NCR to Top Analysts’ Earnings Estimates for Q2

NCR said yesterday that it expects its second-quarter results to be better than expected. Earnings are expected to top $0.35 per share, compared to the mean estimate of $0.18 per share for the second quarter among Wall Street analysts. NCR expects 2Q/04 revenue of approximately $1.44 billion to $1.45 billion, an increase of approximately 6% percent from the second quarter of 2003. NCR’s “Financial Self Service” or ATM businesses generated second-quarter year-over-year revenue growth well ahead of expectations, the Company said. NCR’s stock rose more than 10% yesterday to $52.58, but has slipped to $51.20 in morning trading today. NCR will release its second-quarter results on July 29th. For complete details on NCR’s past performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Cambridge Credit Adds Three Independent Board Members

Cambridge Credit has added three new, independent members to its Board of Directors. Jacques deViller is the President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and free enterprise. John Stacey Ed.D. is the former Director of Education Services for WGBY-TV, the PBS affiliate in Springfield, Mass., and is responsible for the implementation of all of the station’s education services conducted throughout the region. Dean O’Keefe is Vice President of Marketing and Sales at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. where he manages all public relations, marketing, sales, sponsorship and promotional activities. Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. provides credit counseling, educational assistance and budget planning services to clients throughout the United States.

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A National Advocacy Group Attacks the NFCC

Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions released an 80-page report Monday that warns that consumers frequently receive bad advice when seeking out a credit counseling agency. The report openly attacks the Consumer Credit Counseling Services and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Among key findings: Credit counseling agencies under the NFCC umbrella are essentially agents of creditors, receiving two-thirds of their funding from creditors; the nonprofit NFCC secures billions of dollars in profits for creditors and corporate level compensation for NFCC executives; and, the financial record of the NFCC’s leadership and agencies raises serious concerns. CRCS recommends establishing national standards and opening the industry to professional financial services businesses that already serve consumers and are already subject to regulatory scrutiny.

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Your Credit Card Companies Launch National Campaign

The newly formed coalition, Your Credit Card Companies, announced this morning it is launching a national campaign to “educate consumers about how to protect and enhance their credit and to raise public awareness of ways to guard against the crimes of credit card fraud and identity theft.” The national campaign follows a similar program recently conducted in select cities. The coalition’s membership includes Capital One; Chase Manhattan Bank USA,; Citigroup; Discover Card; MasterCard; and MBNA.

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Viad Corp Adds Two Board Members

Phoenix-based Viad Corp has elected Wayne Allcott, former senior executive with US West, and Robert Munzenrider, former president of Harmon AutoGlass, to its Board. During Wayne G. Allcott 35-year career with the company he held a variety of assignments in marketing, customer service and operations, and helped manage the regulatory approval of the corporate merger of Qwest and US West before retiring in 2000. Robert E. Munzenrider is a retired financial and operating executive. Viad is an S&P SmallCap 600 company.

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BofA Buys National Processing for $1.4 Billion

Bank of America has inked a deal to acquire National Processing for $1.4 billion, making it the nation’s second largest bankcard merchant acquirer with nearly $250 billion in annual processing volume. Louisville, KY-based NPC announced in May its intention to sell the company which is 83% owned by National City Corporation. The card processor previously reported first quarter revenues of $122.2 million, a 15% gain over one-year ago. Net income rose 40% to $12.0 million in the first quarter. Merchant Card Services dollar volume processed was $44.5 billion for the first quarter, representing an increase of 13% over the first quarter of 2003. NPC will report second quarter results on July 16th. NPC provides services to approximately 700,000 merchant locations across North America. BofA also announced that Mark Pyke, currently the Chief Operating Officer of National Processing, will lead the combined merchant services business once the transaction is complete.

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Paymetric Gets a New CEO

Houston-based Paymetric has named Steven Putney, former SVP of Commercial Card Services at Bank One, as President and CEO. Prior to joining Paymetric, Mr. Putney was senior vice president of Commercial Card Services at Bank One. While at Bank One he led the business development efforts that increased the business size from $4 billion to $8 billion in less than three (3) years. Paymetric is the market leader in Enterprise Payment solutions with specific focus on SAP payment processing.

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Global Debit Card Usage Soars as a Payment Instrument

A new study on cumulative transaction volume growth shows that debit cards have a double digit growth whereas other instruments are declining or growing at single digit rates. The research found that global growth in debit card usage is being driven by three major factors: the adoption of debit in emerging markets, growth in everyday spending in developed markets, and the blurring lines between debit and credit acceptance. The report entitled “The Future of Debit Cards: A Global Perspective” by Celent, says the lack of risk management expertise and solid credit bureaus, as well as strict regulation on credit card lending limit banks’ ability to market credit cards in developing countries as aggressively as in wealthier economies. Celent says that in countries where the credit card has historically prevailed, marketers have discovered with surprise that consumers have a “bucket” approach to spending: the type of transactions consumers make determines the instrument they use. Celent also says excluding the U.S. and the recent Wal-Mart settlement, in consumers’ eyes across the world, the differences between credit and debit acceptance are running thin. The research firm points to the stunning growth of e-commerce transactions on debit cards and that domestic debit networks in many countries have turned its management over to the global card associations.

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ANT CARD

National Australia Bank and American Express have teamed to launch a rewards credit card that offers ATM linkage to NAB checking and savings accounts country-wide. The new “National Ant American Express Card with Rewards” offers one point per dollar spent on eligible purchases, no cap on points, no points expiry while the account
remains open, and the ability to redeem for Qantas frequent flyer points
at a rate of one for one. NAB is also offering double points on purchases made through July 2005. The “Ant Card” carries an annual fee of $99 and $148 for the “Gold Ant Card.” The interest rate for both cards is 17.50%. The new card will be offered via direct mail to a select number of National credit card customers first, with a wider marketing campaign planned for later in the year. The name “Ant Card” was originally derived from the acronym – “American Express National Team.” NAB says its marketing will draw upon linkages with “ants” and benefits that come with the “Ant Card” and the benefits become embedded in the product name.

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Open Solutions Acquires re:Member Data Services

CT-based Open Solutions has acquired IN-based re:Member Data Services for $20 million in cash. RDS will become part of Open Solutions’ Core Systems Group and continue to be located and run operations from Indianapolis. Current RDS Chairman and CEO David Becker, who will be leaving RDS to pursue other interests, will be assisting with the transition and will remain an RDS client in his capacity as Chairman and CEO of First Internet Bank of Indiana. RDS is a core data processor for financial institutions. Open Solutions Inc. offers a fully featured strategic product platform that integrates core data processing applications, built on a single centralized Oracle(R) relational database, with Internet banking, cash management, CRM/business intelligence, financial accounting tools, Check 21, imaging, interactive voice response and loan origination solutions.

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Vijaya Bank Launches Another City Themed VISA Card

Vijaya Bank has launched its second city-specific international VISA card for the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad. The new “Hyderabad VISA” offers one point for every Rs100 spent on the card, free family cards for two years, and permits cash withdrawals up to Rs10,000 per month. Vijaya previously launched the “Bangalore VISA.” The bank indicated it has future plans to roll-out cards for Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Vijaya Bank has the highest number of branches in its home state, Karnataka and has principal membership in both VISA International and MasterCard International.

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Signature Captures the New Affluent Market

VISA’s six-year old “Signature” credit/charge card has quietly been stealing affluent cardholders from American Express, racking up approximately $80 billion in transaction volume, more than AmEx “Gold” and “Platinum” combined. VISA estimates it now has 16 million cardholders with annual incomes of more than $100,000, compared to 5 million for American Express. A recent study also showed that VISA has a 37% share of general purpose card dollars spent annually by “New Affluent” individuals, as compared with AmEx’s 19%. To bolster its efforts to capture more share in the affluent market segment, VISA kicked-off an extensive marketing program offering special “VISA Signature” events at select airports and restaurants, leading into a print, television and radio advertising campaign in August. The affluent segment is defined as individuals, 35 to 54, with household incomes of $125,000 and higher who typically are employed as professionals and managers. While the new affluent segment comprises only 7% of all U.S. households today, it accounts for 15% of U.S. spending. On average, these affluent cardholders spend 2.5 times more each month on their credit cards than average cardholders. VISA says the “Signature” card program represents less than 3% of VISA cards in U.S. circulation, but accounts for 17% of VISA USA’s total credit volume.

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