RedFin Network Repositions its E-Brand

Secured Financial Network has rolled out the a redesigned website for its
owned subsidiary RedFin Network with a focus on easy access to RedFin Network’s product lines, services, and support, as
well as showcasing the company’s brand positioning and strength in the
market. RedFin Network owns and operates a Level 1 (PCI) Certified payment
gateway known throughout the industry as The RedFin Gateway. RedFin
Network exclusively provides 24/7 Class A support, distribution,
wireless activation, billing and fulfillment for Blue Bamboo products
and services in the Americas. RedFin Network services ISO/MSP acquiring
companies while managing The RedFin Gateway, and POS terminal /
solutions helpdesk.

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2009 Online Holiday Sales Edge Up by 3%

For the holiday season-to-date, $12.26 billion has been spent online, marking a 3% increase versus the corresponding days last year. “Cyber Monday” reached $887 million in online spending, up 5% versus year ago, and matching the heaviest online spending day on record. comScore reports that “Cyber Monday’s” 5% growth in sales versus a year ago was driven primarily by an increase in the number of buyers, reflecting consumers’ increasing familiarity and comfort with online buying, while average spending per buyer was down slightly, presumably a result of economic constraints. Specifically, the number of online buyers grew 6% to 8.7 million, while the average dollars spent per buyer declined 2% to $102.19. On “Cyber Monday” this year, more than half of dollars spent online at U.S. Web sites originated from work computers (52.7%), representing a gain of 2.3 percentage points from last year.

2009 Holiday Season
($ millions)
2007 2008 2009 CHNG
Nov 1 – Dec 1 $12,217 $12,025 $12,262 +3%
Pre-Thanksgiving $10,035 $9,588 $9,876 +3%
Thanksgiving and Later $ 2,182 $2,437 $2.536 +4%
Thanksgiving Day $ 272 $288 $318 +10%
Black Friday $ 531 $534 $595 +11%
Thanksgiving Weekend $ 645 $769 $805 + 5%
Cyber Monday $ 733 $846 $887 + 5%
Source: comScore

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MFI Benchmarks to be Released in December

The Microfinance “Information Exchange” business information and data services provider for the global microfinance industry released its latest data set, the “2008 MFI Benchmarks,” the first of its kind to reflect the impact of the financial crisis and the subsequent global economic slowdown on microfinance providers.The benchmarks cover financial and performance data from 1084 MFIs (microfinance institutions) throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America for calendar year 2008. The 2008 MFI Benchmarks will be featured in the #19 issue of MicroBanking Bulletin, due out Dec. 30 from MIX and is available for download at: www.themix.org.

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NewPage to Offer Ceridian Payroll Cards

Coated paper manufacturer NewPage Corporation will use Ceridian’s payroll, HR, tax filing and other
services to support its HR management needs. NewPage has
approximately 7,800 salaried, hourly and hourly union employees located
in multiple states and Canada. NewPage’s size and geographic diversity
make it a challenging HR environment to manage, but one especially well
suited to Ceridian’s expertise. For their part, the NewPage team was not only looking for HR and payroll
solutions that worked, but a team with whom they could partner to
produce best practices and most importantly provide NewPage employees
with an excellent experience. The open, frank discussions during the RFP
process set the stage for real chemistry between the two teams.
In early 2008 Ceridian released the
industry’s first HR/payroll management solution that managed payroll and
related HR services for both Canada and the U.S.

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Twitter Co-Founder Intros Square Payments

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced this week a new company that enables merchants and individuals to accept secure payment from credit cards using a mobile phone. The new “Square” company aids a merchant by attaching a card-reading dongle to the smartphone’s audio input — or any device with an audio input jack. According to Square’s website, payees can start accepting payments via Square in under 60 seconds, with “no contracts, monthly fees, or hidden costs.” The company donates one cent from every transaction to the charity of the payer’s choice. In order to streamline the process, payees can register for Square and upload a photo, so that payees can verify that you are who you say you are. Square is backed by Khosla Ventures and a team of angels. Square, Inc. has offices in San Francisco (Product & Engineering), Saint Louis (Operations), and New York City (Risk & Partnerships).

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PROSPER.COM EXEC

Prosper.com P2P lending marketplace has appointed Nick Talwar as Chief
Revenue Officer to oversee revenue and customer growth for the company.
As the former head of Citibank Sweden, he oversaw the quintupling of the
customer base, doubling assets and the introduction of Citi as a leading
credit card business. Prior to this, he launched and served as the
business head for Flexible Equity Lending and as head of sales and
strategy for Citi’s credit card business in EMEA. This after having
served as a founding Director of Schwab Bank and beginning his career at
Bain & Company. Nick holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the
University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in International Politics and
International Economics from The School of Foreign Service at Georgetown
University.

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Elan Financial Signs Peoples Bank

Peoples Bank has signed a joint marketing agreement with Elan Financial Services
to serve the credit card needs of Peoples Bank clients. As of January 1,
that date, all credit card products and promotions will be offered through Peoples Bank
branded credit cards and serviced by Elan. Since 2004, Peoples Bank has accessed credit card providers through
joint marketing agreements to make available competitive credit card offerings to
Peoples Bank clients. Elan offers enhancements such as traditional low rate credit cards,
rewards cards, and cards for building or re-establishing credit. Elan is a single
source for a wide range of credit card products for consumer and business customers.
Peoples Bancorp Inc. is a diversified financial products and services
company with $2.0 billion in assets, 47 locations and 39 ATMs in Ohio, West Virginia and
Kentucky.

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ADS and KeyCorp Extend Epsilon Deal

ADS’ Epsilon subsidiary has signed an extension agreement with
OH-based KeyCorp to continue providing direct marketing services to
KeyCorp’s KeyBank, through Epsilon’s agency,
“Purple@Epsilon”. Under the terms of the extension agreement,
“Purple@Epsilon” will remain
KeyBank’s direct marketing agency-of-record, providing services that
include integrated direct marketing strategy, direct mail production and
analytic support. Epsilon’s team will focus on approximately 14 KeyBank
lines of business, including consumer, small business, large corporate,
wealth management, and more. The goals of the direct marketing efforts
are to retain and cross-sell existing KeyBank customers, as well as
acquire new KeyBank customers. In addition to assisting KeyBank with
strategic planning and development
of its direct marketing programs, Epsilon will design the direct mailers
that promote KeyBank’s products and services, which range from checking
accounts and lines of credit to treasury management products and
investment services. Beyond creative design, Epsilon will print and
personalize the mail kits. Epsilon will also provide data and analytic
services, such as data modeling, prospect list procurement and data file
cleansing to help KeyBank target the right audience, maximize postal
discounts, reduce the amount of undeliverable direct mail, and optimize
overall marketing spend on campaigns.

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U.S. QSR Card Volume to Drop Slightly in 2009

Payment card volume for U.S. fast food sales is set to fall by two percentage points this year. Consumers will likely rack-up $69 billion worth of fast food on their personal credit and debit cards this year, compared to $70 billion one-year ago. The 40% CAGR in quick service restaurant volume between 2004 and 2008 was driven by expanded merchant acceptance, promotion of card usage and new contactless payment options, according to CardData (www.carddata.com). The current economic turmoil has given new energy to “dollar” menus which has been driving payment card growth. Americans spend about $195 billion per year at quick service restaurants.

QSR ON PLASTIC HISTORICAL
2000: $ 1.7 billion
2001: $ 3.7 billion
2002: $ 6.1 billion
2003: $12.9 billion
2004: $22.5 billion
2005: $33.2 billion
2006: $51.3 billion
2007: $62.8 billion
2008: $70.4 billion
2009: $68.9 billion
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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SMALL BUSINESS STRUGGLE

Among Canadian small business owners, 25% are not taking a raise; 23%
are refusing a bonus and 16% are taking a pay cut in order to recognize
employees and clients. Nevertheless, 12% fewer small business owners
will be giving their employees bonuses this holiday season Y/Y to 33%;
7% fewer intend to give to charity (33%); 5% less will give employee
gifts (37%) and 4% less will give client gifts (31%). This, according to
the American Express Small Business Holiday Monitor, are showing many
business owners are making up for it with 50% planning to treat their
employees to a party or dinner while 43% are planning to give employees
extra time off. Cost savings has become a priority, with 75% having
introduced some form of cost reduction policies in the last year; 48% of
whom having instituted longer working hours, 47% instituting pay
freezes, 45% reducing spending allowances and 23% having introduced pay
cuts in the past year. Additionally, 67% are “optimistic” for
improvement in the coming year.

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Unbanked and Underbanked Households Expand

Currently 25.6% of all U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked with disproportionately low-income. With nine million households unbanked-17 million adults-and 21 million households underbanked-43 million adults,- 21.7% of black households are unbanked; as are 19.3% of Hispanics and 15.6% of American Indian/Alaskans. Only 3.5% Asians and 3.3% of whites were unbanked. These findings, according to the FDIC “National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households,” also show among the underbanked- those who rely on alternative financial services such as non-bank money orders and the like- 31.6% of black households partook, as did 28.9% American Indian/Alaskans, 24% of Hispanics 7.2% of Asian households and 14.9% of white households. Additional findings show households with income under $30,000 account for at least 71% of unbanked households; nearly 20% of lower-income U.S. households do not have a bank account; and 4.2% of households with annual income between $30,000 and $50,000 are unbanked.

HOUSEHOLDS & UNBANKED (%)
Black: 21.7
Hispanic: 19.3
Native American: 15.6
Asian: 3.5
White: 3.3
Source: FDIC

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U.S. Credit Card ROAA Rebounds for 3rd Month

The “Return on Average Assets” for the U.S. credit card industry rebounded again in October for the third month after a year of steady decline. The record low was reached in June at a negative ten basis points. For October, the figure returned to positive territory at a positive 42 basis points. According to CardData, the ROAA for Visa and MasterCard portfolios peaked in February 2007 at 263 basis points. ROAA is determined by dividing the after-tax return by the average managed card outstandings and then annualizing. According to R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers, pre-tax profit for the U.S. credit card industry declined 2.7% in 2008 to $39.6 billion driven by rising expense streams, especially charge-offs. For the latest portfolio metrics, visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

RETURN ON AVERAGE ASSETS
Oct 08: 1.04%
Nov 08: 0.95%
Dec 08: 0.88%
Jan 09: 0.79%
Feb 09: 0.68%
Mar 09: 0.61%
Apr 09: 0.31%
May 09: 0.27%
Jun 09: -0.10%
Jul 09: -0.02%
Aug 09: 0.06%
Sep 09: 0.31%
Oct 09: 0.42%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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