Korea Credit Bureau Offers FICO Score

Fair Isaac Corporation has announced its agreement with Korea Credit
Bureau, allowing the Bureau to market and sell Fair Issac’s
“Global FICO score” and giving lenders greater access to evaluate
credit risks. The solution rank-orders consumers and is designed to be
consistent as a global standard using a range of bureau configurations
and available data. Furthermore, the system will help lenders and
institutions meet regulatory compliance requirements and allow them to
automate more processes. Korea Credit Bureau was established by
19 financial institutions with the intent of consolidating the credit
infrastructure throughout the country.

Cross-Border Deals Dominate ARM M&A Deals

Cross-border deals in the Accounts Receivable Management industry spilled over into 2007 as five of the nine M&A transactions completed in the first quarter involved buyers and sellers in different countries. According to Kaulkin Ginsberg, cross-border deals involved target companies located in the U.S., Australia, the UK, and Malaysia. The largest transaction of the quarter, in terms of deal value, occurred in January, when a consortium of private equity firms acquired Vertex Outsourcing, which has an ARM utility focused division, from UK-based United Utilities for roughly $428 million as a platform acquisition. Also in January, U.S.-based NCO Group’s subsidiary Australian Receivables Limited, increased its Australian market presence with the add-on acquisition of Statewide Mercantile Services. Kaulkin Ginsberg also announced that it is conducting an ongoing operational benchmarking study for the ARM industry. The study found that for the twelve month period ending on June 30th, 2006, the average collector brought in nearly $655,162 in gross revenues. The median gross revenue taken in by collectors during this same period was $400,774.

Sears and Chase Enhance Loyalty Program

Sears Canada, with JPMorgan Chase, has enhanced its loyalty program
of 9 million members, Sears Club. These enhancements include a lower
minimum redemption threshold (from $1,000 to $500), simplified
reward levels, online redemption process, ease of viewing points
accumulation and balance, online access to account information, more
redemption flexibility with Sears Club Rewards card and no annual fee.
Sears
Club also offers up to three percent rewards on most purchases made on the
Sears Card. Sears Canada has 196 corporate stores, 178 dealer stores,
64 home improvement showrooms, over 1,850 catalogue merchandise
pick-up locations and 106 Sears Travel offices.

Former NCR Executive to Become Starbucks CFO

Peter Bocian, former SVP and CFO at NCR has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer designate at Starbucks. Bocian will be responsible for all aspects of Starbucks Corporate Finance, Information Technology, Global Business Systems Solutions and Global Strategy. Bocian joins Starbucks from NCR Corporation where he served as senior vice president and chief financial officer since 2004. Bocian began his career at NCR in 1983 and has since held a number of positions of increasing responsibility, including chief financial officer of NCR’s Retail and Financial Group, CFO of NCR’s Retail Solutions Division and vice president of finance and administration for NCR’s Computer Systems Group (now Teradata) for the Americas region. Bocian received his Master’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University, where he also earned his Bachelor’s degree.

Network International to Distribute VeriFone Vx 670

Verifone Holdings has announced an agreement with Network International
LLC, part of the Emirates Bank Group, to distribute the portable payment
system “VX670”. This agreement contributes to Verifone’s effort in global
expansion and will require the distribution of their “VX670” in retail
outlets and restaurants in the Middle East region. The new model is smaller than
its predecessors and offers smart card support. Network International LLC
is the regions’ first independent third party processing vendor that is
certified
by both Visa and MasterCard.

U.S. Bank P-Card to Offer Paymetric XiBuy

U.S. Bank Corporate Payment Systems has signed an agreement to integrate Paymetric “XiBuy” with U.S. Bank Purchasing Card data. Utilizing XiBuy can reduce the cost of transaction processing, improve the visibility and control of purchasing card spend, and extend the use of purchasing cards into new spend categories. Designed exclusively for SAP and for purchasing card programs, this solution delivers a new model for SAP businesses looking to optimize cards as part of a single, complete accounts payable solution. XiBuy has earned “Powered by SAP NetWeaver” certification. Paymetric, Inc. provides software applications that manage and protect payment card transactions in complex payment environments. U.S. Bancorp has $219 billion in assets and is the parent company of U.S. Bank.

Number of Smart Cards with DDA Doubles

The Smart Payment Association has completed a compilation of market
monitoring to better understand trends of the payment smart cards market.
Major findings include: most of the 340 million smart cards shipped in
2006 comply with EMV standards; “Dynamic Data Authentication”(DDA) are
represented in more than 27% of the cards shipped in Q4 2006; open
platform cards represent 10% and 12% have data storage capability enabled
at issuance for value-added applications. Collectively, this data
reflects a shift
towards value-added and more secure cards by financial institutions. More
specifically, Static Data Authentication is being replaced by secure
Dynamic
Data Authentication EMV cards. Members of the Smart Pay Association
include Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Oberthur Card Systems and
Sagem Orga. The association conducts development in interoperability
as well as additional smart payment solutions.

Wells Fargo Card Helps Retire Mortgages Early

Wells Fargo has launched an innovative credit card that automatically pays down a customer’s mortgage based on card spending. The new “Wells Fargo Home Rebate VISA” offers a one percent rebate on card purchases with no limit. Once $25 is accumulated, it is applied directly to the principle on the mortgage. The card is only for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage customers and is part of the Bank’s cross-sell strategy. Wells will begin promoting the card through in-store merchandising on April 16th during its “Spring Into Action” campaign. Customers can also opt to get the card with the “VISA Contactless” feature. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the top retail mortgage lender and servicer of home mortgages. It has a local presence in more than 2,400 mortgage stores and bank branches and services loans for more than 7.6 million servicing customers.

Banks Encouraged to Shift Debt To Loans

Rather than initiating bankruptcy against defaulters on loans, banks in
Malaysia are being encouraged to shift the debt to installment loans by
the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA).
FOMCA argues that allowing the borrowers an opportunity to make
monthly payments will help banks maintain existing customers and
prevent bankruptcies. The Association also argues that the minimum
annual salary be raised for credit card customers to RM48,000 before
consideration for approval. Since 2002 to February of this year, there
were about 153,000 bankruptcies and RM700 million in non-performing
loans.

Leadership of MasterCard Foundation Announced

MasterCard announced the leadership of the new Toronto-based MasterCard Foundation. Lois Juliber, retired vice chairman and COO of Colgate-Palmolive, will serve as chairman of the board. Deanna Rosenswig, a former senior executive at Bank of Montreal, will serve as the foundation’s president and CEO. The Foundation’s mission is to broaden access to the global economy through innovative microfinance programs and to increase access to quality education opportunities for young people around the world. The Foundation was created last May when MasterCard went public. The Foundation was vested with more than 13 million shares of stock, currently valued at more than $1 billion.

Euronet Completes Acquisition Of RIA Envia

Euronet has completed the acquisition of RIA Envia, Inc.(RIA), making it
the third largest global money transfer company. The acquisition
agreement stipulates that Euronet gains control of 100% of RIA’s common
stock outstanding for $380 million in cash, 4,053,606 shares of Euronet
common stock, 3,685,098 contingent value rights and 3,685,098 stock
appreciation rights. The $190 million seven-year term loan bears
interest at LIBOR plus 200 basis points or prime plus 100 basis points
and contains a 1% per annum principal amortization requirement, payable
quarterly, with the remaining balance outstanding due at the end of year
seven. With this, the company has also entered into a $290 million
secured syndicated credit facility consisting of a $190 million
seven-year term loan and a $100 million five-year revolving credit
facility. Euronet’s new $100 million five-year revolving credit facility
replaces its existing $50 million revolving credit facility which will be expanded further by up to an additional $150 million in term loan and up to an additional $25 million for the revolving line of credit. Euronet
has processing centers located in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and
processes electronic top-up transactions at more than 296,000
point-of-sale terminals across more than 161,000 retailers in more than
100 countries. RIA processes $4.5 billion in money transfers annually.

Discover to Unveil 13 WNBA Affinity Cards

Discover now has more than 150 card designs in its product suite and has added another new group including affinity cards issued for the Women’s National Basketball Association. The thirteen new “WNBA Team Affinity Discover” cards will be unveiled today at the WNBA’s draft day festivities held in Cleveland. Those who apply for the team-affiliated card, as well as existing Discover cardholders, will have access to the “Discover Card Fan Lounge” at select WNBA arenas. Current Discover cardholders can also show their card to gain access to the “Lounge” and have the chance to meet WNBA players while enjoying a VIP experience. The new cards include the Discover “Cashback” and “Cashback Bonus” programs. Additionally, Discover will make a $20 donation to “WNBA Cares” charitable partners to be identified at the launch of the season for each new account upon first purchase.