WFG & AGRIFINANCIAL

Western Financial Group has signed a share purchase agreement with C.A.
Bancorp Inc, from which it will acquire AgriFinancial Canadafor an
estimated purchase price of $20.5 million. A lender to agribusiness of
Western Canada, namely for term loans to farmers for the purchase/lease
of farm equipment, AgriFinancial provides over 25,000 farmers with its
“AgriCard” specialty credit card designed for acceptance at more than
750 agricultural merchants. The transaction is expected to close during
4Q/08, will add nearly $90 million to Bank West’s loan book and remains
subject to certain conditions, consents, regulatory approvals, discharge
of AgriFinancial’s existing credit facilities, completion of certain
transaction documents, review and satisfaction with prior acquisition
documents. The Western Financial Group financial provides its services
and banking in over 90 communities for more than 450,000 individuals and
businesses.

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SunTrust and Vesdia Ink a Loyalty Program Deal

Loyalty marketer Vesdia Corporation has been chosen by SunTrust Banks to help
enhance the bank’s debit and credit card loyalty programs through
Vesdia’s merchant network and partnership marketing services.
The enhanced SunTrust rewards program will provide cardholders with
additional rewards-earning opportunities with thousands of leading
national and local retailers. In addition to earning SunPoints on
transactions, cardholders will be able to take advantage of bonus
SunPoints, discounts and special offer opportunities with more than
150,000 brick and mortar locations, service providers, catalogs and gift
cards, and more than 750 online retailers. The partnership also offers merchants unique marketing benefits. Through
targeted promotions to SunTrust cardholders and more than 30 million
consumers in Vesdia managed loyalty programs, participating merchants
gain access to new customers while driving increased basket size and
repeat purchases from existing customers. SunTrust had total assets of $177.4 billion and total deposits of $119.8
billion as of June 30, 2008.

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Consumer Confidence Continues to Rebound

U.S. consumer economic confidence continues to rebound as the prices of
oil and gasoline slipped down 30% and 12%, respectively. Also, the
bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac along with the hopefulness of
government change promoted at the recent Republican and Democratic
conventions, signals more consumer confidence is building. The latest
“RBC CASH Index” advanced for the second consecutive month, climbing 35
points to stand at 69.2, compared to 33.8 in August. The “RBC
Expectations Index” rose to 76.3 from its -4.7 reading in August. The
RBC Current Conditions Index improved markedly in September to 55.2,
compared to 36.7 in August. The “RBC Jobs Index” rose by only 9.7 points
in September to 95.5, compared to 85.8 last month. RBC noted that more
than four in ten consumers believe the next month will be a good time to
buy real estate, versus 41% last month.

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U.S. Retail Sales Grow Weaker in August 08

The National Retail Federation reports that the retail industry sales
for August (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants)
decreased 0.3% month-to-month and increased 1.1% over last year. The
Commerce Department data show that total retail sales (which include
non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and
restaurants) decreased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from the previous month
and decreased 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at general
merchandise stores decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted from July, but
increased 4.6% unadjusted over last August. Electronics and
appliance stores sales decreased 1.3% seasonally adjusted
month-to-month and decreased 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

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1/3+ IRS Rebate Checks Go to Credit Card Debt

A new poll reveals that the much anticipated IRS rebate check for
taxpayers was used by 36% of taxpayers to reduce credit cards debt. The
Harris Poll found that 45% of Americans believed
these checks would help stimulate the economy, however, 52% say spending the checks did not stimulate the economy.
Some other findings include 52% of Republicans say rebate checks did
stimulate the economy while 61% of Democrats and 56% of Independents say that it did not and 70% of
Americans with incomes of $34,999 or less and
70% with incomes of $75,000 or more say they received a check, with 86% with incomes of between $35,000 and $49,999
87% and between $50,000 and $74,999 say they received rebate checks.

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GuestLogix Lands the US Air In-Flight Contract

US Airways has
selected the GuestLogix Mobile Virtual Store solution to grow a la carte
sales on-board its domestic and international flights. The GuestLogix
solution will facilitate cash, credit and debit card sales for US
Airways In-Flight Café and A la Carte beverage menu. The GuestLogix
devices will allow US Airways flight attendants to
record cash and complimentary items, print receipts and automate
inventory tracking. The agreement
adds potentially 58 million passenger trips annually to the GuestLogix
network.

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Rite Aid Joins the MC PayPass Revolution

One of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with approximately 5,000
stores in 31 states is now accepting MasterCard “PayPass” contactless
payments. Rite Aid will accept “PayPass” at 3,800 of its
nearly 5,000 stores across the USA. There are nearly 37 million
MasterCard “PayPass” cards and devices in use in 24 countries, and
“PayPass” is currently accepted globally at more than 122,000 merchant
locations, including participating CVS, McDonald’s, Regal Entertainment
Group theaters and many others. “PayPass” is currently accepted within
several retail sectors where speed and convenience are critical factors,
such as quick-service restaurants, sports stadiums and arenas, movie
theaters, supermarkets, vending machines, and taxis.

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Consumer Debt Index Rises Sharply in 2Q/08

Soaring mortgage delinquency and consumer loan delinquency rates drove
the latest consumer debt index higher. Debt Settlement USA reports that
the “Consumer Debt Index” stood at 12.66 at the end of the second
quarter, up 7.3% since the end of the first quarter and nearly 32% since
the second quarter of last year. Debt Settlement USA say it expects to
see a 40% increase in the number of consumers in 2008 that turn to debt
settlement as the best solution to help them deal with financial
hardship. The “CDI” is calculated each quarter by adding the quarterly
average of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s monthly “Consumer Price
Index,” the Federal Reserve’s quarterly average of consumer credit
outstandings, and the Federal Reserve’s quarterly mortgage delinquency
and unsecured consumer loan delinquency rates.

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TD CIRCUIT CITY CARD

NJ-based TD Retail Card Services has acquired the private label credit card program of InterTan Canada which operates under the banner of “The Source By Circuit City.” TD Retail Card Services, formerly known as Shoppers Charge Accounts, says it will add a customer loyalty program, “Source Rewards,” to the Canadian under which cardholders will have the opportunity to earn reward certificates. TD says it will also offer a variety of special financing options, including three-, six- and
12-month deferred payment plans, as well as a 16-month deferred payment
plan during special promotions. According to CardFlash International,
the card will be distributed through 775 corporate stores and dealer
outlets throughout Canada and online. TD Retail Card Services is a
division of TD Banknorth.

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CARD PATROL

In response to the 800,000 consumer fraud/identity theft complaints the
Federal Trade Commission received in 2007, Affinion Security Center has
partnered with Davis + Henderson financial services to offer its “Card
Patrol” Identity Theft Protection Service to Canadian consumers. “Card
Patrol” provides account holders fraud prevention solutions with
real-time monitoring of the chat rooms where thieves buy and sell
payment card numbers. The Affinion customers can register up to 10 cards
for this service and receive instant e-notification of detected
suspicious activity involving any of the registered account numbers.
“Card Patrol” currently provides services such as this to the millions
of customers of 120 national, regional, and community banks and credit
unions in the United States and Canada.

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MOBICLEAR PIV

mobiclear Personal Identification Verification (PIV) solutions has
announced it will begin its commercial operations in the fourth quarter. With these operations, mobiclear intends to commercialize and
finance its PIV products to help eliminate credit and debit card fraud.
In conjunction with these announcements, mobiclear has also disclosed
financing agreements with Bastion, stipulating the latter provide the
former with a credit facility for Bastion payment. mobiclear offers a
range of solutions to credit card and debit card fraud based on its
patent-pending Personal Identification Verification system and products
to ensure against fraud in all electronic transactions.

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MoneySolutions Launches a Payroll MC

MoneySolutions International has introduced “The MoneySolutions Prepaid MasterCard”
enhanced direct deposit payroll card, issued by Meta Bank.
“The MoneySolutions Prepaid MasterCard” payroll
card was specifically designed to serve the unique financial needs of
so-called cash-based employees who do not maintain bank accounts.
Cardholders have immediate access to their payroll earnings at more than
one million worldwide ATM locations displaying the MasterCard, Maestro,
Cirrus or STAR Acceptance Marks. Payroll cards are gaining popularity as HR departments “go paperless” to
reduce costs and their overall environmental impact. Distributing wages
via the card also enables employers to realize substantial savings by
reducing bank processing and check-handling fees, curbing check printing
and reconciliation costs, and eliminating stop payment and lost/stolen
check replacement fees and protects against check fraud.

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