NCR Names a New Financial Solutions SVP

NCR has named Malcolm Collins as SVP of its Financial Solutions Division and Chris Wallace as SVP of the company’s Worldwide Customer Services Division. Previously, Collins was president of Enterprise Networks at Nortel Networks. In that role, he had end-to-end responsibility for all elements of Nortel’s Enterprise business, including business development, products, marketing and sales. Wallace has served as senior vice president of NCR’s Human Resources since January 2004. Prior to that, Wallace was vice president of global customer services for Teradata, a division of NCR. In that position, she led the integration and expansion of the software support and services business model into the division.

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GECF Names a New Consumer Finance-Europe Exec

GE Consumer Finance has named William Cary to president and CEO, GE Consumer Finance-Europe, effective March 1st. A 20-year veteran of General Electric, Cary most recently served as vice president, Corporate Investor Communications, a role he held since 2004. In his new role Cary will be responsible for a region comprising 24 countries with more than 22,000 employees and approximately 20 million customers. With approximately $70 billion in assets, GE Consumer Finance-Europe earned more than $1.3 billion in net income in 2005.

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National Consumer Protection Week Begins

The Federal Trade Commission has launched the eighth annual “National Consumer Protection Week.” The FTC also unveiled the “Grand Scam Challenge,” online interactive games that teach consumers about topics such as identity theft, the “National Do Not Call Registry” and spam. In conjunction with “National Consumer Protection Week,” VISA USA issued a list of cardholder protections it offers. For example, VISA says the new VISA card design makes card counterfeiting even more difficult by moving the VISA dove hologram to the back and integrating it with the magnetic stripe. VISA also touted its “Verified by Visa” program as another way to fight fraud.

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FAMS Acquired by Management and ACS

Atlanta-based Financial Asset Management Systems has been sold to management and American Capital Strategies with Kaulkin Ginsberg Company serving as Advisor. The acquisition of FAMS was completed in 2005 by American Capital, a publicly traded buyout and mezzanine fund with capital resources of approximately $7 billion, and the senior management team at FAMS. The terms of this transaction were not disclosed, however,all senior managers will remain with FAMS and have an equity stake in the business. Financial Asset Management Systems services clients predominantly in the financial services, government/education, and telecommunication/wireless industries. American Capital is a publicly traded buyout and mezzanine fund with capital resources of approximately $7 billion.

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GE Acquires the Hudson’s Bay Portfolio

The Canadian arm of GE Consumer Finance has acquired Hudson’s Bay Company credit card financial assets. The private label portfolio includes 3.1 million cardholders and has been on the market since October. After peaking in 2003, HBC’s credit card outstandings have been steadily declining due to lower store sales and higher customer payments. The deal announced today also includes a 10-year alliance under which GE Money will provide credit marketing and analytic support, credit servicing and customer care for Hbc’s retail cardholders. The acquisition will also include the transfer of approximately 650 Hbc employees directly involved in Hbc’s Financial Services business to GE Money. These employees will continue to work at their current locations, at operations centers in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. GE Money currently has 600 employees at its headquarters in Mississauga and its operations center in Edmonton. (CFI Library 10/7/05)

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TSYS Names a New ESC Loyalty President

TSYS has named Lars Holmquist, formerly with MasterCard, as president of ESC Loyalty after serving as ESC Loyalty’s EVP of business development and consulting since 2002. As vice president of Loyalty Consulting Services for MasterCard, he managed the U.S. business development and client management areas and consulted with many card issuers in designing and managing profitable reward programs. TSYS provides outsourced payment services.

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Asta Funding to Acquire VATIV Recovery

New Jersey-based Asta Funding has inked a deal to acquire TX-based VATIV Recovery Solutions, which provides nationwide bankruptcy and deceased account servicing. The acquisition is anticipated to close in the next two weeks. Financial terms were not disclosed. Asta Funding is a consumer receivable asset management company that specializes in the purchase, management and liquidation of performing and non-performing consumer receivables.

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MASTERCARD 4Q/05

Growth in MasterCard International’s gross dollar volume and purchase volume growth continued in double digits during the fourth quarter. Excluding online debit programs such as “Maestro,” the European region posted a 14.4% year-on-year increase in GDV as the South Asia/Middle East/Africa region soared by 57% and Latin America increased by 27%. Gross dollar volume of $445.8 billion was up 11.9% year-on-year while purchase volume increased 13.6% to $318.3 billion. Purchase transactions for the fourth quarter hit 4.50 billion, compared to 4.26 billion in the prior quarter. Globally, MasterCard has 749.3 million cards-in-force linked to 652.3 million accounts. The number of acceptance locations worldwide as of December 31st was 24.7 million compared to 23.9 million for the third quarter. For complete details on MasterCard’s fourth quarter results, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Card Balance Growth Sinks For the 5th Year

Growth in bank credit card outstandings continues to decline as the top ten issuers posted a paltry 2% gain for 2005, compared to 4% one-year ago and 11% five years ago. The steady decline has largely been attributed to the siphoning-off of balances from cards to home mortgage refinancing and a growing aversion to credit by consumers. During 2005, Citigroup, MBNA and Discover lost ground while American Express expanded U.S. card loans by 14%. Among the top issuers Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo posted the strongest organic growth rates of 2005, according to figures compiled by CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Top Ten U.S. Issuers
($ billions outstandings)
RANK/ISSUER 4Q/05 4Q/04 CHNG
1. Chase $142.3 $135.4 + 5.1%
2. Citi $113.7 $118.1 – 3.7%
3. MBNA $ 80.6 $ 82.1 – 1.8%
4. BofA $ 60.8 $ 58.6 + 3.8%
5. Cap One $ 49.5 $ 48.6 + 1.8%
6. AmEx* $ 45.7 $ 40.1 +14.0%
7. Disc** $ 44.3 $ 48.3 – 8.3%
8. HSBC $ 27.0 $ 22.2 +21.6%
9. WaMu $ 20.0 $ 18.5 + 8.1%
10. Wells $ 10.3 $ 9.8 + 5.1%
TOTAL $594.2 $581.7 + 2.1%
*AmEx excludes charge card (30-day credit) balances
** Discover figures for period ending 11/30/05
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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PDS Signs a Card Deal with a Church Group

Texas-based Payment Data Systems has signed a contract with TN-based Shelby Systems, which serves over 8500 faith-based organizations, to offer credit card payment options for ancillary services. Within the agreement, a church contacts Shelby, the software provider, and indicates an interest in providing credit card payment capability to the congregation. After receiving this notice of interest, Payment Data completes a contract with the church. The church can then begin processing credit cards using Shelby’s “e-Give” or “e-Registrations” software. Payment Data Systems is an integrated payment solutions provider to merchants and billers. Shelby Systems provides software to over 8500 churches and other faith-based organizations in over 40 countries.

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Prudential Gobbles Up Egg Card

The UK’s Egg announced that Paul Gratton, its Chief Executive, will leave Egg following Egg’s delisting from the London Stock Exchange on February 20th. On January 23rd, Prudential announced that its share ownership of Egg had risen to 96% and that it had applied to delist Egg on February 20th. Mark Nancarrow has been appointed CEO and will assume executive responsibility effective immediately. Kieran Coleman has been appointed Chief Financial Officer.

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Google’s GBuy Payment Service Plugs Along

Google continues to explore and expand its beta online payment service. The Wall Street Journal reports that for the last nine months, Google has recruited online retailers to test “GBuy.” The new consumer payment option will feature an icon posted alongside the paid-search ads of merchants. The WSJ also says GBuy will let consumers store their credit-card information on Google. Meanwhile, The New Scotsman reports that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, billionaire founders of Google, had their credit card denied at the Gula Gula restaurant in Ipanema for a $50 lunch tab. They were reportedly able to come up with another card to settle the tab. The denied card was not identified.

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