Stratus Rewards White VISA is Acquired

Los Angeles-based Pro Sports & Entertainment, a live entertainment concern, has acquired Los Angeles-based Stratus Rewards, a company marketing to affluent consumers. Stratus launched the white-colored “Stratus Rewards VISA” in April 2004. The card, which carried a $1500 annual fee, offers a points program redeemable towards private jet service. The invitation-only credit card also offers discounted charter flights and complimentary car service, upgrades and special benefits with luxury hotels and upscale merchandise discounts. Points can also be donated as a cash contribution to a handful of select philanthropic organizations. Pro Sports & Entertainment says the acquisition will enable the firm to create astounding entertainment and lifestyle experiences for its clients. (CF Library 4/14/04)

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ACE Cash Express’ 2Q/05 Income Triples

Dallas-based ACE Cash Express reported second calendar quarter net income of $6.6 million compared to $2.2 million for the year ago quarter. Among the company’s accomplishments: A record 40.2 million customer visits and $10.3 billion in processed transactions, 13.3 million checks, with a face value of approximately $5.3 billion, resulting in check-cashing fees of $131.6 million, up 2 percent and 2.1 million loan transactions, disbursing over $640 million in loan proceeds and generating interest income and fees of $91.8 million. ACE Cash Express, Inc. is a retailer of financial services and largest owner, operator and franchisor of check cashing stores in the US.

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VeriFone Q Revenues Climb 21%; Tops $125M

VeriFone reported that net revenues for the quarter ending July 31st rose 21% to $125.7 million. The payment terminal manufacturer says the increase was driven by strong performance in its international business. During the quarter, the Company announced its multi-lane “MX870” system which uses a PIN pad and merges full-motion video with payment capabilities into a single networking system, enabling multi-lane retailers to broadcast advertising and corporate messaging directly to their customers. VeriFone also received “Class A” product certifications with multiple U.S. processors for its “Vx Solutions.” VeriFone also teamed with San Francisco-based Pay By Touch during the quarter. VeriFone went public on April 29th. For complete details on VeriFone’s latest performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 4/29/05; 5/13/05)

REVENUE HISTORICAL
2Q/03: $ 88.9 million
3Q/03: $ 90.3 million
4Q/03: $ 87.9 million
1Q/04: $ 89.5 million
2Q/04: $104.0 million
3Q/04: $108.6 million
4Q/04: $111.3 million
1Q/05: $117.9 million
2Q/05: $125.7 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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ABS 60-Day Delinquency Falls to 1995 Levels

Charge-offs and delinquencies among credit card-backed securities headed south during July for both prime and sub-prime portfolios. The improving ratios are coupled with an unexpected drop-off in personal bankruptcy filings during the month. It was anticipated that charge-off ratios would trend up through January 2006 as last minute personal bankruptcy filings make their way into the courts through mid-October. For July, charge-offs in the “prime” asset-backed credit card securities market decreased 43 basis points to 5.98%. “Sub-prime” charge-offs fell by six basis points to 12.64%. One-year ago, “prime” charge-offs were 6.45% and “sub-prime” charge-offs stood at 16.68%. According to the “Fitch Credit Card Index,” “prime” delinquency (60+ days) fell to 2.58% in July, the lowest level since November 1995. “Sub-prime” delinquency (60+days) for July declined to 6.38%, the lowest level since February 2001.

ABS CHARGE-OFF HISTORICAL
Month Prime Sub-Prime
Jul 04: 6.45% 16.68%
Jun 05: 6.41% 12.70%
Ju1 05: 5.98% 12.64%
Source: Fitch Ratings

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ADS Inks a Credit/Gift Deal with Gordmans

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems has signed an agreement with Omaha-based apparel and home fashions retailer Gordmans to provide private label credit card and gift card services. Alliance Data will provide Gordmans gift card transaction processing, reporting, and customer service functions. Rewards can be fulfilled via gift cards, and gift card promotions. Alliance Data Systems provides transaction services, credit services and marketing services and manages over 105 million consumer relationships.

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UMB to Issue a Humana HSA VISA Debit

Kansas City-based UMB Bank has signed a deal with Humana to provide a VISA debit card linked to “Health Savings Accounts”. The HSA combines a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a tax sheltered savings account to help individuals and families manage their health care expenses. Electronic and telephonic access is available to check HSA monthly statements, request reimbursements and other related services.

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Jury Decides BestBank Partners Fate

The fate of the former owners of Fort Lauderdale-based Century Financial is being decided today by a jury in Denver. Douglas Baetz and Glenn Gallant, along with three others, were indicted in June 2003 on 95 counts of fraud in connection with the 1998 failure of BestBank which cost depositors more than $200 million. BestBank offered a sub-prime credit card that included a travel club membership. Under the “BestBank VISA” program, consumers would received a $600 credit limit in exchange for a $498 club membership fee and a $45 annual card fee. The program signed up 500,000 cardholders in its two year run and produced $240 million in credit card outstandings. The bank was seized by authorities after BestBank’s bad debt topped $134 million. During the trial, which started August 1st, prosecutors showed how bad credit card accounts were manipulated through BestBank’s relationship with Century Financial to conceal the true loss. Prosecutors also showed that the two defendants paid themselves millions of dollars per year in salary and bonuses while the program was imploding. (CF Library 8/27/98; 6/3/03)

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Equitex’s Second Quarter Revenue Up 31%

Colorado-based Equitex, which includes FastFunds Financial Corporation, Key Financial Systems, Nova Financial Systems and Denaris Corporation, reported second quarter revenues of $4.6 million, compared to $3.6 million for 2Q/04. Equitex, Inc. and its subsidiaries provide comprehensive cash access services to Native American and traditional casinos, other gaming facilities and retail establishments and provides stored value card services.

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AmEx Launches Private Jet Rewards

American Express has added “Private Jet Rewards” to its “Membership Rewards” program. To kick-off the program AmEx has cut the redemption requirements for private jet service in half through December 31st. A $5,000 credit toward the purchase of a private jet flight can now be had for 195,000 “Membership Rewards” points, a $10,000 credit for 390,000 points, etc. Cardholders can choose from two private jet services from Bombardier, “Skyjet” or “Flexjet.” In October, AmEx launched its “Private Jet Services Program” for “Platinum” and “Centurion” cardholders. Under the program cardholders can book private jet services via their cards plus receive service credits toward limousine and catering services, extra flight time or frequent flyer bonus miles or points. (CF Library 10/8/04)

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