First Data Hires Hernandez as EVP

First Data Corp. announced that Bill Hernandez has joined as executive vice president, Strategic Financial Services in the Card Issuing Services Group. Hernandez joins First Data from MasterCard International where he was senior vice president for North America Major Accounts. First Data Corp. is a provider of electronic commerce and payment services with $10 billion in revenue for 2004 and the processor of more than 36 billion transactions globally.

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Asta Funding 1Q/05 Revenues Jump 30%

NJ-based Asta Funding reported that net income for the first quarter increased 34% to $7.3 million. The charge-off purchaser posted revenues for the first three months of $16.7 million, a 30% increase compared to 1Q/04. During the quarter, Asta purchased portfolios with a face value of $800 million at a cost of approximately $36.8 million. The Company also expanded its credit facility to $80 million from $60 million. Asta specializes in the purchase, management and liquidation of performing and non-performing consumer receivables. For complete details on Asta Funding’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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MBNA to Issue the LPL AmEx Credit Card

The first MBNA-issued American Express card to be offered by a brokerage firm is forthcoming. The new “LPL Rewards American Express” offers complimentary enrollment in MBNA “WorldPoints” rewards program. Cardholders earn one point for each purchase and double points for travel and dining for the rest of this year. San Diego- and Boston-based Linsco/Private Ledger Financial Advisors has 1,000 staff members and offers non-proprietary investment products and wealth management services through more than 5,900 financial advisors nationwide. MBNA began issuing AmEx cards last year. AmEx has now established close to 90 card-issuing partnership arrangements in 100 countries. (CF Library 11/5/04)

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Comdata to Issue the JFI MasterCard

Los Angeles-based Jet Fleet International has signed with Tennessee-based Comdata for a MasterCard-branded payment product. Jet Fleet International is a membership-based provider for the general aviation industry worldwide. Comdata is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation and provides credit and debit processing and reporting for commercial fleets and merchants, electronic cash, gift and smart/chip card programs for retailers and governmental agencies.

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RETAIL BC MASTERCARD

British Columbia’s Retail BC and BMO Bank of Montreal have teamed to introduce a business MasterCard for retail business operators. The new “Retail BC Mosaik MasterCard for Business” will be offered to the 3,200 member companies of the non-profit Retail BC. “Mosaik MasterCard” enables cardholders to choose from a variety of individual features. The options range from no-fee cards to the “AIR MILES” reward options available in Canada. Cardholders will also have all the benefits of a business credit card plus free access to enhanced online reporting,
expense and cash flow management, with revolving credit up to $75,000
plus exclusive discounts.

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Optimal Acquires 15,500 UBC Accounts

Montreal-based Optimal Payments is acquiring approximately 15,500 merchant locations that generate in excess of $1.5 billion in annual credit and debit card processing volume from New Jersey-based United Bank Card for $44 million in cash. UBC is a payment and transaction processor that serves primarily card-present merchants nationwide. Optimal Payments Corp. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Optimal Group Inc., a payments and services company with operations throughout North America and the United Kingdom.

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Chase and Disney Launch Special Cards

A special 50th anniversary “Disney VISA” has been unveiled to celebrate the golden anniversary of Disneyland. In addition, current “Disney VISA” cardholders will enjoy extra benefits during the “Happiest Celebration On Earth,” according to CardTrak (www.cardtrak.com). The special benefits include an exclusive “Character Meet and Greet” experience with keepsake photo, 10% discount at select dining locations and merchandise purchases of $50, and a free stroller rental. Also, for the first time, cardholders can choose from five card designs featuring Disney characters and scenes, including Vintage Mickey, Mickey and Friends, Bambi and Pixie Dust. The 50th anniversary of Disneyland celebration got underway last week.

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MBNA Waives Retirement Rules for Krulak

MBNA has waived the age 65 requirement for the retirement of General Charles Krulak, Vice Chairman, who will receive an annual retirement benefit of approximately $1.0 million. Krulak is retiring at the age of 63. The Stock Option Committee waived the age 65 requirement for the vesting of 45,000 shares of restricted common stock awarded in 1999 and 94,345 shares of restricted common stock awarded in lieu of a portion of cash bonuses for 2002 through 2004 and for the vesting of stock options for 150,000 shares of common stock with an exercise price of $20.58. 115,211 shares of restricted common stock were forfeited according to the terms of the awards.

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Chase Launches a Major Brand Campaign

JPMorgan Chase launched a multi-million dollar national advertising campaign this morning, created by mcgarrybowen of New York, to establish “Chase” as its consumer brand. With the tagline “Your Choice, Your Chase,” the advertisements equate the Chase brand with empowerment and uses popular musical hits to set the tone. Chase is redesigning all of its credit cards to reflect the new Chase brand, including the prominent octagon image, first introduced in 1960. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm, with 94 million credit cards and assets of $1.2 trillion. mcgarrybowen is an independent advertising agency whose client roster includes Verizon, Marriott, JPMorgan Chase, Crayola, InBev, Pfizer, Reebok and Disney.

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Metris Makes its Fifth Debt Prepayment

Metris Companies announced an optional pre-payment of $150 million on its senior secured credit agreement, paying it in full. The latest prepayment leaves Metris with only $100 million of unsecured corporate debt outstanding that it intends to prepay by years end. This is the fifth prepayment of corporate debt Metris has made in recent months. In April, the sub-prime issuer made a $75 million prepayment on a term loan. Metris made a $50 million prepayment in late February on senior notes. The Company also made a $50 million prepayment on November 23rd and a $25 million prepayment on December 22nd of its senior secured credit agreement maturing in 2007. In February, Metris announced that it retired $900 million of asset-backed securitization debt that was scheduled to mature in May. Metris recently reported that it made a full-year profit of $33.7 million in 2004. (CF Library 1/26/05; 1/27/05; 2/2/05; 4/1/05)

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Merrick Bank Tops 700,000 Accounts

CardWorks’ Merrick Bank subsidiary reported a nearly 20% gain in credit card outstandings for the first quarter, topping $590 million. The sub-prime specialist also posted a 20% increase in volume with nearly $153 million in the first quarter. The issuer also crossed the 700,000 cardholder milestone during the first quarter. CardWorks is the parent company of CMS, a third-party bankcard servicer that also provides servicing and support to Merrick Bank. For complete details on Merrick Bank’s first quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

MERRICK BANK HISTORICAL
($ outstandings)
1Q/01: $290.4 million
1Q/02: $304.3 million
1Q/03: $445.6 million
1Q/04: $493.2 million
1Q/05: $590.2 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Providian Boosts Director Compensation

Providian has raised its annual compensation for non-employee directors to $65,000 with an annual retainer of $16,000 for the chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee and $12,000 extra for each other committee chair. Audit and Compliance Committee members will receive an additional annual retainer of $8,000, and each member of each other committee will receive an additional annual retainer of $6,000. The other components of non-employee director compensation, including annual equity compensation, remain unchanged.

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