Among the nation’s top four Visa and MasterCard (V/M) issuers, bank credit card charge-offs are down 48 basis points year-on-year (Y/Y), but up nine basis points quarter-to-quarter (Q/Q). All credit card metrics are seasonally skewed in the first quarter as well as the fourth quarter by a higher denominator in Q4 and a lower denominator in Q1. Nevertheless, bank credit card charge-offs have been marching south throughout 2013.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a leader in card services for middle-market, large corporate and public sector clients, today announced that it is expanding chip and PIN technology to all purchasing and travel credit card products available to clients in the United States. This is the latest development in the company’s ongoing effort to rollout EMV® (EuroPay Mastercard Visa) technology to its global client base. BofA Merrill first introduced chip and PIN technology on corporate travel and expense (T&E) credit cards in Europe in 2010 and in the United States in 2012. The bank began issuing chip-enabled purchasing cards in 2013. Together with T&E cards, more than 100,000 chip and PIN cards across the portfolio have been issued to clients in the United States alone.
In the wake of the 2007 “Great Recession” and the “2008 Credit Meltdown,” consumers fled from credit cards, abhorring debt of all kinds. Consequently, the top five credit card issuers outstandings nosedived by 15.6% since 2009. The Federal Reserve shows overall revolving credit dropped 6.7% over the same time period. However, it appears cardholders are warming back up to revolving credit card debt. Compared to 2012, credit card outstandings among the nation’s top issuers are only down by 60 basis points. Preliminary Federal Reserve figures show a slight uptick of 130 basis points in revolving credit usage last year. RAM Research predicts credit card outstandings will continue to rise in 2014, possibly gaining 200 basis points over 2013.
Purchase volume, per average active account, for Bank of America’s U.S and international consumer credit cards increased 6% year-on-year in the fourth quarter. Charge-offs for U.S. cards fell to its lowest level in eight years. However, for the full-year 2013 BofA’s U.S. consumer credit card portfolio average yield fell 29 basis points to 9.73%. On a quarterly basis the U.S. card yield fell 65 basis points. The international consumer credit card portfolio average yield rose 10 basis points to 11.70% on a full-year basis. Comparing Q4/2013 to Q4/2012, the international card yield also fell 65 basis points. Overall card yield was down sharply from the third quarter. The risk adjusted margin for the U.S. card portfolio rose 114 basis points on a full-year basis to 8.68%.
NCR Corporation has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Digital Insight Corporation online and mobile banking solutions for $1.65 billion and completed the acquisition of Alaric Systems Limited for $84 million. These companies complement and extend NCR’s existing capabilities in the banking industry to form a complete enterprise software platform that will deliver a unique and compelling consumer experience across all digital and physical channels – mobile, online, branch, and ATM. The combination will help retail banks and other financial institutions reduce legacy costs and enable solutions for new, more nimble branches, by providing one platform for omni-channel services and all payment and transaction types. The acquisitions together will also position NCR to deliver an enterprise software stack that securely and seamlessly creates a differentiated consumer experience across all channels (online, mobile, ATM, branch) improving a retail bank’s growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. Alaric Systems payments processing and fraud prevention software allows financial institutions, processors and retailers to manage ATM, point of sale, ecommerce and mobile payment or banking transactions, deliver complex multi-channel payments integration and carry out enterprise fraud and risk management.
Helen Mason has been appointed head of Commercial Cards, EMEA, in the Global Transaction Services (GTS) business at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Mason will oversee product management, new business growth and account management for the EMEA commercial cards platform. Mason joined the firm in 2010 and has previously held positions at Citibank, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds during which she managed all aspects of commercial cards, including operations, sales, account management and implementation.
Bank of America announced that Adriana Kong Romero has been named market president for Tucson and Southern Arizona. To serve as the enterprise leader in the region, she will work with company leaders to help deliver a wide range of global financial services to more individuals and businesses locally as well as deepen relationships with existing customers. She will also oversee corporate social responsibility activities including philanthropic giving, community development lending and investing, environmental initiatives, diversity efforts, arts and culture projects, and employee volunteerism. Romero is also a senior client manager for Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Business Banking Group in Tucson and Southern Arizona, which provides strategic, integrated financial advice and solutions to small and mid-sized businesses. She has also worked on growing and expanding the healthcare industry focus for Arizona and the Business Banking Central Region. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.S. in finance and holds an M.S. in organizational management from University of Phoenix.
TSYS payment solutions and NetSpend general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid debit cards signed a definitive agreements by which TSYS will acquire NetSpend for $1.4 billion, cash. TSYS expects the transaction to be accretive to GAAP EPS for the first 12 month period following closing, excluding one-time acquisition related fees and expenses. NetSpend’s extensive distribution network provides consumers the ability to purchase prepaid debit cards at more than 62,000 distributing merchant locations, such as retailers, check cashers, convenience stores, grocers, insurance providers, tax preparers and many others. NetSpend currently serves more than 2.4 million accounts of which 46% are direct deposit.
Bank of America will now offer Visa’s digital wallet service, “V.me,” which it has started piloting to its online banking customers, letting them make secure online payments without having to constantly enter card account numbers, bill-to or ship-to information. Bank of America customers can enroll in Visa’s “V.me” service through online banking. Once enrolled, customers shop knowing they are protected by layers of security within Visa’s industry leading network. Customers will also be able to check out with a few clicks, eliminating the need to enter card, billing and shipping information for each purchase.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch today announced Bill Borden has been named managing director and head of North America Product Solutions and Dennis Sweeney has been named managing director and a Treasury Solutions Executive. As head of North America Product Solutions, Borden will manage the North America Product Sales teams that cut across Global Corporate Banking, Global Commercial Banking and Business Banking. He was most recently with Citigroup, where he was responsible for leading the team focused on developing Cash Management and Securities Fund Services relationships with U.S. state and local governments. Sweeney will work closely with various teams and global product leaders to provide senior finance executives at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s largest global clients with advice, expertise, best practices and trends related to their treasury platforms. He was previously with General Electric for 20 years, most recently as Deputy Treasure.
Bank of America launched new mobile banking for Mobile Check Deposit, Person-to-Person Email and Mobile Transfers and Mobile App Alerts. This will allow customers to manage their finances through their mobile device – from depositing a check, to paying friends and family, to reviewing balances and much more. Bank of America’s Mobile Check Deposit function allows customers to deposit checks easily and securely without making a trip to the ATM or banking center. Once customers download the updated mobile application onto their tablet or smartphone, they can use the app to snap photos of the check and follow a few simple on-screen instructions to complete the deposit. Mobile Check Deposit is currently available on iPad and will be available in the coming weeks on iPhone, Google Android smartphone or tablet and Windows Phone. Person-to-Person Email and Mobile Transfers allow customers to easily conduct person-to-person transfers via online banking or a smartphone using only an e-mail address or mobile phone number.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch transaction services card solutions are now available in Argentina, the Czech Republic, Finland and Poland, as well as the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The addition of the seven countries reaffirms the company’s position as a leading provider of card solutions to large and middle-market companies and government entities around the world. By the end of 2012, BofA Merrill’s global card offering will be available in more than 70 countries. BofA Merrill will enable commercial card clients to benefit from the operational simplification and cost savings created by the harmonization of multiple instruments and reduced number of paper mandates that need to be managed for cardholders.