DUBAI MARATHON VISA

Dubai-based Standard Chartered Bank has launched another sports affinity credit card. The new “Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2006 VISA” offers cardholders free entry into the three kilometer fun race as well as fitness and health-related benefits. Special benefits accruing to cardholders include: a free HR2G06 Speed heart rate, calorie and fat burn monitor watch worth AED 500; a trial voucher for the Griffins Health Club at the JW Marriott Dubai as well as discounts at the health club and at the hotel’s Champions outlet; vouchers for complimentary classes and discounts at the Artistic Yoga Centre, great discounts at all Paris Gallery Day Spas throughout the UAE and a free “VISA Mini Supplementary Classic Credit Card.” A social benefit of the card is that for each one activated, Standard Chartered will donate AED25 to its “Seeing Is Believing” charity, which aims to restore the sight of one million blind people over the next three years. Other Standard Chartered credit cards include cards for golfers, soccer fans, the small-to-medium-business sector and the UAE’s huge cricket
following.

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American Express Cards Enter Cambodia

Cambodia Mekong Bank Public and American Express have launched the first “MekongBank American Express Gold Credit Card” for the Cambodian market. MekongBank will issue AmEx cards in US dollars. The new card will be targeted at the higher end of the market. The American Express Foundation made two recent grants totaling $115,000 to the World Monuments Fund to support preservation and planning initiatives for Phnom Bakheng at Angkor and the Banteay Chhmar Temple of Jayavarman VII. Under terms of the deal, MekongBank will be responsible for all operations in support of the new credit cards, including customer service, marketing, billing and accounting, credit management and charge authorizations. In addition, MekongBank will be responsible for providing services to local merchants accepting American Express Cards and for signing up new merchant partners.

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Life Takes VISA Ad Campaign to Launch

VISA USA this morning launched its first new brand campaign in 20 years. The “Life Takes VISA” campaign ads will premier on February 10th during the “Opening Ceremony” of the “XX Olympic Winter Games.” Beginning February 13th, six Olympic-themed television ads will be introduced during broadcast coverage of the “Games.” In the first three months of the campaign, VISA expects to generate more than 4 billion consumer impressions through national broadcast, magazines and newspapers, high-traffic Web sites, public transit media and billboards. In addition to national exposure, the campaign will be highlighted through outdoor ads in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. In allocating spending for the ads, VISA says it is shifting the media mix to include more outdoor advertising, stronger emphasis in the Hispanic market and POS reminders. The “Life Takes VISA” platform will combine VISA’s updated brand mark and new card design announced last year. Los Angeles-based TBWAChiatDay helped VISA develop the ads and will serve as VISA’s new agency partner on the campaign. VISA says the new campaign reflects its evolution from a top credit card company to the leader in electronic payments. The new website [www.lifetakesvisa.com][1] will be available this Friday.

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

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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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