POWER OF BLUE

BMO has launched a promotion for cardholders of its debit cards for MasterCard in conjunction with the BMO “Canadian Figure Skating
Championships.” The “BMO Power of Blue” rewards program offers 200 “BMO
Power of Blue” VIP parking spots close to the arena entrance,
exclusively for BMO customers who flash their BMO debit cards or “BMO
MasterCard.” Also, BMO customers are greeted on the “blue carpet”
at the special BMO VIP arena entrance and have many chances to win
prizes when paying at the “Skate Canada Boutique” with a “BMO
MasterCard.” Prizes include $500 in cash, a 2009 BMO Canadians pin or a
personalized autographed card sent to them by a National Skate Canada
Team member.

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Special Obama and King Cards Introduced

Giesecke & Devrient is delivering 200,000 limited edition “SmarTrip” cards to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to commemorate President Obama’s inauguration. Meanwhile, The Home Depot has launched a collector’s edition Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Dream” gift card at all stores nationwide and online. The commemorative “Obama SmarTrip” cards are available for purchase in two versions, for $10 each without fare value, or for $20, which includes $10 fare value loaded onto the card. The special order card is a permanent, rechargeable farecard featuring an image of President Barack Obama. Since 2000, G&D has delivered over 5 million “SmarTrip” cards to the WMATA. Through February 28th, consumers can purchase the “Dream” gift card and The Home Depot will donate five percent of sales to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, up to $1 million. This donation will go toward building a permanent home for the personal papers of Dr. King and will be a critical part of the exhibition offering at the Center for Civil and
Human Rights.

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Liberty Tax Offers Netspend Prepaid Card

Liberty Tax Service has partnered with prepaid card provider NetSpend to
give customers the option of loading tax refunds onto a Visa-branded
“NetSpend All-Access Liberty Prepaid Card”
The All-Access Liberty Prepaid Card program is a streamlined
way for Liberty franchisee owners, employees and customers to manage
their finances beyond tax season. The multi-year agreement will
implement the exclusive All-Access Liberty
Prepaid Card that can be used for everyday purchases. The All-Access
Liberty Prepaid Card is a Liberty-branded general purpose reloadable
debit card issued by Texas-based Inter National Bank and marketed by
NetSpend.

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Pamida Deploys Tomax Retail.net

Retail management solution provider Tomax has rolled out the “Retail.net solution” at Pamida. Pamida, a regional retailer operating more
than 200 stores in 17 states in the Midwest United States.
Pamida uses Retail.net “Merchandise Management”, “Store Operations” and
“Customer Management” to centralize applications and data, which
facilitate real-time transaction management and information collection. The Tomax Retail.net suite helps
retailers integrate people and processes and providing timely, relevant,
actionable information to improve retail results. The Tomax customer base
includes over 100 branded retailers including Air Terminal Gifts, The
Andersons, ALCO Stores, Coach House Gifts, EZ Lube, Kelly-Moore Paints,
Pamida, Party City, Raley’s Supermarkets, ShopRite, Snyders Drug Stores,
Sportsman’s Warehouse, Trader Joe’s, Travel Traders, Winn Dixie, and 24
Hour Fitness.

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Citi Posts Q4 $371MM Loss with 8% Charge-Offs

Citigroup reported a $371 million fourth quarter loss for its North American Cards unit, compared to an $873 million loss in the prior quarter, and compared to a $322 million profit in the year ago quarter.
Fourth quarter revenues for North American cards dropped 28% year-on-year from $3.7 billion to $2.6 billion. The managed net charge-off ratio increased 294 basis points to 8.04% for North American cards from 4Q/07 and jumped 91 basis points from the prior quarter.
The 90-day delinquency ratio for North American cards increased 51 basis points from the prior quarter to 2.62%, and as compared to 1.77% for 4Q/07. Citi also reported 138.2 million open accounts at the end of the fourth quarter in North America, compared to 151.9 million one-year ago.
Purchase volume for North American cards dropped 15% to $75.7 billion, compared to $89.3 billion for 4Q/07. North American managed loans declined 1% year-on-year to $149.3 billion and down by nearly $1 billion from the prior quarter, due to lower purchase sales and balance transfer volumes, partially offset by a decline in payment rates across all portfolios. Citi also noted that North American Cards GAAP revenue declined due to lower securitization results and the impact of foreign exchange. For complete details on Citigroup’s 4Q/08 performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

CITIGROUP
North American Credit Card Net Income
4Q/07: $322 million
1Q/08: $537 million
2Q/08: $178 million
3Q/08: (-$873 million)
4Q/08: (-$371 million)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Magstar Total Mobile POS is Unveiled

Magstar has released the ” Total Mobile POS” portable solution. The
“Total Mobile POS” has a powerful portable touch screen is capable of
real time lookup of items, pricing and customer loyalty (CRM)
information. It fully-integrates all sales activity to the powerful,
feature-rich Magstar Total POS solution, which automatically feeds data
to the Total Retail enterprise solution and scan bar codes, enter items
in by description, capture customer loyalty ID, handle full in-store or
remote sales transactions with credit and debit payment processing,
handle the return of goods’ process, handle “lane busting” and is fully
interfaced with “Magstar Total POS” and “Magstar Total
Retail” enterprise retail solutions, including item lookup, pricing
consistency and end of day balancing.

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Capture Technologies Powers San Fran Card

CA-based Capture Technologies will provide a card identification system
for San Francisco residents using the “Datacard MX6000Card Issuance
System” , a fully
integrated platform for producing personalized cards. It produces a
secure card that is protected from forgery,
fraud, tampering or alteration. Cards produced from the
Datacard system are more secure than the California driver’s license.
The system was installed in City Hall, where it is anticipated that some
15,000 cards will be issued in the forthcoming months. The cards
will cost $15; seniors, very low income and children’s cards will cost less.
Capture’s contract also includes equipment maintenance, user training
and software. The ID cards can also serve as a “smart card” at a later
date
and could include information such as medical conditions and emergency
contact information.

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US Consumer Confidence Sinks Further in Jan

The bottom continued to fall out from consumer confidence in January with the ongoing inability of the government and the private sector to stabilize the economy. The composite “RBC CASH Index” stands at 13.3 for January, 2.9 points below November, and a six-year low. However, RBC notes that slide in consumer confidence is offset somewhat by an increase in expectations for the future, just days before President-elect Obama is inaugurated. The “RBC Jobs Index” saw an incremental drop of nearly 4 points in January to 61.8, compared to 65.6 last month, and a new all-time low. The “RBC Current Conditions Index” dropped to another all-time low in January and currently stands at 8.7, compared to 16.5 last month. The “RBC Investment Index” currently stands at 22.5, down from 31.0 in December. However, the “RBC Expectations Index” was the one bright spot, actually improving in January to -11.3 from -21.2. RBC says a lack of decisive action and some quick results by the incoming Obama administration could negatively affect the economic confidence of the American public, causing it to sink yet further.

RBC CASH INDEX
Jan 08: 56.3
Feb 08: 48.5
Mar 08: 33.1
Apr 08: 29.5
May 08: 39.0
Jun 08: 22.5
Jul 08: 14.6
Aug 08: 33.8
Sep 08: 69.2
Oct 08: 37.0
Nov 08: 34.7
Dec 08: 15.3
Jan 09: 13.3
Source: Royal Bank of Canada

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NOV INDEX

The Conference Board Leading Economic
Index declined 0.5% and The Conference Board
Coincident Economic Index decreased 0.6% in November.
The LEI declined for the third consecutive
month. Two of the six components that make up the leading
economic index increased in November. The positive contributors are the
Spanish contribution to Euro M2, and the inverted long-term government
bond yield. The negative contributors are order books survey, job
placings, and the Spanish equity price index. The capital equipment
component of industrial production remained unchanged.
Between May and November of 2008, the LEI declined by 2.1% (about a -4.1%
annual rate), below the 1.2% decline (about a -2.5% annual rate)
from November 2007 through May 2008. In addition,
the weaknesses among the leading indicators remained widespread.
The leading economic index has been falling since the first
quarter of 2008, decreasing by 3.6%
since February, its largest decrease since 1992. The coincident economic index has also been falling
since its peak in February 2008, experiencing its most severe
contraction since the 1992-93 downturn. Taken together, the recent
behavior of the composite indexes suggests that economic activity could
contract further in the near term. The leading economic index
now stands at 108.4 (2004=100).

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TD Retail Card Acquires Canadian Portfolio

NJ-based TD Retail Card Services has acquired the private label credit
card program of Montreal-based jewelry retailer Birks & Mayors. Under
the agreement, TD will direct all facets of the program for the 37 Birks
stores, which are located in major metropolitan markets across Canada.
The Birks card can also be used for online purchases on the retailer’s
website, www.birks.com. Following the move to TD Retail Card Services,
Birks cardholders will continue to be able to avail themselves of a
number of financing options, including interest-free and low-interest
offerings, as well as a customer loyalty rewards program and a variety
of special incentives and services. Through the program’s rewards
feature, cardholders will continue to earn gift certificates equal to a
percentage of their total annual purchases. Additionally, cardholders
will continue to enjoy such benefits as free jewelry cleaning, gift
certificates on their birthday, free deliveries, free engraving of up to
10 characters with any purchase of $200 or more, and advance notice of
all Birks special events, promotions and sales.

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Chase Cards Post a Whopping $371MM Q4 Loss

J.P. Morgan Chase reported a fourth quarter net loss of $371 million for its credit card business, compared to a profit of $609 million for the year ago quarter. The decline was attributed to higher loan loss provisions, partially offset by higher net revenue due to the recent WaMu acquisition. The managed net charge-off rate for the quarter was 5.56%, up from 3.89% in the prior year and 5.00% in 3Q/08. The 30-day managed delinquency rate was 4.97%, up from 3.48% in the prior year and 3.91% in the prior quarter. Excluding Washington Mutual, the managed net charge-off rate for the fourth quarter was 5.29% and the 30-day delinquency rate was 4.36%. Chase reported that its fourth quarter ROE for cards was negative 10%, down from positive 17% in the prior year. Pretax income to average managed loans (ROO) was negative 1.16%, compared with positive 2.51% in the prior year and positive 1.17% in the prior quarter. End-of-period managed loans were $190.3 billion, up 21% from the prior year, and up 2% from the prior quarter. Charge volume was $96.0 billion, an increase of 1%, from the prior year. Excluding Washington Mutual, end-of-period managed loans were $162.1 billion and charge volume was $88.2 billion. Merchant processing volume was $135.1 billion and total transactions were 4.9 billion. Chase also noted that net accounts of 4.3 million were opened during the quarter and branch sales of credit cards increased by 56%. For complete details on Chase’s fourth quarter performance, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

JPM CHASE HISTORICAL ($billions)
4Q/07 1Q/08 2Q/08 3Q/08 4Q/08
EOP Outstandings: $157.1 150.9 155.4 159.3 190.3
Charge Volume: $ 95.5 85.4 93.6 93.9 96.0
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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