BofA/MBNA Global Card Profits Up 66%

The merged Bank of America and MBNA reported their first quarter together shows more than $2.0 billion in pre-tax profit for their global card services business, a 66% gain over 1Q/05 and more than double the prior quarter. Managed card loans at the end of the first quarter increased 5% year-on-year to $185.3 billion. The issuer says more than 3.1 million Bank of America and MBNA cards were issued in the quarter. First quarter credit card charge-offs were 3.12%, compared to 7.01% in the prior quarter and 5.06% one year ago. The managed 30+ day delinquency was 4.54%, compared to 4.05% in the fourth quarter and 4.57% for 1Q/05. BofA also reported that its merchant acquiring business handled $88.4 billion in processing volume during the first quarter from total transactions of 1.9 billion. BofA now includes consumer finance, international card operations and merchant services in reporting Card Services. For complete details on Bank of America’s 1Q/06 performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

BOFA/MBNA EOP CARD LOAN HISTORICAL
1Q/05: $174.8 billion
2Q/05: $176.9 billion
3Q/05: $182.9 billion
4Q/05: $189.4 billion
1Q/06: $185.3 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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StoresOnline Pro v5.0 is Released

Utah-based StoresOnline has released “StoresOnline Pro v5.0” which offers a simplified format enabling greater ease of access for repeat customers and is much easier to navigate than its predecessor. Its expanded offerings are extensive and include comprehensive “how to” outlines of various marketing techniques like search engine optimization, using vertical portals and planning PPC campaigns. StoresOnline is an e-services company that offers e-commerce technology, training and a variety of Web-based technology services to help small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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Home Equity Factor to Fade This Year

The siphoning-off of credit card debt to home equity loans appears to be slowing. A new poll has found that 71% of consumers believe that a housing bubble and collapse of prices could occur in the U.S. within the next year. The latest “Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index” also found that one third of homeowners have a home-equity loan or line of credit. The main reason, mentioned by 43% of borrowers, was to finance home improvements, while 10% cited debt consolidation as the reason for such a loan. About 4% of borrowers mentioned credit card debt. Over the next six months, about 10% of all consumers expect to borrow money to buy or refinance their homes.

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Chase Card Profits Soar 73% Y/Y

J.P. Morgan Chase reported this morning that first quarter credit card profits nearly tripled from the prior quarter and rose 73% over the year ago quarter to $901 million. The profit surge was driven by a pre-tax benefit of $550 million provision related to the impact of lower bankruptcies in the prior quarter. In addition, overall lower credit losses, merger savings and higher loan balances, including the acquisition of the Sears Canada credit card business helped drive the record profits for 1Q/06. Managed card loans of $134.3 billion were up 1% year-on-year. Charge volume of $74.3 billion increased by $4.0 billion or 6% over 1Q/05. Net accounts opened were 2.7 million, about the same as 1Q/05. Merchant processing volume of $147.7 billion increased 18% year-on-year and total transactions of 4.1 billion increased by 19%. The managed net charge-off rate for the quarter decreased to 2.99%, down from 4.83% in the prior year and 6.39% in the prior quarter. The 30-day managed delinquency rate was 3.10%, down from 3.54% in the prior year and up from 2.79% in the prior quarter. For complete details on Chase’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

JPM CHASE HISTORICAL ($billions)
1Q/05 2Q/05 3Q/05 4Q/05 1Q/06
EOP Outstandings: $133.4 137.3 137.6 142.3 134.3
Charge Volume: $ 70.3 75.6 76.4 79.6 74.3
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Fortis and An Post Sign Joint Venture

Fortis and An Post have announced that they have signed a Memorandum of
Understanding to create a joint venture
with a view to providing financial services in Ireland through An Post’s
network of 1,450 post offices. An Post manages a network of 1,450 post
offices nationwide, a fleet of 2,900 vehicles and 4,500 post boxes.
Fortis has a market capitalization of EUR 38.3 billion.

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Hypercom Unveils Optimum M4100 Blade

Hypercom has unveiled the first high-security palm-sized 32-bit wireless credit/debit terminal with signature capture touch screen. The new “Optimum M4100 Blade” weighs 7.1 ounces and measuring 4.9 inches long, 2.7 inches wide, and 1.15 inches deep. It is also Wi-Fi, GPRS and Bluetooth-equipped. An optional clip-on printer with speeds of 12 lines per second (lps), delivering 100 two-receipt transactions per reloadable packet is also available. Additionally, it offers easy recharging and dial back-up by simply plugging into any wall socket or optional docking station with optional communication modules for downloads and transaction back-up via V.90 modem or Ethernet.

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DEBIT VS CASH

For the first time debit cards have overtaken cash as the most popular way to pay for retail purchases in the UK. Based on figures for 2005, debit cards captured 37% of the GBP 240 billion in total retail spending. Cash usage for retail purchases dropped 4% from 2004 to GBP 81 billion, according to APACS, the UK payments association. Credit card retail spending remained flat last year at GBP 61 billion. Overall, plastic card retail spending rose 5% over the past year capturing 71% of the total pie. The use of cheques dropped 14% last year. Retail spending includes all transactions on the high street and online.

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Scotiabank Expands Latin American Card Portfolio

Scotiabank is expanding its operations in the Caribbean and Central America with the acquisition of Citibank’s retail banking business in the Dominican Republic. The acquisition consolidates Scotiabank’s position as the Dominican Republic’s fifth-largest private bank by assets, with 57 bank branches, 75 automated banking machines and more than 1,000 employees. Scotiabank will continue a co-branding
agreement with American Airlines, giving it exclusive rights to issue
American’s “AAdvantage” travel awards program co-branded cards in the
country. Scotiabank has US$285 billion in assets.

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