BannerDirect Hires a New Regional Director

NYC-based BannerDirect has hired James Saftich, formerly with Deutsche Post Global Mail, as a Regional Director. James has over twelve years of diverse marketing experience which makes him an essential facet in BannerDirect s continued growth and progress, says Ms. Kelly. Mr. Saftich will be responsible for generating new client relationships and managing existing client interaction within a range of business categories. BannerDirect is a full-service direct marketing agency recognized for the development and execution of direct response marketing programs for clients in the financial, entertainment, telecommunications, associations, retail, medical and publishing industries.

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DEFAULTS RISE

The number of consumers who are 90+ days overdue on bank debt grew to 3.8 million in February, the 16th consecutive monthly increase, and a 1.5% gain over January. About 2.5 million of the defaulters were credit card related, a 2.5% increase over the previous month. According to the Korea Federation of Banks the biggest increase in defaulters were women in their 30s followed by women in their 40s. According to the Financial Supervisory Service, credit card issuers lost 10.47 trillion won last year, a 31% increase over 2002. LG Card accounted for 53% of the total loss with a 2003 deficit of 5.59 trillion won compared to a 350.3 billion won profit in the prior year. The Korea Exchange Bank Credit Card Service posted the second highest losses of 1.43 trillion won, nearly triple its 2002 losses. The Finance Minister is in the process of setting up a special bank to absorb the bad loans.

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Convenience Usage Drops for the Third Year

The number of Americans paying-off credit card balances in-full each month has edged down for the third consecutive year. After peaking at 44.4% in 2000, the number of convenience users has slipped to 38.3%, about the same level as 1995. Throughout the 1990s, the number of convenience users steadily increased, rising from 28.6% in 1990, to 43.4% in 1999, according to CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com).

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InfiCorp Launches the ANA Co-Branded Card

Atlanta-based InfiCorp Holdings has teamed with a Japanese airline to launch a co-branded frequent flyer VISA card. The new “ANA CARD U.S.A. VISA” is a U.S.-based, dollar-denominated card program as opposed to a Japanese-based, yen-denominated card thus avoiding currency exchange disadvantages. Cardholders earn one mile for every dollar they spend using the card and will be awarded 5,000 bonus miles for the first purchase they make using the card, plus an additional 5,000 bonus miles if the first purchase is made before Sept. 30th. The card offers a 1.9% introductory interest rate for the first five billing cycles, and then goes to a 13.99% variable rate. The card also carries a $70 annual fee. Members also receive discounts for in-flight purchases, and discounts at ANA hotels and duty-free shops. As part of the “ANA CARD U.S.A” program, InfiCorp also provides both English and Japanese versions of a Web site, as well as Japanese-language customer service through Tokyo-based Prestige International’s multi-lingual call centers. ANA, a.k.a All Nippon Airways, is Japan’s top carrier and the world’s eighth largest airline. InfiCorp will issue and administer the card through its InfiBank affiliate.

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Coinstar Links Up to a Forthcoming Movie

Coinstar is set to launch a major sweepstakes next month in conjunction with the upcoming release of the “New York Minute” movie starring the Olsen twins. The two companies are teaming up to launch a sweepstakes this Spring for fans of Mary-Kate and Ashley to win a trip to New York City and experience the “Big Apple” in style. New York Minute, a new action comedy, follows 17-year-old sisters Jane and Roxanne Ryan on a wild romp through the streets, subways and sewers of Manhattan during one unforgettable day. Coinstar uses technology to deliver time and money saving services to consumers in their local supermarkets.

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Euronet Signs a New Credit Facility

Euronet has signed a $10 million credit agreement with Bank of America and repurchased $5 million in senior discount bonds. The proceeds from the facility can be used for working capital needs, acquisitions and other corporate purposes. As a result of the cash collateral release, on March 24, 2004, Euronet acquired at par $5.0 million of its $43.5 million in outstanding 12 3/8 % senior discount bonds. Euronet Worldwide is an industry leader in processing secure electronic financial transactions.

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iGames Sues Equitex Over Chex Servces

iGames has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Equitex over its failed purchase of Chex Services. In the federal complaint, iGames asserts that it is entitled to recover significant damages, including all of the transaction costs it incurred while attempting to acquire Chex Services, Inc. and a one million dollar agreed-upon termination fee. iGames Entertainment, Inc. provides cash access and financial management systems for the gaming industry, focusing on specialty transactions in the cash access segment of the funds transfer industry through its Money Centers of America, Inc. and Available Money, Inc. subsidiaries.

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Canadian Consumer MPR Double the US Rate

Canadian payment rates, among card-backed bonds, continue to be roughly double the levels in the USA, hitting 34.85% in the fourth quarter. Also during the fourth quarter, the delinquency rate reversed two quarters of increases and fell to a new quarterly low, as charge-offs marked the third consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases. According to Moody’s Investors Service, the charge-off rate was 2.94% in the fourth quarter, up from 2.62% a year ago, but below the second quarter peak of 3.15%. The delinquency rate in the fourth quarter was 2.27%, down slightly from 2.29% in the same period a year earlier. The Moody’s Canadian Index balance covers $38.3 billion in outstanding balances. The Canadian Banker’s Association reported outstanding receivables balance for all VISA and MasterCard issuers was $49.8 billion as of October 31st.

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MasterCard Names Heuer as COO

MasterCard has named Alan Heuer to the new position of COO. He joined MasterCard in 1995, and is currently SEVP/Customer Group, and a member of MasterCard’s Executive Management Group. Heuer has responsibility for the strategy and implementation of MasterCard’s customer-related activities around the world, including the organization’s regional operations, key global accounts, global marketing programs, and professional services offerings. Heuer will continue to have responsibility for MasterCard’s Customer Group. MasterCard also announced that Henry Mundt has resigned as the president of MasterCard Advisors.

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PhoneAutomation Targets the Software Industry

Seattle-based PhoneAutomation.com has launched its automated sales order processing technology with credit card processing and verification services for the video game and software publishing industries. PhoneAutomation.com, Inc.’s automated sales order processing technology utilizes automated credit card processing and verification services to provide a low-cost solution for companies to gain sales from previously released video game products that still have some related value in terms of genre or game platform. Seattle-based PhoneAutomation.com, Inc. helps companies to automatically process small, medium or large volumes of incoming sales orders, service requests, and customer inquiries in a 24/7 environment, by combining computer technology and telephone-based solutions.

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Upfront Rewards Card Offers Free Notebook PCs

Minneapolis-based Universal Savings Bank has expanded its free computer offer to include notebook PCs from Dell and IBM. The “Upfront Rewards VISA Platinum” gives cardholders a brand new laptop computer in exchange for transferring a balance of at least $5,000 from other credit cards and maintaining a balance of at least $3,500 on the card for at least 18 months. Those who do not have $5,000 to transfer can request a cash advance up to $2,500 to bring their initial balance up to $5,000. The card’s current APR is 9.99%. Universal is offering a choice of notebooks PCs including the Dell “Inspiron 1100,” IBM “ThinkPad R40e,” and the HP Compaq “nx9010.” All three of the computers carry street prices of $800 to $1000. The card was first launched in May 2003 offering a free Compaq “Evo N1015v” notebook PC in exchange for a balance transfer. Wayne Johnson is the CEO of Universal Savings Bank. (CF Library 5/20/03)

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