Most Hispanics are Unbanked or Underbanked

The results of market research
firm Encuesta and microlender ACCION USA “Americanos Poll” indicates
that 53% percent of Hispanics are unbanked or underbanked and rely on
less sophisticated methods for everyday transactions
such as check-cashing. Other results reveal that 15% turn to credit
cards for cash advances and that only 36% are “very” familiar with
how to build or manage credit, compared to 46% of non-Hispanics.
Familiarity with various financial products and services among
low-to-moderate income individuals is limited. Fewer than half indicate
awareness of educational savings accounts, 39% of credit/debt counseling
services, and 43% aware of common loan products such as equity credit lines.

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EXPERIAN EXEC

Mel Mason has been promoted to the new role of Global Chief Information
Officer (CIO) with Experian. Previously Managing Director of Technology
Services for the company since 2003, Mason will be responsible for the
implementation of a common technology strategy, deployment policy,
enhancing service delivery quality, integrating data centers,
integrating networks and improving overall operating efficiencies across
Experian businesses. Prior to his joining Experian, he was with GUS’s
Home Shopping division for 12 years as IT Director and with Tesco for 17
years as IT Director.

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Diebold Deploys Opteva ATMs in New Jersey

Diebold Integrated Services has delivered an end-to-end turnkey
installation of 27 Opteva ATMs to NJ-based Financial Resources Federal
Credit Union.The package consists of advanced function and cash
dispenser models; first- and second-line maintenance; cash handling and
currency management; ATM and debit card processing; customized marketing
screens; client services and governance reporting. Many of the units
were installed off-premises so, as an added
opportunity to further establish Financial Resources’ brand identity,
Diebold customized every Financial Resources’ ATM to feature a new look
and feel. Financial Resources FCU has
almost 25,000 members and total assets over $300 million.

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Fresh Report Suggests New Loan Strategies

A new report suggests that banks need to align three distinct and
unique operational strategies that support the life cycle of a loan:
origination strategy, servicing strategy and default management
strategy. Aite Group says that since trouble in the sub-prime mortgage
industry first became evident in June of 2007, there has been a growing
concern over the delinquencies and losses being experienced in the
lending industry. As problems progressed, it became evident that the
ramifications of sub-prime mortgage lending have adversely impacted many
sectors of the lending industry in some shape or form, including credit
cards. However, the report notes that due to loose lending practices and
high levels of risk taken, many banks and specialty lenders were clearly
not well prepared to deal with the most recent economic downturn.

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ChargeSmart Says Auto Payments Most Popular

San Francisco-based online payment provider ChargeSmart has experienced growth in
automotive loans and leases transaction since the company launched its online service this past
July. Current usage trends gathered by the company indicate that a high
percentage of consumers are paying auto loans using its service and are
scheduling future automotive transactions up to a year in advance using
ChargeSmart’s “AutoPay” feature. ChargeSmart follows Payment Card
Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), including the use of
High-grade AES 256-bit SSL encryption, an industry standard technique,
to safeguard consumers’ private information that is transmitted via the
Internet. With a network of more than 4,000 billers, ChargeSmart’s
comprehensive Web-based payment application allows consumers with a
major credit card to make payments to companies in four different
industries, including auto loans and/or leases, home mortgages,
education loans and utility companies.

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BLACKLISTING CARDS

The People’s Bank of China has announced intentions to blacklist foreign
bankcards involved in fraud cases to curb bankcard crimes for an
Olympics-friendly payment environment. Having teamed with law
enforcement, the organization has registered 1,600 cases and arrested
342 suspects implicating more than 40 million yuan. This is in
comparison to the 240 trillion yuan transferred through banknotes last
year, 18 trillion in 2001 and 116 trillion through bankcards. There is a
total of 1.6 billion bankcards issued in China, compared to 380 million
in 2001, 95% of Beijing merchants accept domestic bankcards and 90% of
Beijing merchants accept foreign cards.

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London 2012 Olympic Visa is Introduced

As the 2008 Olympics come to a close, Lloyds TSB is launching its “London 2012 Olympic Visa” debit card. The new card is available until October. An official sponsor of the Olympic games, Visa is launching the green, silver, gold and black “London 2012” debit card featuring the “London 2012” logo will be provided new customers opening a current account with the bank and will be provided existing Lloyds TSB customers requiring a card replacement. An official sponsor of London 2012, Lloyds TSB has exclusive access and category marketing rights for the event, the current Beijing Games and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

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Discover Introduces Income Gap Protection

Discover has launched an optional supplemental loss-of-income program
for its cardholders. The new “Discover Income Gap Protection” program
offers either single or joint coverage for a monthly cost of $19.75 or
$34.75, respectively. Benefits include: $500 per month, per person for
up to six months of total disability; $500 per month, per person for up
to three months of involuntary unemployment; $500 per month, per person
for up to three months in the event of unpaid family leave; and
accidental death coverage pays the insured’s beneficiary $10,000. Small
business owners are also eligible for Income Gap Protection at a monthly
cost of $23.75. Benefits include: $500 per month for up to three months
in the event of disability due to illness; $1,000 per month for up to
three months if the business fails; $1,000 per month for up to three
months in the event of disability due to an accident; $1,000 per month
for up to three months in the event of unpaid family leave; and
accidental death coverage of $10,000. “Income Gap Protection” is an
insurance program offered and underwritten by Central States Indemnity.

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WaMu Inks a Cardtronics Deal In Georgia

Washington Mutual and ATM supplier Cardtronics has entered into an
agreement to brand over 70 ATMs in CVS pharmacies located in Georgia.
The branded ATMs, which will feature the WaMu logo, transaction screens
and printed receipts,
will provide surcharge-free cash withdrawals, balance inquires and
account transfers, between their primary accounts, to all WaMu customers
with either an ATM Card or Debit MasterCard. These branded ATMs are
owned and operated by Cardtronics. This expansion through CVS/pharmacy
brings the total number of
surcharge-free ATMs in Georgia to more than 180.

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BISB VISA

Bahrain Islamic Bank has launched its new “Islamic Visa” credit
card providing Sharia’a compliance with the intentions of attracting and
maintaining devote Islamic consumers. Providing assurance of security
against unauthorized use with intelligent electronic chip technology,
the Islamic Visa credit card is offered as a “Classic card” with a
credit limit from BD300 to BD5, 000, a “Gold” credit card with a credit
limit from BD2, 000 to BD10,000 and a “Platinum Silver” card with a
finance level from BD3,000 to BD20,000. The BisB Islamic credit card are
useful at 24 million establishments, ATMs and outlets across Bahrain,
free miles from Gulf Air and gives back a 1% refund of purchases to the
card account until December 31st, 2008.

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Travelex Launches the Global Rewards Card

Foreign exchange specialist Travelex has unveiled the “Global Rewards
Card” for its repeat customers. Customers who exchange currency
pre-trip at Travelex will be given a free “Global Rewards Card” which
entitles them to a discount at their destination. The Company says the
new card will appeal especially to travelers visiting multiple
countries, such as backpackers, as well as frequent flyers and long stay
travelers who are unlikely to want to carry their entire cash needs with
them. Travelex also says this is the first time a foreign currency
provider has implemented a global promotion on this scale. Travelex is
the world’s largest foreign exchange specialist with over 700 retail
branches and 16,000 business customers.

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Synergy Data Snags Two Top Executives

Payment system provider Cynergy Data has hired Dane James, previously with First Data Commercial Services as the EVP
of Corporate Sales and Tom Della Badia as VP of Business Development position.
James will oversee strategy, development and planning for Cynergy Data’s
nationwide sales teams. As SVP and GM at First Data Commercial Services, James
managed key bank relationships. Prior to working for First Data, James
spent 13 years with Discover Card Financial Services and VISA USA. Della Badia manages ISO and
referral relationships for Cynergy Data. With 15 years of industry
experience, Della Badia plans to grow the company’s ISO channel and
referral partnership base. Della Badia’s prior experience includes the
role of Senior Vice President for IRN Payment Systems.

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