San Francisco-based Cointent has raised $1 million in its initial funding to become a provider of micropayments to online publishers. The service would enable online content providers to sell individual articles, songs, videos, etc for as little as five cents.
WAUSAU Financial Systems has hired Charlie Gibbons, previously with
Geller Services, as its EVP of Strategic Business Development.
As part of WFS new outsourcing venture with First Data Corporation to
provide full-service processing, Gibbons role will set the strategic
focus for the outsourcing initiative, including the coordination of all
sales, marketing, product management,
operations and product development efforts. Prior to Geller, Gibbons
served as a key strategist for Electronic Data Systems and was a
managing director for global business process outsourcing at
PricewaterhouseCoopers. In the mid 1990’s Gibbons was
president and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Services When the corporation
changed direction, Gibbons launched the venture on his own and grew it
to annual revenues of $450 million as Intellisource. WAUSAU Financial
Systems is a provider of payment and remittance processing solutions.
Holiday gift card sales may dip to $25 billion this year, compared to
$35 billion in 2007. A new survey also suggests that the restaurant/fast
food category will sell more cards than any other category this holiday
season. CT-based Archstone Consulting says its survey found that
consumers will spend less on gift cards this holiday season and will
also shift their gift card spending towards household necessities such
as groceries and gas or small indulgences such as dining at
restaurants. But, teenage and post-college consumers will represent the
bulk of the increase in gift card purchases. Additionally, sales of gift
cards through outside locations, such as grocery, drug stores, banks and
kiosks are expected to grow significantly, by 30% versus 2007. Archstone
also notes that pre-paid bank cards (Visa, American Express, Master
Card, etc.) will continue to be the most desired by gift recipients this
year â as they were in 2007.
CO-OP Financial Services has slated its “Think 2008” conference for April 14-16 in Rancho Mirage, California. Speakers addressing “The Best of Ideas, Insights and Innovations” conference theme include Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.); Barry Gibbons, former CEO of Burger King Corporation; John Moore, Director of National Marketing for Whole Foods Market and former Retail Marketing Manager of Starbucks; and Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff International. Wozniak, who’ll discuss the importance innovation plays in a business model, will draw from his experience shaping the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products. Gibbons will tell the “David and Goliath” story of how he turned Burger King from a failing corporation into a direct competitor with McDonald’s. Moore, a brand marketing expert, will share advice on how to become the next Starbucks. And Putnam will talk about how he created Southwest’s service culture, helping it become the only airline to remain profitable every year for more than three decades. Additional speakers will be announced at a later date.
San Diego-based Western Alliance Bancorporation has entered into the affinity credit card market through PartnersFirst Affinity Services. PartnersFirst, a division of its Torrey Pines Bank affiliate, offers credit card solutions incorporating the major network associations, world-class processing platforms, state of the art targeted marketing capabilities, and new partner/issuer economic structures.Western Alliance Bancorporation is the parent company of Bank of Nevada, First Independent Bank of Nevada, Alliance Bank of Arizona, Torrey Pines Bank, Alta Alliance Bank, Miller/Russell & Associates, Premier Trust, and PartnersFirst.
With the possibility that bankruptcy filings could approach or surpass one million this year, the cost of processing the filings will likely soar due the higher work per case required under the the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.” The bankruptcy reform laws created new docketing, noticing, and hearing requirements that make addressing the petitions more complex and time-consuming. In addition, each petitioner must certify that he or she has been through credit counseling, a document that did not exist before BAPCPA. The District of Rhode Island Bankruptcy Court recently reported an 87% increase in the ratio of motions to filings, a 104% increase in the ratio of orders to filings; and a 68% increase in the ratio of docketed events to filings since BAPCPA. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts says the enactment of BAPCPA came at a time when bankruptcy court staffs were undergoing resizing. After reaching a peak of 5,334 on-board employees in fiscal year 2002, employment in FY 2007 is 4,438, a 17% reduction.
MA-based Salem Five Bank has introduced “Cash-Back Debit Rewards” program offering 0.25% back for PIN debit transactions and 0.50% back for signature debit transactions. For each debit card transaction, Salem awards customers a percentage of their monthly debit card purchases. The percentage paid is doubled for signature-based transactions when the customer chooses “credit” at the point of sale. The cash rewards appear automatically on customers’ monthly statements. The “Salem Five Cash-Back Debit Rewards” program requires either a Star Checking or Gold Star Checking account. New accounts and existing Star Checking and Gold Star Checking customers are automatically enrolled. The Bank has also enhanced its ATM Reimbursement offering. Through the Bank’s new Unlimited ATM Reimbursement program, customers can use any ATM in the world and Salem Five will reimburse the fees charged by the bank that owns the ATM. There is no limit to the amount or the number of ATM reimbursements. Salem Five operates 17 branches in Massachusetts with $2.4 billion in assets.
San Antonio-based Payment Data Systems has signed a multi-year agreement in which Thalassa will be an exclusive referrer of PDS solutions and PDS will have non-exclusive marketing and distribution rights to the “Debit Card Load Kiosk” that has been designed and is being delivered by Thalassa. Features of the Kiosk include a magnetic card reader, Las Vegas-class currency acceptor, a touch screen LCD interface, remote web monitoring and management, and customizable capabilities such as card dispensing and wireless communication. Payment Data Systems, Inc., is an integrated payments solution provider of electronic payments to billers and retailers.
HSBC – North America has appointed Bruce Fletcher as SVP and chief credit officer for retail credit. Fletcher will oversee and integrate retail credit risk management for all of the company’s North American entities. Previously, he was with Citigroup as managing director of retail risk. Fletcher earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of William and Mary. HSBC – North America is a financial services organization with more than $300 billion in assets, serving almost 60 million customers.
HSBC North America has named David Gibbons, former deputy comptroller for special supervision for the OCC, as SVP/Chief Risk Officer. In this newly created position, Gibbons will be responsible for the risk profile of HSBC’s North American operations and will report directly to William F. Aldinger, chairman and chief executive officer of HSBC North America Holdings Inc. HSBC’s North American businesses serve more than 60 million customers in five key areas: personal financial services, consumer finance, commercial banking, private banking, and corporate investment banking and markets.
The OCC and Metris Companies have modified their original operating agreement formed in mid-March. Under the modified agreement, the Metris board is required to submit to the OCC a written strategic plan by December 31st, covering at least a three year period. The strategic plan will establish objectives for the Bank’s overall risk profile, earnings performance, growth, balance sheet mix, off-balance sheet activities, operational limitations, liability structure, capital adequacy, product line development and marketing segments. Metris is also required to maintain liquid assets of no less than $35 million. For the third quarter, Metris Companies reported a record net loss of $120.3 million, due to the impacts from the sale of its membership club and warranty business, a portfolio sale of approximately $590 million, a workforce reduction, the sale of certificates of deposit, and the portfolio sale of approximately $500 million during the fourth quarter. The managed net charge-off rate for the third quarter was 23.1%, compared to 19.1% in the previous quarter, and 16.3% for the third quarter of 2002. The managed delinquency rate was 11.1% as of September 30th, compared to 11.2% as of June 30th, and 10.7% as of September 30, 2002. For complete details on Metris’ third quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Credit card issuers are continuing to tighten underwriting standards as the economy stagnates. The OCC’s seventh annual ‘Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices’ found that underwriting standards tightened more significantly during the 12 months covered by the 2001 survey than in either of the previous two years. The research showed that 32% of the banks tightened retail standards, while 20% eased standards. Banks cited the economic outlook as the most frequently cited reason for tightening standards, followed closely by change in risk appetite and product performance/portfolio quality. Examiners also reported that the level of inherent portfolio credit risk increased in the past year. Last month, the Federal Reserve found that one-fifth of banks reported they had tightened standards on credit card loans during the first quarter, compared with 12% in the fourth quarter. In addition, 19% of survey respondents, on net, reduced credit limits on these loans. The ‘May 2001 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices’ found that expected future increases in consumer delinquency rates were the main reason cited for changing consumer-lending policies. (CF Library 5/15/01; 5/18/01)