Chenault Ranked Among Top Black Executives

American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault has been named a ” BLACK
ENTERPRISE 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America”.
The final tally includes nine CEOs, 11 division chief
executives, and a host of top executives that significantly contribute
to their company’s revenues. Each executive holds a senior management
position at one of the top 1,000 publicly traded companies or at an
international corporation grossing revenues of $1 billion or more.
Nineteen companies have multiple executives on the list.
AmericanExpress and General Electric lead the way with four companies that
boast two executives on the list, Citigroup has two. The selection
criteria and comprehensive profiles of the 100 Most
Powerful Executives in Corporate America is available in the February
2009 issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE

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MC EUROPE 4Q/08

While positive, MasterCard Europe posted lackluster gains across the board for all payment cards metrics in the fourth quarter. For the fourth quarter, the European region reported growth in MasterCard gross euro volume (8%), purchase volume (8%), purchase transactions (8%), cash transactions (7%) and cards issued (10%), compared to the same period in 2007. For the third quarter, the European region reported growth in MasterCard gross euro volume (17%), purchase volume (17%), purchase transactions (13%), cash transactions (12%) and cards issued (15%), compared to the same period in 2007. At year-end 2008, 195 million MasterCard cards (excluding “Maestro”and “Cirrus”) had been issued by MasterCard customer financial institutions across Europe. European cardholders made 1.6 billion purchase transactions in the fourth quarter of 2008 and could use their MasterCard cards at 8.3 million acceptance locations in the region. In addition, the “Maestro” brand mark appeared on 313 million cards, up 5.4%, compared to the same quarter in 2007. Consumers can now make point of sale purchases with their “Maestro” cards at 7.1 million merchant locations throughout Europe. For complete details on MasterCard Europe’s fourth quarter performance visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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Ohio to Deploy the ACS EPPICard MasterCard

ACS announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has
implemented the “EPPICard” prepaid MasterCard to
distribute benefits to recipients of cash
assistance programs. The Ohio EPPICard can be used at member
banks, retailers and ATMs. In August 2009, paper distribution of program
benefits will begin to be phased out.
The state of Ohio has also relied on ACS for EPC distribution of child
support benefits for nearly five years. ACS processes more
than half of the nation’s child support payments; manages 20 electronic
payment card programs for state and federal clients, disbursing
government payments and benefits; processes nearly 375 million Medicaid
claims each year totaling more than $39 billion in payments; services
student loans for more than 10 million borrowers; and facilitates more
than 75 million online searches for unclaimed property per year.

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Commerce and Navy FCU Extend Visa Contracts

Visa has inked Commerce Bancshares and Navy Federal Credit Union to
long-term deals. MO-based Commerce Bancshares will continue offering the
full range of Visa consumer and commercial products – including prepaid,
consumer debit and credit, small business debit and credit and
commercial cards – through 2013. Commerce Bancshares will also continue
to use “Visa Debit Processing Service” for its prepaid processing
capabilities. Under the terms of the Navy FCU agreement, the world’s
largest credit union will continue to offer Visa-branded consumer credit
and debit products to its 3.1 million members worldwide. In addition,
Navy Federal will expand its Visa prepaid and small business product
offerings. Commerce Bank operates in approximately 350 locations in the
Central U.S. Navy FCU has 3.1 million members and 170 branch offices. In
December M&T Bank renewed its brand partnership agreement with Visa and
WI-based M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank signed a a seven-year agreement to
renew its partnership with Visa. (CF Library 12/2/08; 12/3/08)

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LEI DROPS 4.3%

The Conference Board Leading Economic
Index (LEI) decreased 4.3% and The Conference Board
Coincident Economic Index (CEI) decreased 1.4% in December. Four of the ten components that make up the leading
economic index increased in December. The positive contributors to the
index include real money supply, stock prices, interest rate spread, and the
(inverted) business failures. The negative contributors include the index of
overtime worked, the six month growth rate of labor productivity, the
new orders for machinery and construction component, the Tankan
business conditions survey, dwelling units started, and real operating
profits. Industrial production registered a record drop this month. The number of employed persons and
the real retail, wholesale, and manufacturing sales component also made
negative contributions to the index. The six-month growth rate of the
CEI fell to -3.9%(a -7.6% annual rate), also its lowest
level since 1974. Moreover, the weaknesses among the coincident
indicators continued to be very widespread. At the same time, real GDP
continued its downtrend through the third quarter of 2008 – it declined
at a 1.8% annual rate. This is the first time since 2001 that
real GDP has declined in two consecutive quarters. The LEI and the CEI have been falling for more than a year now,
and their rate of decline continued to accelerate in the second half of
2008. In addition, the weaknesses in both composite indexes have been
very widespread. The coincident index now
stands at 99.0 (2004=100).

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Market Trackers Confirm Card Mail Drop-Off

Another industry tracker weighs in on the number of card direct mail
offers sent to Americans in 2008. Chicago-based Mintel Comperemedia
estimates 5.4 billion credit card direct mail offers for 2008, the
lowest annual total the firm has reported since 2000. Estimated 2007
mail volume was 7.4 billion and 8.3 billion for 2006. According to
CardWatch.com, direct mail credit card packages fell to an estimated 3.9
billion pieces in 2008, compared to 5.6 billion in 2007 and 5.8 billion
in 2006. The 3.9 billion level is the lowest since 2003. Synovate’s
“Mail Monitor” service estimates that U.S. households received 3.8
billion offers for new cards during 2008, a 27% decrease, or 1.4 billion
fewer offers mailed in 2008. Mintel reports that households making over
$100,000 a year received only 1% fewer credit card offers in 2008 than
in 2007. But households making $50,000 or less saw a 42% drop in new
credit card mail volume.

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RATE FREEZE

Barclays has made cuts in its credit card, mortgage and small business
interest rates which are tied to the Bank of England base rate
reduction of 0.5% points and augment a series of Barclays
initiatives designed to enhance its practical support of homeowners and
small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Barclays currently has approximately £15 billion in lending
balances in place with SME customers in the UK market, up 6%
year-on-year. Barclays is committed to making at least a further £1.5 billion
available to SMEs in 2009, bringing our total commitment to around £16.5
billion by the end of 2009 and is making available its CreditFocus service free of
charge to all UK small businesses in 2009, whether or not they are a
Barclays customer. Barclays is the leading bank on the recent Government initiative
on European Investment Bank (EIB) support. We have negotiated with the
EIB a relaxation in the customer qualifying criteria for an EIB-backed
loan and have committed to passing on the financial benefit of this in
full to the borrower. Barclays was the first in the industry to draw a
new EIB loan.

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Triton Plans to Roll-Out a New ATM in Mar

S-based ATM provider Triton is set to the roll out the “RL1600” line of
affordable off-premise ATMs.
The “RL1600” is an entry-level, reliable ATM that is compact and
whose affordable price makes it easy to place at multiple locations .
It offers support for advertising and screen customizing
capabilities, to enable ATM owners to create their own marketing
messages and
coupons which drives traffic to your location and increases customer
loyalty. The “RL1600″’s innovative configuration — including an
embedded PC-based
platform, Microsoft Windows® CE 5.0 operating system with Triton’s “X2”
technology — makes it as powerful as it is reliable. It has a large
storage capacity for journaling, and is expandable to meet future
compliance and application needs.

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Electracash Names a New Marketing Director

E-payment provider Electracash has selected Richard S. Cornejo,
previously with Charter Pacific Bank,
to serve as Director of Marketing. Cornejo has served as Executive Vice
President and BankCard Manager for Charter Pacific Bank, a leading
credit card acquiring bank for
e-commerce and high-risk category merchants, with a total portfolio
processing in excess of $250 million a year and has held a number of
senior executive management positions at leading financial institutions
in Southern California; including over ten years at Union Bank and more
than two years as President and Chief Executive Officer of BBH Qualified
Plans, Inc. Electracash is a leading payment service provider of eChecks for
Retailers, online B2B service providers and recurring Billers of online
purchases. Recently Electracash unveiled a comprehensive Affiliate
Program for electronic payment Resellers interested in creating
additional value for themselves and their business partners.

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Promontory Ankles a Card Industry Veteran

Washington DC-based financial services firm Promontory Financial Group
has appointed Michael Patriarca, previously with Visa and Wells Fargo,
as Managing Director.
Patriarca is part of a unique team of professionals
that includes former senior financial services regulators and
executives. He served as Executive Vice President for Risk
Management and Audit at Visa International, where he was responsible for
audit and risk management globally, and for interactions with the audit
committee and U.S. regulators. From 1992 to 1999, he was an executive
vice president at Wells Fargo Bank, where he directed the audit,
security, compliance and risk management functions. He also served as
president of the bank’s insurance distribution subsidiary. He holds a
bachelor’s degree in history from the University of
California-Davis, a juris doctor from Santa Clara University Law School,
and a master’s degree in laws from George Washington University Law
School. Promontory provides strategic advice and assistance to many
of the world’s largest financial companies, with a particular focus on
due diligence and developing practical solutions to address regulatory,
risk, compliance, capital and liquidity issues.

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