EMC Acquires Acxiom’s Information Grid Software

Massachusetts-based EMC Corporation has acquired AR-based Acxiom’s information grid software for an aggregate $30 million and has signed a technology and distribution partnership deal. Under the terms of the agreement, EMC and Acxiom will jointly develop and market an information grid solution to customers as a hosted offering from Acxiom. Additionally, EMC has purchased information grid software from Acxiom, and over time, EMC and Acxiom plan to integrate relevant systems, software, services and data from both companies into a complete product-based information grid solution for customers to deploy within their own enterprise. Acxiom integrates data, services and technology to provide customer and information management solutions.

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EFMARK Premium Armored & Bantek West Merge

EFMARK Premium Armored is merging with Bantek West to create the nation’s largest provider of ATM services for financial institutions. Chicago-based The Edgewater Funds, a minority shareholder in Bantek, will help fund the merger and will become a minority shareholder in the combined company. The companies will operate as wholly owned subsidiaries of a newly formed holding company that will continue to be owned by current shareholders of the companies. The merged companies enhances EFMARK’s “Managed ATM Services” package by consolidating all services under a single provider.

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New Report Highlights Innovative Bank Cards

Paris-based Publi-News and Altenor Consulting have released a report presenting 240 bank or co-branded cards from across the world with innovative qualities that include loyalty systems such as reward programs, services linked to cards and targeted marketing benefit programs, materials used in card production and technological advances that aid in fraud prevention and identify consumer purchasing patterns.

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Chase to Deploy 1,300 Diebold Opteva ATMs

Chase plans to deploy more than 1,300 of Diebold’s “Opteva” ATMs in its network. The deal includes Diebold’s “Opteva” cash dispensers and advanced-function terminals. The ATMs will be used in new branch and off-premises locations, as well as for the replacement of existing ATMs. An associated service agreement is also included in the agreement. Chase recently launched a pilot of Diebold’s deposit automation technology — including Diebold’s “Intelligent Depository Module” and “Bulk Note Acceptor” — at its operations center in Columbus, Ohio. Chase has a network of more than 7,100 ATMs in 19 states.

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Prime ABS Charge-Offs Spike to 7.52% in Oct

The recent surge in bankruptcies drove charge-offs among credit card-backed securities higher during the October collection period for both prime and sub-prime portfolios. For October, charge-offs in the “prime” asset-backed credit card securities market increased 180 basis points to 7.52%. “Sub-prime” charge-offs rose by 161 basis points to 12.34%. One-year ago, “prime” charge-offs were 6.08% and “sub-prime” charge-offs stood at 14.94%. According to the latest “Fitch Credit Card Index,” “prime” delinquency (60+ days) declined to 2.54% in October. “Sub-prime” delinquency (60+days) for October rose 23 basis points to 6.76%, but continues to hover at the lowest level in four years. Fitch notes that personal bankruptcy filings remain at subnormal levels after spiking in mid-October. For the month of November, weekly filings were less than 5,000, whereas prior to the reform and spike, weekly median filings were about 35,000 in 2005.

ABS CHARGE-OFF HISTORICAL
Month Prime Sub-Prime
Oct 04: 6.08% 14.94%
Sep 05: 5.72% 10.73%
Oct 05: 7.52% 12.34%
Source: Fitch Ratings

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AutoZone Stores to Use TeleCheck Services

AutoZone’s 3,592 stores nationwide are now using the TeleCheck “Electronic Check Acceptance” service and the TeleCheck “Guarantee” service. The TeleCheck ECA service converts a paper check issued by the consumer into an electronic item, and settles funds using the same system many consumers trust with automatically deposited paychecks. By removing the paper from the transaction, the ECA service eliminates the back office support traditionally required by a merchant for deposits and returns.

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Credit Card Debt Falls to 3.7% of Total Credit

Research and Markets has released its first country specific report on the Australian cards market. Relative to total household credit, credit card debt has actually fallen in percentage terms. At the end of 2004 balances outstanding on credit and cards accounted for 3.7% of total household credit, down from 4.0% at the end of 2002. Additionally, MasterCard has increased its market share over the 2002-2004 period, from 28.9% in 2002. The report breaks down data on plastic card markets in Australia by scheme and by issuer. It also analyzes competitor strategies and presents a series of forecasts of plastic card markets in
Australia for the period 2005-2009.

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One in Five Interact With Bank via ATMs

A new survey has found that 80% of consumers indicate they visited their bank branch at least once a month and 43% visit a branch at least once a week. Twenty percent of consumers said they interact most frequently online and another 20% interact most frequently through ATMs. The research by Deloitte’s Banking practice also found that competitive fees/rates rank very high in importance to consumers (#2 after keeping account information secure and protected). The study says access to a “real person” is key to customer service: while the call center is not the primary point of contact for 96% of customers, it is a very important secondary channel of interaction with a bank – often for problems and questions.

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PICTURE PERFECT VISA

London-based Serverside Group Limited has launched its “Picture Perfect VISA Card”
utilizing the new VISA branding, along with card personalization
technology for Utah-based America First Credit Union. The new VISA card
design standards involve switching the VISA dove hologram from the front
of the card to the back, with the hologram integrated into the magnetic
stripe, making card counterfeiting more difficult. The updated VISA
design allows America First members increased space on front of the card
to create an edge-to-edge, custom-image product. Serverside
develops innovative software solutions for issuers, personalization
bureaus and card manufacturers. America First Credit Union
is Utah’s largest credit union with $3.1 billion in assets.

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FDC’s Labry to Oversee Domestic Enterprise Payments

First Data says Scott Betts, president of Domestic Enterprise Payments, will leave the company within the next two months and be replaced by Ed Labry, currently president of the company’s Prepaid Services unit. Prior to his appointment as president of Prepaid Services in 2005, Labry was president of Concord EFS, Inc., a high-growth processing company, acquired by First Data in 2004.

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HSBC Renews Darvin Furniture Store Card Program

Chicago-based Darvin Furniture has extended its agreement with HSBC North America to manage its private label credit card program. The new contract extends a business relationship that began in 1974 by providing private label credit financing for Darvin Furniture customers. The credit card allows cardholders to take advantage of exclusive deferred financing, low monthly payments and special sale offers. Darvin Furniture is recognized as one of the top 100 furniture stores in America.

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