National City Introduces Identity Protect

Ohio-based National City has introduced “Identity Protect,” a new product providing customers with unlimited access to their credit report from all three credit bureaus, weekly credit monitoring, quarterly credit alerts, identity theft insurance coverage and identity theft resolution services. National City is a founding member of the Identity Theft Assistance Corporation and maintains a dedicated Identity Theft Unit to help victims. National City Corporation core businesses include commercial and retail banking, mortgage financing and servicing, consumer finance and asset management.

TD Canada Reaches 2MM Active Online Customers

TD Canada Trust reached two million active online banking customers on March 1st. Ten customers from across Canada who activated their “EasyWeb” online banking accounts on that day were randomly selected for a free laptop personal computer. “EasyWeb” has been recognized as Canada’s leading online banking Web site, with Global Finance Magazine hailing it as the “World’s Best Consumer Integrated Site” (October 2004) and “Best Consumer Internet Bank in Canada and
Best Consumer Integrated site in North America” (July 2004). “EasyWeb” also ranked first among the five major Canadian banks in the categories of online banking satisfaction and online usage in a Canadian Interactive Reid Report and ranked first in Canada and sixth
in the Western Hemisphere, according to Speer & Associates.

CU Portfolio Sales Hit $147MM in Q1

Through the first quarter, 22 credit unions with card portfolios of over $1 million in outstanding balances sold their credit card portfolios, for total balances sold year-to-date of about $147 million. According to NH-based Brookwood Capital, four of the portfolios had balances exceeding $10 million. On average, the size of the portfolios sold this year has decreased slightly from last year’s average of $6.9 million to this year’s average of $6.7 million. Brookwood says the dollar value of the 1Q/05 sales, and the number of transactions to-date, are set to out pace last year’s 67 portfolios sold with $459 million in associated outstandings.

Merchants Coalition Adds Another Member

The Merchants Payments Coalition added another supporter last week as the National Restaurant Association joined the industry group. The Merchants Payments Coalition was recently formed by 12 merchant groups to fight rising interchange fees. The group says that interchange collected from its members accounts for about one-quarter of that total, and coalition members account for about 40% of all credit and debit card transactions. The National Restaurant Association is comprised of 900,000 restaurant and food service outlets.

GECF Celebrates GE Money’s First Anniversary

Celebrating its one-year birthday, the GE Money brand has been
unveiled in 25 countries around the world. GE Money products include private label credit cards, personal loans, bank cards, auto loans and leases, mortgages, corporate travel and purchasing cards, debt consolidation, home equity loans and credit insurance. Yoshiaki Fujimori is the President and CEO of GE Consumer Finance Asia while GE Money Australia operates in Australia and New Zealand and is headed by President and CEO Tom Gentile. Beginning in 2004, the GE Money brand was introduced in Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany. Throughout 2005, the GE Money brand has been launched in Europe, as well as Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

BSP Rewards Network to be an ISO

Florida-based MediaNet Group Technologies has inked six new companies in its “BSP Rewards Network” and has finalized its agreement with MasterCard to become an authorized ISO for the company’s store value rewards cards. Companies in the network are able to offer their customers up to 15 percent in rewards, which they can spend like cash at any participating BSP Rewards Network merchant. MediaNet Group’s BSP Rewards Network is a private label rewards and loyalty marketing program for merchants and service providers.

Asia Pay Q1 Gross Profit Margin Up 68%

Asia Payment Systems reported that its first full fiscal quarter of operations showed a 68% gross profit margin. The Company says its credit bureau operations, which currently are in the pilot program stage, hold significant potential for increasing shareholder value in the future. Asia Pay’s mission is to be a national provider of world-class, third-party processing services in China to bankcard-accepting merchants, issuers of bank credit cards, issuers of petroleum station retail cards, and issuers of merchandise and other retail cards. Systems, hardware, and personnel are now in place as Asia Pay commences delivering service to clients.

Major Issuer Card 04 Profits Up 51%

A new report from SourceMedia’s (f/k/a Thomson Media) “Credit Card Management” (s/k/a Cards & Payments) magazine has found that large issuers posted a collective after-tax return on assets of 3.7% or $21.44 billion last year, up from 2.5% in 2003. Issuers had low funding costs, saw a greater consumer use of plastic and timelier payments from cardholders and sought to expand their markets, such as the $125 billion quick service restaurant arena. Credit Card Management is a monthly publication that reports on the electronic transactions industry and is published by SourceMedia, Inc., a provider of information, data and software tools for 750,000 clients and subscribers in financial services and related technologies markets worldwide.

Another Pile-On Lawsuit Against MBNA

Seeger Weiss has filed a class action against MBNA for purchasers of MBNA stock between January 20th and April 21st. The complaint alleges that on January 21, 2005, the start of the class period, MBNA issued the first earnings forecast in the Company’s history, projecting an ongoing 12% earnings increase, with a 10% increase in 2005 earnings over 2004. According to the complaint, negative facts which were known by each of the defendants were concealed from the investing public during the class period. Following the company’s April 21, 2005 disclosures concerning its business operations, financial results and reduced 2005 earnings expectations, the Company’s stock price plummeted from its closing price of $23.11 on the close of April 20, 2005 to below $19 per share on trading volume of 51 million shares. MBNA is an international financial services company providing lending, deposit, and credit insurance products and services to its customers.

LYCOS Europe Picks GlobalCollect as a Partner

LYCOS Europe has selected GlobalCollect to process the payments for its Web hosting, communication, community and access services. LYCOS Europe has already implemented the GlobalCollect online payment platform in Germany and the Netherlands and will roll out France, The United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Sweden and Austria in the coming weeks. GlobalCollect is the international Payment Service Provider
offering the largest number of local payment options worldwide, enabling
among other options bank transfers in over 50 countries and Direct
Debits in 10 countries.

Sparkasse Hannover to Deploy NCR Personas M ATMs

Sparkasse Hannover has selected NCR’s “Personas M Series” ATMs.
The bank will install 37 new “Personas M Series 76” ATMs in its branch lobbies as through-the-wall units. The units will be equipped with the new self-service units, which will be initially configured to recycle cash. Recycling solutions, popular in some European and Asian markets, require considerably less frequent refill of ATMs, thereby reducing the bank’s cash replenishment and management costs.