Bankruptcy Momentum Finally Slows in July

The momentum in bankruptcy filings is slowing as filings in July declined 3.6% year-on-year, and 4.4% sequentially. One-year ago, bankruptcy filings were up more than 6% month-to-month. During July, 133,390 filings were made compared to 138,266 for July 2003. The total number of bankruptcies filed in the 12-month period ending June 30th, was 1,635,725, down 0.9% from a year ago. For the second quarter of this year total filings were down 0.4% to 421,100. The decline for the first half of this year is the first drop in consumer bankruptcy filings since 2000.

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Monthly Filings Historical
Jul 03: 138,400
Aug 03: 138,266
Sep 03: 127,079
Oct 03: 148,044
Nov 03: 131,921
Dec 03: 113,383
Jan 04: 114,737
Feb 04: 124,719
Mar 04: 152,567
Apr 04: 145,543
May 04: 136,509
Jun 04: 127,742
Jul 04: 133,390
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: /images/g/graphs/mf_bankrup90304.jpg

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Next Generation Data Mining Becomes Available

The results of a multi-year European Union funded research project into data mining methods is now commercially available in the U.S. for financial institutions. Numerical Algorithms Group has released “Data Mining and Cleaning Components v2.0,” the first commercially available data mining application development toolkit that uses results from a three-year “EUREDIT” project, among other advances in data mining techniques. Features of “DMC 2.0” include enhanced data cleaning to resolve the problems of missing, invalid or incomplete data; advances in outlier identification to determine which datasets are suitable for analysis; newly memory-efficient multivariate statistical methods that have been the traditional core of data mining techniques; and, a wide range of added functionality for machine learning and pattern recognition. NAG is a global collaborative network of 300+ computer scientists and mathematical experts.

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MBU Deploys ACI Products to Meet EMV Deadline

MBU has licensed key components of ACI’s “Commerce Framework” to support its card operations business and to meet EMV mandates, with full deployment expected by December. MBU is utilizing ACI’s “BASE24” software, “Card Management System,” and “Smart Chip Manager.” MBU was created by 27 Croatian banks in 1994 to develop a common bank card operations infrastructure. Today MBU works with more than 17 banks and has issued more than one million cards. With new cards being issued at a rate of around 350,000 a year. MBU also designed, built and installed
MBUNET, the country’s leading ATM and POS terminal network. With EMV mandates fast approaching, MBU required support to ensure that
its network of 540 ATMs and 2,700 POS terminals, as well as its card
issuing system, complied with the January 2005 EMV deadline.

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VISA and Hilton Roll-Out Sweepstakes and Incentives

VISA and Hilton HHonors have launched a sweepstakes to win a VIP trip to “Super Bowl XXXIX” and a 500 bonus point incentive for booking a Hilton stay online. Visa and Hilton HHonors members can win a chance for the trip and the bonus point incentive when using a valid Visa card at any Hilton Family hotel in the U.S. Four tickets to the Super Bowl, VIP hotel accommodations, and tickets to the NFL Experience and NFL Tailgate are included in the grand prize. 10 Hilton HHonors members will be entered to win two VIP tickets to their NFL team’s 2005 home opener game when using a Visa card at a Hilton Family hotel. Hilton HHonors is a guest reward program, giving frequent travelers a quicker way to gain rewards. Members enrolled in the program can earn HHonor points and airline miles for the same stay at more than 2,500 participating hotels including Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Scandic hotels worldwide.

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KBC Bank Deploys PINPOINT Fraud Monitoring

KBC Bank has implemented DATA4s'”PINPOINT” technology to monitor
and screen four million accounts on a daily basis. The system is
implemented for batch processing, yet highly responsive through the
outline report, alerts and exceptions together with comprehensive
analysis, which are available at the start of day for the six
investigators of the AML unit. In the financial services arena, “PINPOINT” addresses, amongst others, credit card fraud, ATM/debit card fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and Internal fraud.
DATA4S operates from its offices in Leuven.

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WACOAL I-CARD

E. Sun Bank and Taiwan Wacoal, a major Japanese apparel company, have
partnered to launch a co-branded JCB card. The new “Wacoal I-Card”
offers a chip-based loyalty program and is targeted at women, featuring
a built-in sensor measuring the strength of ultraviolet exposure for the
protection of skin. The card is the first to carry Taiwan’s National
Credit Card Center’s own chip-based loyalty program. The loyalty program
lets cardholders earn points at more than 200 Wacoal merchants
throughout Taiwan. The card offers a progressive cashback program and a
points program. For the first three months the cardholder is rewarded
with up to NTD 300 in discounts on purchases, and triple points on all
shopping.

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Xpress Money Shops to Offer MoneyGram Services

UAE Exchange-owned Xpress Money shops in Australia are now offering MoneyGram international money transfer services. Xpress Money has a network of 24 convenient locations throughout Australia, and that number will soon increase to 28. Totally, MoneyGram has more than 150 locations in the country. UAE Exchange is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East, offering money exchange and remittance services worldwide. MoneyGram is offered at more than 70,000 locations world-wide in over 160 countries.

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Morgan Beaumont Signs an STV/Debit Card Marketer

Los Angeles-based The Urban Network is teaming with FL-based Morgan Beaumont to offer stored value and debit cards to African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Morgan Beaumont is a chief provider of Stored Value and Debit Card Solutions in the United States. The Urban Network is a Los Angeles based media company with an audience of over 10 million African Americans and 3 million Hispanic Americans.

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First Data Picks Up Dillard’s and Mervyn’s Accounts

First Data picked up more than 9 million additional active accounts to process from GE Consumer Finance. GECF recently purchased the Dillard’s and Mervyn’s private label credit card portfolios, with 5.5 million and 3.6 million active accounts, respectively. FDC says the conversion of the new accounts will take three to six months. First Data currently processes more than 170 million private label accounts. In July, Target agreed to sell its $481 million Mervyn’s private label credit card portfolio to GECF for $475 million. Last month, Dillard’s unloaded its $1.3 billion private label credit card issuing bank to GECF for approximately $1.25 billion. (CF Library 7/30/04; 8/9/04)

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Prepaid King Picks Up Another 4,000 Locations; Tops 50K

Atlanta-based prepaid king, PRE Solutions, has acquired the assets of GTS Prepaid, adding 4,000 customer locations to its network. Following the acquisition, PRE Solutions will be delivering prepaid products and services to well over 50,000 retail outlets in the convenience store, check cashing, wireless agent, grocery, drug store and discount retail industries throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Last month, PRE Solutions acquired the prepaid products and processing business of the industry’s largest prepaid transaction processor. The acquisition of Everything Prepaid LLC was also an asset purchase transaction that added 10,000 relationships. Everything Prepaid’s U.S. retail partners included AutoZone, BP/Amoco, Xtra Mart, Tedeschi Food Shops, Travel Centers of America and Love’s Travel Stops. (CF Library 8/24/04)

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