PayPro Names a Chief Executive Officer

Texas-based PayPro has named Jack Brown, currently serving as Secretary of PayPro and Chairman/CEO of ChexCard, as the new CEO. Mr. Brown has been aggressively pursuing loan commitments for ChexCard to finance the Company’s long-term growth strategies. He is currently engaged in direct discussions with several Central and South American financial institutions that have shown significant interest in providing financing packages for ChexCard. PayPro stored value debit cards are sold under the brand names CHEXCARD and MYBANKCARD to businesses, governmental agencies and individuals.

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OPC Signs Cobb County, Georgia

Official Payments has signed an agreement with the Cobb County, Georgia Tax Commissioner’s Office to provide electronic tax payment processing services. Official Payments charges citizens a convenience fee for the service, however, taxpayers using credit or debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards. Tier is a leading provider of transaction processing and packaged software and systems integration services for public sector clients.

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Encore Buys a Bankruptcy Services Firm

San Diego-based consumer charge-off management specialist, Encore Capital Group announced the acquisition of Ascension Capital Group, a provider of bankruptcy services to the finance industry. The deal is comprised of $17.8 million in cash, $4.0 million in common stock and assumption of approximately $450,000 in debt. Last year, Ascension generated revenue of $12.3 million and is expected to hit $14.2 million this year. Ascension’s services include negotiating consumer bankruptcy plans; monitoring and managing the consumer’s compliance with bankruptcy plans; and recommending courses of action to clients when there is a deviation from a bankruptcy plan. Erich Ramsey, Ascension Capital Group’s founder and CEO, and other senior managers have signed employment agreements with Encore. Encore posted $53.8 million in second quarter revenues, a 23% increase over 2Q/04, according to CardData.

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U.S. ATM Annual Operating Costs to Rise

A new study estimates that U.S. financial institutions will spend over $3.3 billion this year in total operational costs (including asset depreciation) for their on-premise and off-premise ATM fleets. Montreal-based Celent projects the figure will reach $3.9 billion by 2008. In its report, “ATM: Strategies for Lowering Total Cost of Ownership,” Celent examines two frameworks that it believes to be key trends in ATM operations. The first is a trend of banks outsourcing significant portions of their ATM operations-driven by a desire for cost savings, cost certainty, and service consistency. The second framework reviewed is a trend toward branding of third-party ATMs by financial institutions.

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Citi Launches the Credit-ED Challenge

Citi has launched the “Credit-ED Challenge,” a one-hour, interactive, free financial education workshop to be delivered to campuses across the country. The Credit-ED Challenge helps students look at their spending habits and attitudes towards money, put a budget together, understand the importance of credit history and give guidance to use credit responsibly. Students can also take the Credit-ED Challenge on-line at their own pace. Citi has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing a broad range of financial products and services.

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MasterCard Launches Get Wired Campaign

MasterCard has launched its “Get Wired” sweepstakes for business cardholders. The sweepstakes is one component of a larger global “Get Wired” campaign that will run into 2006. To support the U.S. “Get Wired” campaign, MasterCard plans to roll-out new broadcast, print and online “priceless” advertising that highlights the difference technology can make for small businesses. A new television commercial titled “Flex” launches this week and will be featured during television broadcasts of this year’s World Series. The sweepstakes provides all “MasterCard BusinessCard” and “Debit MasterCard BusinessCard” cardholders with a chance to win one of three $50,000 technology makeovers for their small business, including a technology expert to help put it all together. Business cardholders will automatically be entered into the sweepstakes with each card transaction between September 1st and November 30th. Sweepstakes will also launch this year in the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Canada and extend to other countries in 2006.

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Hypercom Decides on its CEO and Chairman

Hypercom has named William Keiper as CEO and President, effective immediately. Keiper, a member of the Board since April 2000, had been serving as Chairman, interim CEO and President since March 30th. Christopher Alexander, the former Chairman and CEO of the Company, retired at the end of March. Hypercom also announced the election of Daniel Diethelm as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Diethelm has served as a director of the Company since January 2004 and currently serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Board. He also previously served as a Hypercom director from August 2001 to May 2003.

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Chase to Acquire Sears Canada Portfolio

Chase has inked an agreement to acquire Sears Canada’s US$2.1 billion credit card portfolio for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes both its private-label Sears credit card accounts (US$1.9 billion) and its co-branded “Sears MasterCard” (US$200 million) Totally, the Sears Canada portfolio has about 10 million gross accounts and four million active accounts. It is the third largest credit card portfolio in Canada. When the transaction closes, Chase will manage operating centers in four Canadian locations with approximately 1,000 employees. Sears Canada announced in June it was looking to unload its Credit and Financial Services unit. Goldman, Sachs advised Sears Canada on the sale. (CFI Library 6/14/05)

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EFMARK Premium Armored Joins NCR’s ASSP

EFMARK Premium Armored has joined NCR’s “Authorized Sales & Service Provider” program which gives EFMARK access to NCR’s authorized parts, diagnostic software tools and documentation, training programs and other NCR intellectual property required to service NCR machines. A particular area of focus for EFMARK is the move to Windows-based ATM software. EFMARK Premium Armored is the nation’s largest “ATM only” service company, providing financial institutions with a single-source solution for ATM equipment and overall ATM program management.

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Merchant Link Certifies HYC IN-tact 1101

Hypercom announced that its “IN-tact 1101” converter device for Internet-enabling legacy Hypercom POS terminals has been certified for use on the Merchant Link “siteNET” Internet Gateway. The IN-tact 1101 is a compact hardware device that allows the retailer to connect up to 16 Hypercom T- or ICE-series terminals to the Internet quickly and easily over a DSL, cable modem or VPN connection. Merchant Link provides solutions and support to the integrated point-of-sale industry, including high-end technical support and data transport services to more than 20,000 clients. Hypercom provides card payment terminal, network access device, server and transaction networking solutions.

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GE Applies for GE Money Bank Canada

GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY

APPLICATION TO ESTABLISH A BANK

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to subsection 25(2) of the Bank Act (Canada), that General Electric Company intends to apply to the Minister of Finance for letters patent incorporating a bank to carry on the business of banking in Canada.

The bank will carry on business in Canada under the name GE Money Bank Canada in English and Banque GE Money du Canada in French, and its principal office will be located in Mississauga, Ontario.

Any person who objects to the proposed order may submit an objection in writing to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, 255 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H2, on or before October 10, 2005.

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JULY CARD DEBT

Credit card outstandings slowly rebounded to a record GBP 55.9 billion
during July, but remain flat compared to one year ago. In April,
seasonally adjusted credit card loans actually dipped for the first time
since May 1994. The increase in total net lending to individuals in July
(GBP 7.7 billion) was lower than in June and lower than the previous six
month average. The increase in consumer credit (GBP 1.2 billion) was
weaker than June’s figures. Within this, both net credit card lending
and net other loans were weaker than in June and their respective
previous six month averages. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy
Committee met August 4th to reduce the Bank’s repo rate by 0.25
percentage points to 4.5%.

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