Spear to Become EVP at IN-based CMC

Indiana-based CMC has hired Kevin Spear, formerly with PNC, Infistar and UPS Capital, as EVP of Strategic Planning and Business Development. Spear’s industry experience spans more than 25 years. CMC is a leading provider of superior quality servicing solutions and product engineering to financial institutions, commercial credit companies, and retail companies for their credit and debit account products, merchant transaction services and private label programs.

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VISA Approves the FastMax Rewards Card

Las Vegas-based Global Links Card Services’ “FastMax Rewards VISA Debit Card,” issued by MetaBank, has received final approval from VISA. GLCS anticipates distribution of the FastMax Rewards Visa Debit Card through several marketing partners and its online purchase capability scheduled for June 15, 2005. Revenue is estimated to be in excess of $1 million per year. PTS acquired GLCS in December 2004, establishing it in the debit card distribution business.

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AmEx Rejiggers Global Establishment Services

American Express announced management changes due to the upcoming retirement of David House, group president, Global Network and Establishment Services and Travelers Cheque and Prepaid Services Group, as well as Steve Squeri’s move from Global Commercial Card to head Technologies. GNS will now report to CFO Gary Crittenden. The Travelers Cheque and Prepaid Services Group will report to Al Kelly, group president of U.S. Consumer and Small Business Services. Bill Glenn, currently head of ES for the Americas, will assume worldwide responsibility for operations, pricing, marketing and strategy for the merchant network. Gordon Smith, currently president of the U.S. Consumer Card Services Group, will become president of Global Commercial Card. Jud Linville, currently head of the US Service Delivery Network and American Express Interactive, will become president of the U.S. Consumer Card Services Group. Jim Bush, currently regional president of the JAPA region, will now head the US Service Delivery Network.

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Card Express Adds 2 Pittsburgh Executives

Card Express has hired Judy Pappalard, formerly with Elan Financial Services, as VP/Sales and Marilyn Sproule, former VP at the STAR Network, as VP/Relationship Management. As vice president of sales, Pappalard will oversee several initiatives furthering CardEx’s relationships with financial institutions, including its Agent Bank Program. She formerly held positions with Mellon Bank. Sproule is charged with the overall management and expansion of CardEx’s customer service areas and call centers. Card Express, Inc. (CardEx) is a leading processor and technology-driven developer of prepaid debit card products and services for financial institutions and corporate clients.

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HSBC Buys the Bon-Ton Store Card Portfolio

HSBC Retail Services has sealed a deal to acquire Bon-Ton’s private label credit card business. At the end of the first quarter, the accounts receivable balances in the portfolio was about $300 million compared to approximately $200 million five years ago. Under the multi-year HSBC agreement, Bon-Ton will participate in the revenue generated by future credit sales. Effective November 1st, Bon-Ton, due to the HSBC sale, will cease to operate its corporate credit center and nearly all 84 corporate credit positions will be eliminated. The Bon-Ton Stores operates 139 department stores and two furniture stores in 16 states from the Northeast to the Midwest under the Bon-Ton and Elder-Beerman names. The deal is expected to close next month.

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MAY DEBT

Credit card borrowing continues to down shift, as Brits added GBP117 million during May, compared to GBP417 million in May 2004. The modest increase in May follows a small net repayment of credit card borrowing in April of GBP44 million. Overall sterling lending to the UK private sector showed a net increase of GBP600 million to GBP1.1 billion in May. The British Bankers Association noted that mortgage lending was below its recent average and, although personal loans saw an average rise, the slow growth in credit card lending by the major banks is in line with weak retail sales. The Office for National Statistics reported that retail sales in May increased 10 basis points and annual sales were only up 130 basis points. The BBA collects data from Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, Bradford & Bingley, HBOS, HSBC Bank, Lloyds TSB, Northern Rock and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

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PayPal Targets SMBs for Payment Services

PayPal has formally introduced a new product suite for small- and medium-sized businesses. The new “PayPal Website Payments Pro” suite includes: “Express Checkout,” “Direct Payment API” and “Virtual Terminal.” “Express Checkout” helps buyers with PayPal accounts pay for items in just three clicks on a merchant’s website. “Direct Payment API” is for buyers who don’t have PayPal accounts. “Virtual Terminal” supports phone, fax and mail orders by providing merchants with an online interface to manually enter credit card transactions through the PayPal system. “Website Payments Pro” is PayPal’s first non-hosted payment suite. Pricing for the new service is $20 per month (waived for most of this year) and a per-transaction rate of 2.2% to 2.9% plus 30 cents.

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BankCardLaw Web Site Opened for Merchants

BankCardLaw Media has opened an online resource to educate businesses on correctly accepting credit cards and combating fraud. Businesses must understand their merchant accounts to actively reduce their risks of card data theft and fraudulent card purchases. The merchant account book is written in easy to understand language. It contains a practical explanation of the credit card transaction process, risks, schemes of fraud & crime, common merchant mistakes and best practices and provides more than 50 resource links to further information. Anthony L. Ogden, a bankcard attorney since 1994, is President of BankCardLaw Media Corp.

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MBNA Execs Shaken in a NYC Copter Crash

A helicopter that crashed Friday into the East River in New York City carried six top MBNA executives. All on board survived in what could have been a disaster for the giant firm. However, one of the pilots was hospitalized with injuries. The MBNA executives included Frank Bramble, Bruce Hammonds, Richard Struthers, Lance Weaver, Thomas Wren and Douglas Denton. MBNA’s Sikorsky S-76C was lost. In a news conference over the weekend, MBNA’s general counsel Louis Freeh said the company has a policy of restricting the number of top executives who can travel together. Freeh says the policy was followed because COO John Cochran and CFO Kenneth Vecchione were not part of the group.

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Next Gen of DataSecure Platforms Introduced

Ingrian Networks has launched its next generation of its “DataSecure Platforms,” the only appliance-based encryption solution that features granular, field-level encryption capabilities and that can be integrated at the Web server, application server or database layer. Ingrian Networks DataSecure Platform features dedicated security appliance and specialized software that enables organizations to encrypt critical data in applications and databases.

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