VISA to Open a Karachi Office Next Year

VISA has expanded its business operations in Pakistan with the
commitment to open an office in Karachi early next year. VISA has
already launched several initiatives with local members over the past six
months. Over the last 12 months, annual retail sales volume in Pakistan
was a record US$430 million, an increase of more than 60%. Today, there
are more than 845,000 VISA cards in circulation in the country – an
annual growth rate of more than 100%. There are currently 238 million
VISA-branded cards in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Chase and United Incent School Purchases

Chase and United Airlines this week announced that its “United Mileage Plus VISA” will award two miles for every dollar spent that exceeds $1,000 and is paid directly to schools through the end of this year. This includes tuition for colleges and universities, as well as public and private elementary and secondary schools, school bookstore purchases, season football tickets, school donations and more. The “United Mileage Plus VISA” is also offering extra bonus miles though September 30th for back-to-school purchases from Office Max, Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy, IKEA and Borders. The bonus miles are part of the programs’s “More Miles” feature.

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GE Consumer Finance Buys a Stake on Garanti

GE Consumer Finance is taking a 25.5% stake in Turkey’s Garanti Bank for about US$1.5 billion. GECF is buying the shares from Dogus Holding which held 51% of the stock. Garanti currently serves five million customers through a network of 419 branches nationwide. During the second quarter, GECF formed an alliance with Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo in Spain and acquired a significant stake in BAC International Bank, a privately held retail bank and credit card issuer with 178 branches in six Central American countries. One-year ago GECF acquired Moscow-based DeltaBank, a VISA issuer with more than 103,000 credit cards in-force. During the second quarter, GECF posted a profit of $735 million, a 23% gain over the year- ago quarter.

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GECF Takes a Stake in Turkey’s Garanti

GE Consumer Finance is taking a 25.5% stake in Turkey’s Garanti Bank for about $1.5 billion. GECF is buying the shares from Dogus Holding which held 51% of the stock. During the second quarter, GECF formed an alliance with Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo in Spain and acquired a significant stake in BAC International Bank, a privately held retail bank and credit card issuer with 178 branches in six Central American countries. One-year ago GECF acquired Moscow-based DeltaBank, a VISA issuer with more than 103,000 credit cards in-force. During the second quarter, GECF posted a profit of $735 million, a 23% gain over the year- ago quarter. (CF Library 8/12/04; 7/15/05)

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Visa Cal Deploys Magic’s iBOLT Platform

Visa Cal has completed the implementation of Magic Software’s “iBOLT” business integration platform. Using “iBOLT,” Cal has implemented the infrastructure that links applications in heterogeneous environments, deploying their “Service Oriented Architecture” throughout the organization. Magic Software Enterprises develops, markets and supports software development, deployment and integration technology that enables enterprises to accelerate the process of building and deploying applications that can be rapidly customized and integrated with existing systems. Visa Cal is one of the leading Israeli VISA credit card operators.

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Lowe’s Launches an Affinity Loyalty Card

North Carolina -based Lowe’s Companies has launched an affinity card with Habitat for Humanity International. Launching in Texas, Oklahoma and Western Louisiana, the program will involve 135 Lowe’s stores and 120 Habitat affiliates. Lowe’s customers sign up for the affinity card at no cost, select which local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to credit. Habitat for Humanity International is dedicated to eliminate poverty housing and has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries. Lowe’s is a home improvement retailer with sales of $36.5 billion and has more than 1,125 stores in 49 states.

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Prepaid MasterCards for the CFLPA Launched

Plastic Now, Mint, and Peoples Trust have teamed to introduce the first co-branded, prepaid MasterCard to feature professional athletes in Canada. In association with the Canadian Football League Players’ Association, the companies will jointly launch eight prepaid MasterCard cards in their “Signature Series” featuring the image and autograph of a star quarterback. The CFLPA card also enables cardholders to accumulate points for every net retail dollar they spend. Points can be redeemed toward authentic autographed jerseys, helmets and official CFLA Pro Players footballs, and experiences with favorite players and contests.

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OTS Approves the WAMU – Providian Merger

The Office of Thrift Supervision has approved the acquisition of Providian by Washington Mutual. Providian Financial Corporation is holding a special shareholders’ meeting on August 31 to vote on the transaction. Assuming Providian receives shareholder approval at that meeting, the transaction should close on October 1, 2005. Washington Mutual is a retailer of financial services WITH assets of $323.53 billion.

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Cathay United Bank to use Global FICO

Taipei-based Cathay United Bank will be the first financial institution in the country to use Fair Isaac’s “Global FICO” score. Last year, Cathay United became the first financial institution in Taiwan to implement Fair Isaac’s “TRIAD” adaptive control technology. “Global FICO” score applies Fair Isaac’s “FICO” credit risk scoring technology to rank-order consumers according to their credit risk. Designed to be consistently scaled across credit bureaus and across national borders, “Global FICO” score has established a global standard for consumer credit risk assessment.

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Fifth Third Executive Joins the MC Board

Charles Drucker, president, Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions, has been elected to MasterCard International’s U.S. Region Board. Drucker began his career with Fifth Third in 2004, and is responsible for the strategy, sales, product development, relationship management and administration for the Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions division’s three business lines: Merchant Services; Financial Institution Services, which includes EFT Processing and Correspondent Banking; and Card Products. Fifth Third Bank Processing Solutions processes over 12 billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 1,350 financial institutions. Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company with $102.7 billion in assets.

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VISA’s Latin American PDV Up 38% in Q2

VISA credit and debit purchases for Latin America and the Caribbean increased 38% over the twelve-month period ending June 30th.
VISA’s total sales volume, including purchases and cash advances, surpassed US$258 billion, which is a 29% gain over last year. The number of cards-in-force approached 194 million, a 23% increase over the second quarter of 2004. Over the same period purchase volume with VISA debit cards registered a 48% record growth, surpassing the US$21 billion mark.
The number of VISA and “Visa Electron” debit cards grew to 139 million,
a 22% year-over-year increase for the same period ended June 2005.

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Most Americans Not Worried About ID Theft

TransUnion’s TrueCredit subsidiary has released a new survey showing that 63% of consumers thought it was unlikely they would be victims of identity theft in the next year, while only 35% viewed the threat as real. The survey also discovered 45 percent of respondents thought they would need to spend at least 50 hours or more to resolve the problems resulting from an incident of identity theft. TrueCredit helps consumers protect and improve their credit through a suite of secure and easy-to-use products.

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