73% of Consumers are Concerned About ID Theft

More than one-quarter of Canadians say they or someone they know has been a victim of identity theft. Nearly three in ten Canadians say that while they hear a lot about identity theft they are not sure what it means. The findings come from Capital One Canada’s second annual identity theft survey which also found that 36% of Canadians say they would not know who to call or what steps to take to restore their name and credit if they were a victim of identity theft. Concern over identity theft has led Canadians to be more guarded about their personal information. Over half say concern has led to the use or purchase of a shredder, while 92% of concerned Canadians say they now review, rather than toss away, their monthly financial statements and pay closer attention to the way merchants handle their credit and/or debit
card when shopping. In spite of increased vigilance, over half of
Canadians do not review their credit report at least once per year to check for errors or unfamiliar activity.

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Bankruptcy Filings Slowly But Surely Rise

Bankruptcy filings rose for the fifth consecutive month in October, now averaging about 14,000 per week compared to approximately 8,000 filings per week in the fourth quarter of last year. One-year ago filings averaged 35,000 per week, prior to the full implementation of the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.” During October filings topped to 57,000, the highest level since October 2005 when the reforms went into effect. The number of filings in the first and second quarter of 2006 is the lowest number of quarterly filings in the last 20 years. Through the first nine months of 2006 bankruptcy filings have exceeded 400,000 and will likely hit 600,000 by year’s end.

MONTHLY FILINGS
Jan 06: 34,411
Feb 06: 39,636
Mar 06: 42,724
Apr 06: 44,989
May 06: 43,780
Jun 06: 46,620
Jul 06: 48,849
Aug 06: 54,937
Sep 06: 56,412
Oct 06: 57,566
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Bankruptcy Reform Success is Controversial

While the nation’s President is reeling from the defeat in Iraq and dealing with a “lame duck” presidency with a Democratic Congress, he is still receiving some support in Congress today over his very controversial bankruptcy reform law, enacted one-year ago. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts are holding a hearing on the “success” of the new law. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys says the hearing is like “slapping some lipstick on the pig” of the 2005 bankruptcy reform law changes. Among those testifying: Steve Bartlett, president, Financial Services Roundtable; Clifford White, acting director, Executive Office for United States Trustee; and Professor Todd Zywicki, George Mason University School of Law. The NACBA notes that Bartlett represents banks and credit card companies; White is more interested in protecting big corporations from consumers; and Zywicki stood virtually alone among law professors in support of the legislation.

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Pay By Touch Acquires Green Stamps Company

San Francisco-based Pay By Touch has acquired S&H Solutions and its parent company S&H greenpoints for more than $100 million in cash and stock. S&H Solutions is a provider of customer-based loyalty marketing and retail solutions, investing over $200 million dollars into developing the company’s real-time marketing technologies, including a highly sophisticated analytical engine that enables retailers to deliver one- to-one consumer messages in-store through multiple proprietary platforms. S&H Solutions’ suite of services also includes the “S&H greenpoints Reward Program,” the digital reinvention of the Sperry & Hutchinson Company’s “Green Stamps,” the nation’s first loyalty marketing program.

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Euronet Founder Out; New Executives In

KS-based Euronet Worldwide confirms that Daniel Henry will resign his role as president and COO at the end of the year. Henry co-founded Euronet 12 years ago with Mike Brown, who serves as the Company’s chairman and CEO. Euronet also announced three key management appointments Larry Fogelson, Steve Adams and Karyn Clewes Zaborny. Larry Fogelson, formerly with First Data, was named as managing director of Euronet’s Veloz money transfer business. Steve Adams, formerly COO of Barclaycard’s International division, joins as director of operations of Euronet’s EMEA EFT business segment. Karyn Clewes Zaborny, formerly with Swiss Re will become SVP/Human Resources. Last month, Euronet Worldwide acquired Los Angeles-based RIA Envia, the third-largest global consumer-to-consumer remittance company. The Company also recently posted third quarter revenues of $161.7 million, an 18% increase over 3Q/05. Net income rose 17% to $10.4 million, compared to the third quarter 2005. (CF Library 10/25/06; 11/22/06)

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TSYS to Process Rabobank’s Credit Portfolio

Rabobank has entered an agreement with TSYS to process its consumer-credit portfolio. The multi-stage conversion of Rabobank’s one million accounts to the “TS2” platform is scheduled to conclude in the second quarter of 2007. Once complete, TSYS will be the leading credit-card processor in The Netherlands. Under the agreement, TSYS also will support the newly introduced “World Wildlife Fund for Nature” credit card. Rabobank Group has approximately 1.5 million members, 9 million business and private customers.

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CAMCO Settles FTC Debt Collection Charges

Capital Acquisitions and Management Corp. a/k/a CAMCO has agreed to pay $1 million to settle FTC charges of unfair and deceptive debt collection practices. The settlement also contains certain record keeping and bookkeeping provisions to allow the agency to monitor compliance with its order. This stipulated final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.

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Canadians to Spend $930 Holiday Gifts

The eighth annual VISA Canada gift-giving survey shows that 22 million Canadians plan to spend an average of $930 on gifts this holiday season. Conducted by Maritz Research, the study shows that 87% intend to tackle their lists at local stores, significantly more shoppers with Internet access and a credit card will turn to e-retailers than in previous holiday seasons (23% vs 18% in 2005). To date, Canadians have already spent $2.8 billion on their VISA cards during the peak holiday shopping season (November 21-November 27). For the eighth year in a row, clothing is the most popular gift for friends and family. Gift cards and gift certificates moved up from fourth to second spot this year, tied with toys as likely gifts to exchange.

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