Chase Card Services announced cash back rewards for servicemembers on Chase military credit cards will no longer expire. Military cardmembers also now have more reward redemption options and two enhanced websites — www.chase.com/militarystarrewards and www.chase.com/militaryfreecash — to view all reward options available. These new and improved benefits are automatically and immediately available to MILITARY STAR® Rewards MasterCard®, Marine Corps Community Service (MCCS) MasterCard®, Army Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR) MasterCard®, Air Force Club MasterCard®, and Navy MWR MasterCard® cardmembers. Cardmembers also continue to receive the benefits of the Blue Star Deployment Program, which provides a full refund of any interest and fees incurred during deployment. Family members can still use their cards while a cardmember is deployed – a benefit that only Chase provides. Chase has been offering servicemembers specialty service since 1989.
Chase and will.i.am announced their collaboration to focus on transforming the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. The partnership will focus on providing multiple social services that address Boyle Heights’ particular needs including education, jobs and job training, health, home ownership and green space. With this, the “TRANS4M” Boyle Heights collaboration is being built upon a $1 million grant from Chase to the i.am angel foundation, a charity established by will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. In addition, Chase will commit, directly and through the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, at least $7 million over the next three years to their other non-profit partners to help TRANS4M Boyle Heights. College Track national college access program will open a new center in Boyle Heights beginning to offer under resourced students the tools and opportunities to attend college; The California Endowment will offer affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities; and FIRST will motivate students through after school activities and an international robotics competition to learn about science, technology, engineering and math.
Wright Express payment processing and information management solutions, in collaboration with IHS, released results of its Construction Fuel Consumption Index (FCI). This showed an increase of 1.8% on an annual basis in November.The construction segment comprises approximately 20% of the Wright Express portfolio of customers. Wright Express worked with IHS to capture and analyze transaction data from its closed loop network of more than 180,000 fuel and vehicle maintenance locations, including over 90 percent of the domestic retail fuel locations and 45,000 vehicle maintenance locations. The Wright Express Construction FCI reported that fuel consumption by U.S. construction companies rose by 1.8% versus November 2010; and increased by 0.6% versus the previous month.
Wells Fargo is set to increase its commitment to credit counseling nonprofits by $5.4 million to a total of $12.4 million in 2011 for a 35% increase over the $9.2 million in 2010 to national and local credit counseling agencies. The company has taken this extra measure in an effort to sustain vital services provided by non-profit agencies who work with customers with financial challenges that extend beyond their home payments. On April 14, federal government officials agreed to discontinue $88 million of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants to housing counselors. This money enabled counseling agencies to offer their services free of charge or for a small fee.
VantageScore Solutions President and CEO, Barrett Burns, has been named to the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council. Bringing with him more than three decades of professional experience in risk and credit management, before VantageScore, Burns was the executive vice president heading the National Private Banking Group of U.S. Trust and a member of both U.S. Trust’s executive committee and the senior management team of its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation. He also served as executive vice president of Global Risk Management at Ford Motor Credit Company. He has also held senior positions at the consumer and commercial finance unit of Bank One and spent more than a decade with Citibank.
The FDIC has proposed guidelines its claiming could save financially
vulnerable American families millions of dollars a year in overdraft
fees. Encouraging banks to offer customers lower-cost overdraft
alternatives rather than charge unlimited high-cost overdraft fees, the
proposal would require banks to contact customers incurring six
overdraft fees within 12 months and offerâand explainâless costly
options. The banks also would be discouraged from re-ordering
transactions to maximize overdraft fees. Banks and credit unions
frequently promote their most expensive form of overdraft coverage,
which typically imposes a $34 fee per overdraftâtwice the amount of the
typical debit card purchase that triggers an overdraftârather than
reasonably priced options like a low-interest line of credit or an
affordable small-dollar loan. Financial institutions earn $24 billion
annually from these high-cost programs. Citibank has never charged
overdraft fees on debit cards, Bank of America is stopping the practice
but Wells Fargo continues to charge over a billion dollars a year in
debit card overdraft fees.
Mel Martinez has been appointed the JPMorgan Chase Chairman of Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. He will serve on JPMorgan Chase’s Executive Committee and will be the firm’s senior executive across the region, in which Chase will add at least 20 branches a year to the local network of 240 branches and 1,000 ATMs. Martinez was elected as the first Cuban-American to the U.S. Senate in 2004, having served on the Senate Committees of Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Foreign Relations; Energy and Natural Resources, and Commerce as well as the Special Committee on Aging. Chase serves nearly 6 million customers in Florida and employs 14,000 Floridians. The bank also has provided face-to-face loan counseling for more than 18,000 families struggling through its 11 Chase Homeownership Centers in Florida.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has launched a new financial Web site to serve the Hispanic community, www.termineconsudeuda.org.
Among the financial education tools available on the site, consumers will find a Consumer Tips section relevant to their everyday concerns. Located within this area are a Budget Worksheet, multiple calculators and consumer tips articles. Those interested in credit counseling will find an overview of the credit counseling process, a Frequently Asked Questions area, and information on how to locate an NFCC Member Agency to set an appointment for counseling. Additionally, useful information is provided for those needing housing counseling or fearing foreclosure, along with an overview of the bankruptcy process for those in deep financial distress. Of particular note is the number of financial education products the NFCC has made available in Spanish. Workbooks include Claves Para Ser Propietario (Keys to Homeownership), a step-by-step guide to buying a home, Mejore su Suerte (Better Fortunes), a common-sense approach to managing money, Hay Mas de Una Salida (More than One Way Out), which offers an overview of and alternatives to bankruptcy, and Viva Una Vida Mas Plena (Live a Richer Life), a financial recovery roadmap post-bankruptcy.
The NFCC also created a DVD for borrowers concerned about foreclosure. CÃ³mo Evitar la EjecuciÃ³n Hipotecaria is available to consumers free of charge, and can be ordered through www.termineconsudeuda.org. The NFCC routinely develops and distributes radio and television Public Service Announcements (PSA) in Spanish, and regularly publishes news releases in Spanish.
The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, which took effect February 22, 2010, requires new disclosures on monthly credit card statements, which the Financial Services Roundtable and the Center for Responsible Lending have teamed to explain. Intending to make the cost of credit clearer to American consumers, the new disclosures WILL:
Show you how long it will take to pay off your entire balance if you pay only the minimum payment each month and make no additional purchases or advances; Show how much you would have to pay each month to pay off the entire balance in 3 years; Show the total cost, including principal and interest, if you make only minimum payments to pay off the balance; and Show how much more in interest you will pay by making the minimum payments rather than the larger payments to pay off the balance in three years. The disclosures will NOT, however, Change or extend your monthly due date; Take into account future transactions; nor Answer all questions regarding new disclosures.
JPMorgan Chase& Co. reported fourth-quarter 2009 net income of $3.3
billion, compared with net income of $702 million in the fourth quarter
of 2008, with retail Financial Services reporting a net loss of $399
million, compared with net income of $624 million in the prior year, and
a net revenue of $7.7 billion, a decrease of $1.0 billion (12%). The
provision for credit losses was $4.2 billion, an increase of $653
million from the prior year and $241 million from the prior quarter.
Retail Banking reported net income of $1.0 billion, relatively flat
compared with the prior year, with net revenue of $4.5 billion, also
flat compared with the prior year, and the provision for credit losses
was $248 million, compared with $268 million in the prior year. For
Chase Card Services, there was a net loss of $306 million, compared with
a net loss of $371 million in the prior year.
4Q/09 CARD SERVICE RESULTS
($ millions) 4Q09 3Q09 4Q08 $ O/(U) O/(U) % $ O/(U) O/(U) %
Net Revenue $5,148 $5,159 $4,908 ($11) -% $240 5%
Credit Losses 4,239 4,967 3,966 (728) (15) 273 7
Noninterest Expense 1,396 1,306 1,489 90 7 (93) (6)
Net Loss ($306) ($700) ($371) $394 56% $65 18%
Credit card companies are at their drawing boards brainstorming ways to bypass Federal Reserve Board rules and a new federal law set to take full effect in late February 2010, as 80 million families with one or more credit cards continue to be hit with unfair interest rate hikes and fees. Issuers that hold over 400 million credit card accounts conduct practices the legislation is targeting, including manipulation of interest rates, padding of miscellaneous fees and a deceptive policy on late-payment fees. This, according to a new research report from the Center for Responsible Lending entitled “Dodging Reform: As Some Credit Card Abuses Are Outlawed, New Ones Proliferate,” show practices make it all but impossible for the average person to determine the real cost of credit card debt with issuers’ eagerness to exploit loopholes in the new federal rules underscores why lawmakers need to pass legislation to create the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The report also spotlights the “pick-a-rate” practice, for which a card company tells cardholders their interest rate will be pegged to the prime rate, adding language to the issuer to pick the highest prime rate in a 90-day period – no longer a single day.
New research reveals overdraft fees rose 35% last year as more
consumers struggled with bills. The Center for Responsible Lending says
banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees
in 2008. The CRL says recent changes in some overdraft programs do not
address some of the most abusive features of the programs and can easily
be reversed once the spotlight shifts. Reform of overdraft practices
should be set into law–and soon. Policymakers should: require that
institutions deny debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals without
charge if the funds aren’t there; require that overdraft fees bear some
relationship to a lender’s cost of covering a shortfall; limit the
number of fees that can be charged to a customer during a year before
the institution must enroll the customer in a reasonably priced
overdraft product, such as a line of credit, if it wants to keep
charging for overdrafts; and consolidate and streamline existing federal
consumer protection authority by housing it in one organization: the
proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.