NBPCA Names a Government Relations Advisor

MA-based The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association has added Dan McDermott, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and government relations specialist, as the Association’s Government Relations Advisor. McDermott has led an accomplished career in the field of government relations. After practicing law, with a specialty in federal litigation, he became Legislative Counsel to the Financial Services Council in 1987. In 1990, McDermott joined Capital Holding Corporation, later Providian Financial, as Director of Federal Government Relations. For the next two decades, as Vice President and Senior Vice President, he was responsible for overseeing Federal and State government relations programs. Beginning in 2006, McDermott became associated with The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness as Executive Vice President. The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) is a nonprofit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth and success of network branded prepaid cards and represents the common interests of the many players in this new and rapidly growing payments category.

Teen Spirit is Major Online Shopping Influence

A new survey has found that even though teens account for only three percent of online sales right now, they can be very influential on overall household buying. JupiterResearch found that one in four teens say their parents always take into account their opinion about household purchases. Of teens who make purchases online, 83% still make purchases with their parents present, via their parents’ credit or debit card. However, alternative methods of payment, such as PayPal and gift certificates, have grown in popularity and allow teens to make purchases by themselves. The JupiterResearch report concludes that teenagers are Internet-savvy and retailers must understand their characteristics and behaviors to catch them as them as they begin making their first independent online purchases.

Desert Schools FCU Names a PR Manager

AZ-based Desert Schools Federal Credit Union has named Jason Meyers as its first Public Relations Manager. A graduate of San Diego State University, Meyers’ career includes posts as director of marketing communications at the Heard Museum as well as senior copy editor of marketing and creative services at The Arizona Republic. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade in the radio industry in Phoenix, Tucson and San Diego as a brand strategist, advertising production director and on-air personality. Desert Schools is Arizona’s largest and fastest-growing credit union with more than $2.7 billion in assets, over 325,000 members and nearly 60 locations.

Charge-Offs Show Upward Momentum in November

Charge-offs for managed outstandings edged up again in November by 10 basis points after a rocky year following the implementation of new bankruptcy rules last fall. The charge-off ratio has oscillated much of this year but seems to be on an upward trend as delinquency points north. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), charge-offs for November rose to 4.19% of managed outstandings, versus 4.09% in October and 7.03% one-year ago. According to FitchRatings, “prime” charge-offs for October were 3.78%, 10 basis points lower than the prior month but up 59 basis points since May. The “prime” 60-plus day delinquency index for October was 2.40%, compared to 2.33% in September.

CHARGE-OFFS 2006
Jan 06: 6.05%
Feb 06: 4.73%
Mar 06: 3.75%
Apr 06: 3.95%
May 06: 4.24%
Jun 06: 4.19%
Jul 06: 3.99%
Aug 06: 3.95%
Sep 06: 4.15%
Oct 06: 4.09%
Nov 06: 4.19%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

Comerica Bank Pilots Voice-Guided ATMs

Detroit-based Comerica Bank is piloting voice-guidance ATMs for the visually impaired. With the voice-guidance ATMs, customers simply plug a standard set of headphones into the ATM’s headphone jack to hear instructions in English or Spanish. Comerica worked with representatives from Leader Dogs for the Blind to make the new ATMs as “user friendly” as possible for the visually impaired. Instructions will be provided for any ATM transaction being conducted, such as a deposit, withdrawal, balance inquiry or payment. Comerica Bank has 240 banking centers and 379 ATMs in metropolitan Detroit, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Midland and Muskegon.

Kabira Boosts its High Availability Platform

CA-based Kabira Technologies announced the second generation of the “Kabira High Availability Platform” for disaster-tolerant real-time applications. Kabira HA has been enhanced to achieve higher throughput and increased speed, reducing the amount of network traffic between highly available nodes by almost 50 percent and achieving approximately 75 percent increase in throughput. In addition, the solution now supports multiple network connections between highly available nodes to enable network redundancy. Kabira provides high performance transaction processing software for global enterprises to manage high volumes at a substantially lower cost.

Chase/Marriott Rewards VISA Heads North

Chase and Marriott have launched the “Marriott Rewards Platinum VISA” in Canada. Cardholders can use their card for their daily purchases and earn three “Marriott Rewards” points for every Canadian dollar spent at Marriott locations worldwide and earn one point per Canadian dollar for all other daily card purchases. In addition to earning “Marriott Rewards” points by using the card, cardholders receive 5,000 bonus points after their first card purchase. Cardholders will also be automatically upgraded to “Silver Elite” membership in the Marriott Rewards program. Cardholders can redeem points for more than 250 rewards options including free stays at more than 2,600 Marriott hotels worldwide, theme parks, cruises, airline miles, electronics and more.

I4 Commerce Picks Up a Major Credit Line

MD-based I4 Commerce has secured $640 million in a corporate debt financing from Citigroup’s Corporate and Investment Banking division. Since its introduction three years ago, I4 Commerce has become the leading provider of alternative payment solutions for multichannel retailers. Almost two million consumers have used I4 Commerce’s Bill Me Later to shop at more than 425 retailers, including Walmart.com, Apple, US Airways, OfficeMax, Brookstone and PETCO. Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking is the most complete financial partner to corporations, financial institutions, institutional investors and governments in the world. I4 Commerce is a rapidly growing technology company helping to connect leading retailers with high value customers by improving the purchase experience.

First Equity Joins Mall Networks for Biz Cards

PA-based First Equity has selected Mall Networks to build and manage a customized online shopping mall for its business credit card holders. First Equity card holders will be able to shop easily and securely at hundreds of their favorite name-brand merchants while earning points for everyday purchases. In addition to funding the points for shopping through the mall, merchants will also offer special offers and promotions. First Equity Card Corporation, located in Blue Bell, Pa., specializes in the provision of business credit solutions, including a highly innovative credit card program designed around the needs of small businesses. Mall Networks offers custom online malls for card issuers, loyalty programs, clubs, professional organizations and non-profit organizations to increase revenue and keep members engaged.

Chase Paymentech Approved for MasterCard Chip TXs

Toronto-based Chase Paymentech Solutions has become the first acquirer in Canada to receive approval from MasterCard to process chip transactions. MasterCard chip cards are set to migrate in 2007. As a result, Chase is gearing-up to upgrade checkouts and point-of-sale devices to accept chip cards by then. Chase Paymentech processed approximately 15.5 billion transactions in 2005, with more than $560 billion in annual bankcard and debit volume in both Canada and the United States. Chase Paymentech’s customer base includes more than 600,000 merchants, with nearly 1 million locations across Canada and the United States.

OTP Bank Deploys NCR Personas ATMs

OTP Bank Romania has ordered 105 new NCR “Personas” ATMs in a drive to expand the self-service areas at its branch offices. OTP Bank Hungary, one of Central and Eastern Europe’s top-five banking institutions, uses NCR exclusively for its self-service solutions. The purchase includes NCR’s “APTRA” software, including “APTRA Advance NDC” and “APTRA Promote” for on-screen product promotions and advertising.
Printec, a sales and service organization with a prominent presence in
Central, Eastern, as well as Southeast Europe, and a longstanding, close
relationship with NCR, will be responsible for installing and
maintaining the technology for OTP Bank Romania.

RDM/ITMS Processes 1MM Checks Weekly for U.S. Clients

RDM reached a significant milestone by consistently processing over 1 million checks weekly from corporate customers in the U.S. through its industry leading Image & Transaction Management System.
Last month, RDM announced the newest addition to its ITMS solution, the “ITMS WebClient.” The new “WebClient” is a secure, feature-rich, browser-based payment processing platform that can be deployed
quickly and easily with little to no capital investment with no software
to install. The “ITMS WebClient” is currently installed in one of the largest insurance providers in the U.S.