Charge-Offs Plunge 400 bps in Jan

As expected, credit card charge-offs plunged in January following the tidal wave of personal bankruptcies that hit the industry in the fall. Compared to December, charge-offs among credit card-backed bonds dropped a stunning 400 basis points. According to Moody’s Investor Services’ “Credit Card Credit Indices”, charge-offs declined to 3.21% in January compared to 7.25% in December and 5.68% one-year ago. The December period was an all-time industry high. However, delinquency among credit card ABS rose slightly in January to 3.40%, compared to 3.25% in December. Last year delinquency stood at 4.37%.

CREDIT CARD ABS CHARGE-OFFS
Jun 05: 5.88%
Jul 05: 5.83%
Aug 05: 5.69%
Sep 05: 5.39%
Oct 05: 6.85%
Nov 05: 6.79%
Dec 05: 7.25%
Jan 06: 3.21%
Source: Moody’s Investor Services

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FDC Renews Associated Banc Contract

Wisconsin-based Associated Banc-Corp has renewed its agreement for First Data to provide processing services for credit cards connected to Associated’s home equity line of business as well as general business credit cards. In addition to card processing, First Data will continue to provide statement printing and mailing, plastics personalization, and fraud and risk monitoring tools. First Data is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide.

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BofA ePayables Solution Gathers Steam

Bank of America says its new “ePayables Solution” is now in full production. The solution shifts accounts payable disbursements to corporate purchasing cards. BofA says the number of deployments for the new service has far exceeded its targets. Enabled by “Active Card Integration” capabilities, “ePayables” allows organizations to integrate with their existing accounts payable processes to replace the back-end payment with a secure card payment. “ePayables,” part of the Works solution recently acquired by BofA, is available through Bank of America Global Treasury Services.

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First Cooperative Expands CO-OP Deal

St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union, the nation’s first cooperative financial institution, has signed an agreement to begin processing and switching all of its transactions through CO-OP Network. The New Hampshire-based credit union, which has utilized CO-OP Network for ATM network access since 2001, will expand its services with the EFT processor to include full-processing, while continuing to provide its members with access to more than 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs. St. Mary’s Bank currently boasts more than $600 million in assets, more than 69,000 members and is New Hampshire’s second largest credit union.

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HSBC Renews RoomStore Card Program

Dallas-based RoomStore, with more than 70 stores in nine states and an annual sales of more than $330 million, has renewed its private label credit card program with HSBC Retail Services. Under terms of the agreement, HSBC Retail Services will continue to provide RoomStore with customized financing solutions for the company’s private label credit card program. Enhancements to the private label credit program include the installation of credit application kiosks in five RoomStore locations. Customers simply use a touch screen to apply for the RoomStore credit card. In less than two minutes, HSBC notifies customers whether they have been approved and a credit line is given immediately so the customer knows exactly how much purchasing power they have.

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ABA Endorses LexisNexis InstantID

Florida-based LexisNexis has received an exclusive endorsement on all “InstantID” products from the American Bankers Association. The InstantID family of products are tools for verifying the identity of a person or business to help financial institutions manage new account applicants, comply with the USA PATRIOT Act and avoid regulatory fines. InstantID searches multiple databases – containing 4 billion consumer and 300 million business records – for information that can verify and validate a person’s or business’ identity.

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Citibank Handlowy Launches Debit Scholarship Card

Citibank Handlowy has launched the first “VISA Debit Scholarship” card in Poland using Card Tech Limited’s prepaid technology. The card,
which was issued together with the Higher School of Public
Administration in Bialystok, will enable students to access their
scholarship funds through ATM and POS terminals connected to the VISA
network. CTL solutions include card issuance, merchant acquiring,
authorisation, message switching, encryption key and PIN management,
e-commerce and fraud management. Citibank Handlowy has more than 160 branches.

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Barclaycard Sends Text Messages to Cardholders

Barclaycard has launched a new text alert service to remind its 9 million UK customers that their monthly payment is due. The service, which is provided free to all cardholders, will send a text payment reminder five working days before the monthly due date. In addition to the new service, Barclaycard will make changes to customer statements later this year to include messages for customers who regularly make minimum payments. The messages will highlight the advantages of repaying a higher amount each month and the current warnings about making minimum repayments will be moved from the back of the statement to the front. Messages for customers regularly paying late will offer the option of moving the billing date.

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AccountMate Integrates PPI Payments

Newark, CA-based Payment Processing has teamed with AccountMate Software Corporation to offer an integrated payment processing solution for the AccountMate family of accounting application solutions. Through PPI, AccountMate customers have a complete solution for integrated credit card processing that includes credit card processing, 24/7/365 free technical and administrative support for both credit card processing software and transaction issues, configuration, testing and training and competitive pricing for merchant accounts. Payment Processing provides integrated payment processing solutions. AccountMate develops and markets fully modifiable, source code accounting software for mid-sized businesses.

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Mizuho Bank Sells UC Card Stake to DoCoMo

Mizuho Bank has agreed to sell its 18% stake in UC Card
to communications giant NTT DoCoMo for 1 billion yen. The deal also calls for UC Card and Mizuho Bank to expand DoCoMo’s “iD” mobile phone payment system. Under terms of the deal, Mizuho Bank will upgrade the function of the “Mizuho Mileage Club Card,” an ATM card with credit card functions issued by Credit Saison, to enable cardholders to make credit card purchases via their mobile phones. Credit Saison also agreed to give their credit card owners the option of making payments via “iD.”
Credit Saison intends to issue the new cards later this year.

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