ECONOMICS JUNE

The Japan leading index decreased by 1.3% while the coincident index
decreased .9% for the month of June 2008, according to the Conference
Board. The leading index’ decline is consistent with a 4.2% decline
since December, a steady downturn since June of 2007 and is a direct
result of falling stock prices, poor business conditions, diminishing
real operating profits and diminishing real money supply. Meanwhile, the
coincident index decline is less than that of the month prior, yet is
still consistent with the 1.6% drop over the preceding 6 months. This
decline is mostly a result of a decline in wage, salary and industrial
production. Founded in 1916, The Conference Board is a business
membership and research network to help executives build professional
relationships, expand business knowledge and find solutions to business
challenges.

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PayPal Lands the LendingTree CIO

PayPal has hired Scott Guilfoyle, previously with LendingTree, as its
SVP, Platform Services. In this role, Guilfoyle will be responsible for
product development, IT
operations, security and corporate architecture. Guilfoyle brings
extensive technology and payments expertise to PayPal,
having held key leadership positions at General Electric, Bank of
America. While at Bank of
America, he oversaw an organization of 1,200 people, ran Bank of
America’s credit card business and helped build their online banking
platform.

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BES & FUJITSU

To promote efficient dispensing of bank notes, implement cash recycling
and deploy measures for the removal of counterfeit bills from
circulation, Banco Espirito Santo (BES) will be integrating Fujitsu IT
services’ cash recycling machines at bank counters. The cash management
equipment is being implemented at 150 BES counters with the highest
number of cash transactions to accept, dispense and control cash,
allowing employees to concentrate on customer account management, sales
and service. This development will afford Banco Espirito Santo less time
wasted in balancing accounts, faster training of counter operators and
improved customer service levels while reducing operational costs
through automation.

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ACONITE & ACT

To reinforce its commitment to the Canadian issuers looking to introduce
Chip and PIN (EMV) cards, Aconite software and consulting services has
joined the Advanced Card Technologies (ACT) Canada stakeholder
association. ACT and its members promote the awareness, understanding
and use of all advanced card applications and technologies in the North
American cards market. Aconite helps Issuers understand challenges and
operational impacts of moving from a magnetic stripe to Chip and PIN
card base with solutions for rapid migration to the EMV standard with
minimal disruption to existing operations.

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FOMC Stuck Between Rock & Hard Place

Yesterday’s decision to hold the line on interest rates demonstrates
how much the Fed is caught between a rock and hard place.
The Federal Open Market Committee noted that tight credit conditions,
the ongoing housing contraction, and elevated energy prices are likely
to weigh on economic growth over the next few quarters. However, some
economists see rate hikes next year as the economy improves. According
to CardTrak credit card interest rates continue to nudge down. With the
current 5% prime rate, variable rate cards averaged 15.08% and fixed
rate cards 14.78% last month.

PRIME RATE & CREDIT CARD RATES
Prime Fixed Variable
Jul 07 8.25% 14.96% 16.69%
Aug 07 8.25% 14.97% 16.70%
Sep 07: 7.75% 14.98% 16.58%
Oct 07: 7.75% 14.99% 16.39%
Nov 07: 7.50% 15.00% 16.29%
Dec 07: 7.25% 15.02% 16.02%
Jan 08: 6.50% 14.97% 15.79%
Feb 08: 6.00% 14.95% 15.64%
Mar 08: 6.00% 14.93% 15.60%
Apr 08: 5.25% 14.89% 15.35%
May 08: 5.00% 14.88% 15.11%
Jun 08: 5.00% 14.85% 15.08%
Jul 08: 5.00% 14.78% 15.01%
Source: CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com)

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WU ACQUISITION

To meet its commitment to expand its margins of profitability while
reducing distribution and operating costs, Western Union has acquired
its Panama-based money transfer and bill payments agent to create the
Transfer Express de Panama business entity. A direct result of the
acquisition, Transfer Express de Panama is to directly operate its own
15 locations and manage relationships with sub-Agents of 100 sites
throughout Panama, in which WU has had presence since 1991. Western
Union and its affiliates, Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, provides global
money-transfer services for sending money, paying bills and purchasing
money orders through more than 355,000 Agent locations in over 200
countries around the world.

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Simon Malls Offers Olympic Giftcards

A limited edition “Olympic Giftcard” is now available at 185 Simon
Malls coast-to-coast. Only 100,000 cards will be available that also
contain a unique GWP CD-ROM that gives consumers access to bonus
Olympics footage, music, and ringtones. The new card is the creation of
VISA, Coca-Cola and Simon Malls. One dollar from each of the giftcards
sold will support the U.S. Olympic Committee. Additionally, the GWP
CD-ROM offers access to a variety of Sega Games. The “Gift That Takes
The Gold” campaign includes new and innovative Coca-Cola Olympic
Games-themed vending machines, which trigger additional game activation.
The limited-edition Visa Olympic Games-themed giftcard is a prepaid Visa
product and will be sold in denominations of $20 to $500 at the Guest
Services Center at the malls or online.

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KIC Cleaning Card Uses Waffletechnology

Designed to extend the life of the scanner, KICTeam has deployed its
check scanner cleaning card using “Waffletechnology” for use with
Epson’s “CaptureOne” check scanning solution. The KICTeam ‘Cleaning
Card’ has been specially designed in conjunction with the Epson team to
clean all parts of the desktop scanner, including the transport, track,
MICR head and scanner glass, using flexible cleaning card waffles with
raised platforms while the “CaptureOne” scanner check capture device is
useful for both back office capture and remote deposit capture
applications. Epson printers, precision printing
mechanisms and digital image scanners was founded in 1975 in Long Beach,
CA while KICTeam provides cost efficient patented cleaning cards to
organizations throughout the country.

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OTI to Supply EGR Contactless Readers

Smart card provider On Track Innovations
will supply its contactless readers to the ERG Group for Utah Transit
Authority’s contactless credit card bus payment solution. The contract
for the full rollout of the system in the Salt Lake City
metropolitan area follows the recently reported successful pilot project
completed by ERG and UTA. Buses serving Salt Lake City area
ski resorts were equipped with the new system which allowed customers to
use contactless credit cards and other smart cards for both transit
payment and ski resort access. UTA will allow a variety of cards to be
used for fare payment including UTA-issued, employer-provided transit
smart cards, local university passes,
ski resort passes and contactless credit cards. At full system roll-out,
the system will feature a unique to ERG onboard, rapid authorization of
contactless credit cards to minimize any risk of credit card fraud.

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REBATE CARD BATTLE

Citi’s new “Shell MasterCard” projects it can save U.K. drivers about GBP63 each, or a total of GBP27 million per year just for fuel purchases. Citi also calculates cardholders can save and additional
GBP72 per year for other purchases, for about GBP135 per year. The card offers 3% cash back on Shell fuel purchases in Great Britain and 1% on all other purchases. The card also offers other motoring benefits. Citi says the new card is the best in rebates in the U.K., comparring itself the similar cards. Other cards included “Barclaycard Cashback”; “Tesco ClubCard”; “M&S &More”; “Amex Platinum MoneyBack”; “Amex Nectar”; “Capital One Cashback Card”; and “MBNA Rewards Visa.”

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PRAA Acquires a Louisiana Tax Firm

Account management services Portfolio Recovery Associates has acquired
the assets of LA-based Broussard Partners & Associates which specializes
in providing audit services to local tax authorities. The purchase of
privately held Broussard Partners closed on August 1,
2008, and it is now operating as part of RDS. Lisa Broussard, the firm’s
President, has entered into a long-term employment agreement with RDS.
Financial terms of the cash transaction, which included substantially
all assets of Broussard & Partners, were not disclosed. Portfolio
Recovery Associates also provides a broad range of collection services,
including revenue administration for government entities through its RDS
and MuniServices businesses, collateral-location services for credit
originators via its IGS subsidiary and bankruptcy servicing through PRA
Receivables Management, LLC.

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