within seven days of a credit sale, unless the customer
has proactively returned to the seller at least 24 hours after the
credit sale; a prohibition on selling single-premium PPI policies (where
the premium is paid in one upfront payment, generally by adding the
premium to the credit borrowed); a requirement on retail PPI
distributors to offer retail PPI separately when they also offer retail
PPI bundled with merchandise cover; and several requirements to provide
specified information in marketing materials, at the points of sale of
credit and PPI, and each year after the PPI policy has entered into force.

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NOV LEI

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) declined
4.5% and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI) decreased 0.6% in
November. The only positive contributor to the index was the
stock price component. The US refiners’ acquisition cost of domestic and
imported crude oil, net insufficient inventories, the industrial production
construction component, and the (inverted) real exchange rate decreased in November. The
(inverted) federal funds rate remained unchanged. The Leading Economic Index declined sharply in November as it has
done the previous three months due to very large declines in oil prices, net
insufficient inventories and the industrial production construction component. During the
previous six months, the LEI declined 13.0% (a -24.3%
annual rate), significantly lower than the 2.7% rate of growth (a 5.5%
annual rate) between November 2007 and May 2008. In addition, the weaknesses among
the leading indicators have remained very widespread, with none of the components
increasing over the past six months. With the 4.5 percent decrease in November, the leading economic index
now stands at 105.0 (2004=100).

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CIBC CREDITS

CIBC is helping Canadians take full advantage of proposed tax credits by saving $499 towards set up fees for a Home Power Line of Credit and receive $500 Cash back on a qualifying mortgage for clients buying their first home. Clients can take advantage of the new tax
credit for 1st time homebuyers and CIBC will provide cash back to help with legal fees or home renovations. In addition, fees are waived for one year on the CIBC Dividend Platinum credit card acquired in the branch. CIBC will waive the annual fee on new cards for one year, in addition to providing 2% cash back on all purchases including home renovations.

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CAM Pharmacy POS is SIGIS Certified

CAM Commerce Solutions announced that its “CAM Pharmacy” POS software
has received SIGIS certification. CAM Pharmacy Point of Sale software
automates the store operations of
the independent pharmacy. Through its integration with many leading
pharmacy dispensing systems, the CAM point of sale software offers
pharmacies a complete solution when automating a store. With the
addition of IIAS support and SIGIS certification, the CAM Pharmacy Point
of Sale software allows pharmacies to accept FSA (Flexible Spending
Account) cards. Recent IRS regulations require pharmacies to employ
point of sale systems that comply with IIAS (Inventory Information
Approval System) if they wish to continue accepting FSA cards as forms
of payment. As of June 30th 2009, pharmacies who have not implemented an
IIAS compliant system will be excluded from accepting FSA cards.

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SINNAD

Bahrain Electronic Network for Financial Transactions and Network International have joined forces to create a joint venture to offer ATM and card processing services to GCC banks. The new SINNAD entity is aiming at capturing an 8% to 10% market share within five years. Abdulwahid Janahi, CEO of Benefit, will become Chairman of the new JV. Abdulla Qassem, Chairman of Network International will become Vice Chairman of SINNAD. The companies say SINNAD will host more than 500,000 cards over the next five years. Benefit is the country’s National Switch and Credit Reference Bureau. Network’s card third- party processing business is aligned exclusively with 38 banks across the GCC and Mena region.

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CEO SURVEY

Top business executives worldwide are pessimistic about prospects for 2009. An “Annual Global CEO Survey” found that confidence has plunged to its lowest level since 2003. Nearly 70% of CEOs said their companies will be affected by the credit crisis. Of those, nearly 80% said they faced higher financing costs, and nearly 70% said they would delay planned investments as a result. Only 15% of CEOs in North America and 15% in Western Europe expressed confidence about growth prospects for the next 12 months. This compared with 21% in the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe, 31% in Asia Pacific, and 21% in Latin America. The impact of the recession in the world’s major economies, cited by 85% of survey respondents worldwide, continued to dominate concerns of CEOs and was the only risk factor to increase among CEOs’ concerns. Other major risk factors included disruption in the capital markets, cited by 72%, over-regulation, 55%, energy costs, 50%, and availability of key talent, 46%.

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NOV INDEX

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for Australia declined
1.0% and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI)
increased 0.1% in November. The LEI declined sharply in November,
decreasing for the third consecutive month. Three of the seven
components in the Leading Economic Index increased in November. The
positive contributors to the index are money supply, gross operating
surplus, and the sales to inventories ratio. Building approvals,
share prices, the yield spread and rural goods exports declined.
contributed negatively to the index, more than
offsetting the continued strong expansion in real money supply. The
six-month change in the index
has continued to fall to -1.2% (a -2.4% annual rate) in
the period through November 2008, down sharply from the 1.8% rate of
growth (a 3.6% annual rate) from November 2007 to May 2008. In addition,
the strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators have remained
nearly balanced in recent months. The Coincident Economic Index
continued to increase in November. Retail trade rose again this month,
while employment fell. The six-month change in the CEI has picked up to
1.1% (a 2.2% annual rate) through November 2008, up from
0.3% (a 0.5% annual rate) for the previous six months.
Meanwhile, real GDP growth dropped to a 0.3% annual rate for the third
quarter of 2008, down sharply from the 1.9 percent average annual rate
of growth in the first half of 2008. the Leading Economic Index
now stands at 114.1 (2004=100)

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TransCard Names a New President

Prepaid card provider TransCard has hired Jerry Uffner, previously with
nFinanSe, as president. Uffner was Sr. Vice President of Sales for
nFinanSe and previously served as Vice President of Financial Services
for InComm and held previous sales management positions at First Data,
Comdata and RBS Lynk. He has a BA in Economics and Political Science
from the University of Pittsburgh and attended MBA School at the
University of Dallas.

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09 Bankruptcy Filings Likely to Grow 35%

A consensus is building that bankruptcy filings for 2009 could approach
1.5 million, a 35% increase over last year. If the unemployment rate
exceeds 9% by year-end it is likely the monthly volume of bankruptcy
filings will average about 400,000. According to CardData
(www.carddata.com) there were 290,000 filings in the fourth quarter with
an unemployment rate of 7.2%. According to the American Bankruptcy
Institute and the National Bankruptcy Research Center, bankruptcy
filings in December hit 84,926, a 9% year-over-year gain, but down 15%
from November. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
bankruptcy filings jumped 34% in the third quarter compared to the year
ago period, and increased 5% sequentially. During the third quarter
total filings hit 292,291 compared to 276,510 for the second quarter and
218,909 one-year ago. In a recent American Bankruptcy Institute poll 65%
of respondents predicted that bankruptcies in 2009 would increase by at
least 35% over the nearly 1.1 million cases filed in 2008. Fifty-three
percent of respondents predicted that filings would increase by 35% or
more while 12% thought that filings would increase by about 35%. (CF
Library 1/08/09)

Unemployment Bankruptcy
1Q/08: 5.1% 246,000
2Q/08: 5.6% 276,000
3Q/08: 6.2% 292,000
4Q/08: 7.2% 290,000
1Q/09: 7.9% 332,000
2Q/09: 8.5% 373,000
3Q/09: 9.1% 394,000
4Q/09: 9.3% 391,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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