RBS Nabs a Former Chase Exec for Partnerships

RBS National Bank has named Matthew Mongoven as SVP of Partnership & Brand Management. Mongoven previously worked for Chase since 1999. At Chase, he was most recently VP/Marketing and Director of Chase Reward Products. Prior to Chase, he worked at General Electric Capital Corp in card services. RBS National Bank is the U.S. credit-card arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. In the U.S., RBS Group owns Citizens Financial Group, the RBS National Bank credit card business and Lynk Systems, a merchant acquirer. For more information on Mongoven, visit CardExecs ([www.cardexecs.com][1]).

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

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SCA to Support Transportation Smart Cards

The Smart Card Alliance, in association with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), announced the formation of the Transportation Council to support contactless inter-operable smart card use. The Council is open to participation from vendors and transit organizations and managed by a steering committee to include a broad spectrum of leaders from the transportation and smart card industries. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical public transportation services and products.

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Credit Cards Rise 13% as Debt Grows 3%

While the number of credit cards rose 13% last year, charge volume only grew 5% and revolving balances inched up a mere 3%. At the end of 2004, consumers in Singapore owed S$2.6 billion on 3.95 million credit cards. For the full year, charge volume topped S$14.0 billion. In December, charge volume was S$1.43 billion compared to S$1.37 billion for December 2003. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, credit card issuers wrote-off $196 million last year compared to $194 million in the prior year. The total number of cards in the country at year’s end included 2,985,973 primary cards and 946,784 supplementary cards.

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OCC – Bankers Need to Rethink Consumer Debt

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Julie Williams yesterday urged bankers to alter the way they think about consumer credit. She said the focus today for lenders is not so much on consumer loans being repaid, but on the loan as a perpetual earning asset. In other words, it’s not repayment of the amount of the debt that is the focus, but rather the income the credit relationship generates through periodic payments on the loan, associated fees and cross-selling opportunities. As a result, Williams said, American households are more highly leveraged than ever. Millions of Americans faithfully make minimum payments each month and make little progress in reducing their total debt. She said the practices associated with the new philosophy of retail lending have introduced risk elements not previously present in the banking system.

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AmeriDebt Shuts Down; Transfers DMPs

The FTC yesterday announced a settlement with AmeriDebt which includes shutting down its debt management operations and transferring all existing DMPs to a third party. The order requires the Company to file a plan of liquidation with the bankruptcy court. In addition, the order contains a judgment of $170 million. The settlement does not include the FTC’s case against AmeriDebt principals Andris and Pamela Pukke and its DebtWorks affiliate. In November 2003, the FTC charged that MD-based AmeriDebt was misrepresented as a nonprofit credit counseling organization, funneling profits to affiliated for-profit entities, including DebtWorks and Pukke. In June 2004, AmeriDebt filed for bankruptcy protection. The FTC says the firm deceived consumers into paying at least $170 million in hidden fees. (CF Library 11/20/03; 6/8/04)

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GPN Q Revenues Near $200MM; Income Up 31%

Atlanta-based Global Payments reported that first calendar quarter revenues increased 20.2% to $195.5 million. Net income for the quarter ending February 28th soared 30.9% to $21.6 million. Revenues for the quarter included $14.5 million from the Company’s recent acquisitions of MUZO and Europhil. GPN says the revenue growth was primarily driven by higher than anticipated growth from Central and Eastern European operations and from its consumer money transfer channel. The company raised its annual revenue guidance for fiscal 2005 to $774-$781 million. The just-ended quarter is GPN’s third fiscal quarter. Global Payments acquired Madrid-based Europhil, a group of European electronic money transfer firms, in January. For complete details on Global Payments latest results, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/4/05)

GPN HISTORICAL
PERIOD REVENUES NET INCOME
1Q/04: $162.6mm $16.5mm
2Q/04: $181.8mm $18.0mm
3Q/04: $192.6mm $24.2mm
4Q/04: $188.5mm $16.8mm
1Q/05: $195.5mm $21.6mm
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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WildCard Systems Deploys BladeLogic Solution

Massachusettes-based BladeLogic,Inc. announced that WildCard Systems has deployed BladeLogic Operations Manager(TM) to drive higher operating efficiency in its data centers by reducing operating costs, improving response to customers and enhancing security. BladeLogic is a provider of data center automation software. Florida-based WildCard Systems provides turnkey host-based prepaid cards and custom stored-value products for consumer and commercial applications.

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Chase Tweaks Cardholder Fees in April

Chase is implementing several changes to cardholder agreements beginning with the April billing cycle. The late fee will be $15 if the balance is below $250, and $39 if the balance is $250 or more. But if the default rate is in effect, then the $39 late fee applies regardless of the balance. The previous late fee was $35. Like other top issuers, Chase is raising its foreign currency conversion fee from 2% to 3% as VISA and MasterCard drop their 1% fee, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). Chase also says in cases where the transaction is reversed the fee may apply again. Additionally, Chase is dropping JAMS as an arbitration option. Starting in August, minimum payments will include any billed late fees and overlimit fees if the sum of 1% of the new balance plus the current billed finance charges plus the late or overlimit fees is more than $10 or 2% of the new balance.

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

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Navy FCU Cuts Costs with the PAR3 System

Seattle-based PAR3 Communications announced the Navy FCU has expanded the use of its notification solution, delivered through a partnership with TSYS. In addition to reducing costs by quickly identifying suspicious card use, the credit union now uses the hosted solution to collect past due card payments by automating “conversations’ with customers. PAR3 Communications, Inc. interactive communication solution is a blend of advanced multi-channel applications built upon enterprise software.

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