May Bankruptcy Filings Hit Lowest Total Since February

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] May consumer bankruptcies fell 16% nationwide from the year ago period with overall consumer filing totals having dwindled from 136,142 down to 114,803. These findings also indicate a 15% decrease from just the month prior when 134,720 consumer bankruptcy filings were recorded and is at its lowest since January filings, which…

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MasterCard Advisors Shows May 2011 U.S. Retail Sector Driven by Mother’s Day and Graduation

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”0″ ihc_mb_template=”1″] MasterCard Advisors’ “SpendingPulse” macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales provided summary results for performance of specific U.S. retail industries in May 2011. Luxury, high-end Jewelry and e-Commerce enjoyed strong growth, as did the Hotel and Restaurant categories. Apparel also continued to show gains while housing-related sectors such as Furniture,…

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MoneyGram International Adds Global Network Agents

MoneyGram International has added Friendly Check and RiteCheck financial service center agents to its agent network. With this, Friendly Check-which began offering MoneyGram services on May 16- and RiteCheck- which began offing MoneyGram service on April 26- can now provide international money transfer and bill payment services under the MoneyGram brand. Friendly Check added 45 customer-centric locations across North Carolina and Virginia that offer MoneyGram Express Payment and Utility Bill Payment products in addition to money transfers while RiteCheck added 12 high-volume locations in Harlem and the Bronx to MoneyGram’s network and will provide MoneyGram Express Payment and money transfer services.

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Trustwave Releases Threat Management Solution

Trustwave information security and compliance solutions, has significantly extended the breadth and value of its “Unified Threat Management” (UTM) solution with the addition of new services that provide critical network protection and address regulatory compliance requirements. Trustwave’s UTM now includes network access control (NAC), vulnerability scanning and log management features. Consolidating these services in a single platform allows Trustwave customers to reduce IT spending by meeting security objectives and compliance requirements with the same technology. Trustwave offers the UTM as a managed service, freeing up IT staff to focus on other critical activities and providing additional cost savings. It provides Fully Integrated NAC to detect unauthorized devices and network services for wired and wireless devices that connect to the network; Vulnerability Scanning to report on vulnerabilities for target devices on the network interior to enable proactive remediation, helping to minimize the risk of compromise; and Log Management to analyze aggregated log data for anomalies helping with early detection of malicious or unauthorized activity.

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Pre-Paid Card Market Opportunity Growing

The pre-paid card market is slated to explode, given 50% of payment industry professionals surveyed expect wider adoption of pre-paid cards as more consumers move away from credit cards and cash. Also, Nearly 30% disclosed more consumers are sure to become “loaders” while over 40% indicated that increased scrutiny from regulators regarding loading and set-up fees will pose the greatest risk to the industry. These findings, according to a survey conducted by Firstsource Solutions conducted at the Card Forum & Expo, also showed 47% said educating card holders on the nuances of a pre-paid will be critical to successful adoption and overall growth in the market and the Dodd-Frank bill was top-of-mind for 45% of payments professionals while only 9% said the Consumer Financial Protection Act was still concerning.

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Fiserv Partners With Morningstar, Tunes Investment Data

Fiserv financial services technology solutions will enhance its “Financial Advice Solutions” by integrating Morningstar data and analytics. This will integrate a number of Morningstar databases into the front-office “Financial Advice Solutions” from Fiserv for retirement income modeling, financial planning and Monte Carlo simulations. With the new integrated modules powered by Morningstar data, advisors will be able to access, analyze and propose multi-vehicle, multi-asset class investment portfolios with historical simulations and related performance statistics.

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Citi and the Citi Foundation Announce $25mm University Research Initiative

Citigroup launched its “Financial Insights Project,” whereby over the next five years, the Citi Foundation will provide up to $25 million to leading universities conducting research on issues affecting the financial services in innovation, technology, globalization and consumer behavior. For 2011, the Citi Foundation will award individual contributions to the graduate schools at Columbia University, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford and Yale. Globalization: Innovation, Risk and Regulation in a Global World: Top faculty and graduate fellows from Columbia University’s schools of business, law, and other divisions will examine the interplay of global and local product innovation; U.S. Competitiveness: Sustaining the American Advantage: Harvard Business School’s faculty will study various facets of U.S. competitiveness; Impact of Technology on Retail Banking and Consumer Finance: MIT’s Sloan School of Management will research the impact of technology on the future of retail banking and applications of data-mining techniques; Financial Services Innovation and the Impact of Social Media on Financial Services: The Stanford Graduate School of Business will conduct research on financial services innovation; and Dynamics of Consumer and Financial Behaviors in China and India: Yale School of Management faculty will pursue market expansion effects of mobile banking and investigate the dynamics of how financial markets impact society.

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Bank of America Offers Relief for Devastating Tornados

Bank of America announced a $50,000 commitment to aid communities affected by last night’s tornados in western and central Massachusetts, half of which will be directed to the American Red Cross in support of their immediate recovery efforts, while the other half will be used in the coming weeks and months as the rebuilding process gets underway. In addition, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will match employee pledges to relief efforts through the bank’s Matching Gifts program.

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DATACARD ANNOUNCES SEMINAR FOR U.S. CARD ISSUERS

Datacard Group secure ID and card personalization solutions will be hosting a seminar specifically focused on educating U.S. bank executives on how to build EMV compliant card programs into their portfolios. Held on June 21st and June 22nd, 2011 at Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Pennsylvania, this seminar will be led by Datacard Group card issuance industry experts, who will give a high level educational overview on implementation options and infrastructure requirements needed to rollout an effective EMV compliant card program. Successfully implemented in over 200 card production environments for EMV-compliant programs, Datacard® brand solutions currently issue over five million smart cards every day worldwide.

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One Step Retail Solutions Announces Up-Coming Conference

One Step Retail Solutions (www.onestepretail.com) is sponsoring a new event in June to “Increase Your Cash Flow and Profitability Conference,” targeting retailers who use Retail Pro POS software. The all-day event will be held on Tuesday, June 28th and will feature the CEO of Retail Pro International, speaking about the future development of Retail Pro software and its impact on the 35,000 stores around the world that use this point of sale system. Attendees will also receive passes for two to the Skirball Cultural Center Museums.

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Equifax and Fico Partner to Offer Banks Improved Credit Choices

Equifax and Fico partnered to enhance the latter’s “Triad Customer Manager,” integrating it with the former’s “Customer Insights” service. This first solution from the companies’ expanded partnership will allow lenders and card issuers to improve predictions of customer risk and behaviour and make more profitable credit management decisions. Equifax’s “Customer Insights” offering, banks, card issuers and retailers using “FICO TRIAD” Customer Manager can easily integrate a comprehensive range of customer-level data into their credit decision strategies. With the FICO “TRIAD Customer Manager,” it lets financial organisations improve credit decisions on which credit offers to make to which customers, what over-limit transactions to authorise, how to treat early-stage delinquencies in collections, and how to manage customers’ credit limits.

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Knoah Solutions Awarded PCI-DSS Certificate

Knoah Solutions completed its compliance audit by TÜV Rheinland Group auditing and was given an Attestation of Compliance for PCI-DSS certification. The TÜV Rheinland Group is a leading provider of technical services worldwide. Knoah Solutions business process outsourcing (BPO) services has provided low-cost, multi-channel customer service and technical support. Their largest client earned the J.D. Power & Associates customer service award three years in a row.

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