Study Finds Banks Link Credit to Other Bank Business

A new study has found that commercial banks frequently make access to commercial credit contingent upon the purchase of other financial services. Half of the respondents from all companies and nearly two-thirds of respondents from large companies indicate that, over the past five years, a commercial bank has denied them credit or changed credit terms because the company did not award other business to the bank. The Association for Financial Professionals says the survey indicates that the practice of linking credit to other bank products is prevalent in the market for all size companies, but that larger companies are more likely to be subject to linking activity in part because their size and complex credit needs limit the number of commercial banks that are able and willing to serve them. AFP says all three of its credit access surveys clearly demonstrate that these practices are becoming common in the marketplace, so much so that in the new survey 9 out of 10 large companies expect to be denied or pay more for credit should they not award otherbusiness to banks.

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Netifice Communications Meets VISA’s CISP

Atlanta-based Netifice Communications has become the first network service provider to comply with VISA’s CISP. Among its various remote access and site-to-site VPN services, Netifice has developed a specific solution for retail merchants – Netifice Retail Connect VPN. Netifice underwent a comprehensive three-month review process conducted by a Visa-authorized security assessor to ensure that the company and its solutions meet Visa’s strict security guidelines. Netifice Communications is a global provider of flexible IP VPN solutions that enable businesses to lower costs, increase scalability and expand the deployment of enterprise applications and communication systems.

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FAST FIVE

MasterCard use in Romania soared by 133% last year, leading the charge among the five fastest growing European countries with annual growth exceeding 60%. Overall, the 2003 gross dollar volume on MasterCards, across all platforms in Europe, increased 13.3% to $315.8 billion, produced by 100.3 million cards. Romania posted GDV for 2003 of $256 million. Turkey posted an 89% increase in GDV with $12.8 billion as Lithuania reported $81.5 million in GDV for a 72% gain. The Russian Federation posted $1.6 billion in GDV a 77% increase, and the Ukraine produced GDV of $369 million, a 60% increase. The two countries with the largest MasterCard share in Europe include France and the United Kingdom. France was number one with $102 billion in GDV for a 6.7% increase over 2002, driven by 14.1 million cardholders. In the United Kingdom MasterCard posted GDV of $84.1 billion, a 19.3% increase, produced by 26.8 million cardholders.

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ROA Edges Down as Interest and Operating Costs Rise

While delinquency and charge-offs have been steadily improving this year, interest costs and operating expenses are sliding upward. The after-tax, return-on-assets for credit card issuers has eroded from 1.85% one-year ago to 1.60% for April 2004. However, the current ROA remains above the April 2001 level of 1.48%, thanks to lower funding costs over the past three years. The net interest margin declined to 7.10% in April, compared to 8.41% one-year ago, according to CardData (www.carddata.com). Meanwhile, operating expense has climbed to 5.16%, compared to 4.62% for April 2003. For complete monthly and quarterly portfolio performance metrics visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

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CA Teacher Wins VISA’s Educator Challenge

VISA USA and the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda announced that a Cathedral City, CA high school teacher has won the grade prize in the second annual “Practical Money Skills for Life Educator Challenge.” The Educator Challenge recognizes high school educators for creatively and effectively teaching financial literacy lessons, and whose classes demonstrated a mastery of personal finance knowledge. These educators were judged by a panel of educators and experts that included Money magazine columnist and Today Show contributor Jean Chatzky and Nancy Register, Assistant Director of the Consumer Federation of America. Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and largest consumer payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and merchant customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives. Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)3 student business organization with a quarter million members in 12,000 chartered high school and college chapters worldwide.

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Singapore Volume Up 16% Compared to the SARS Period

Credit card losses for April in Singapore declined nearly 4% compared to one-year ago, and more than 27% compared to December’s record losses of $21.8 million. Banks reported total loses of $15.9 million for April compared to $16.3 million in the previous month, and $16.5 million one-year ago. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, credit card balances of $2.5 billion, were up more than 4% since April 2003. Charge volume rose 15.6% during the same period. Total card volume for April was $906.5 million, compared to $784.1 million one-year ago, during the peak of the SARS period. At the end of April there were 3,573,650 credit cardholders in the country, including 2,581,684 main cardholders, according to the MAS..

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MasterCard Reports 60+ Growth in Five European Countries

MasterCard use in Romania soared by 133% last year, leading the charge among the five fastest growing European countries with annual growth exceeding 60%. Overall, the 2003 gross dollar volume on MasterCards, across all platforms in Europe, increased 13.3% to $315.8 billion, produced by 100.3 million cards, according to this week’s issue of CardFlash International (www.cardflashinternational.com). Romania posted GDV for 2003 of $256 million. Turkey posted an 89% increase in GDV with $12.8 billion as Lithuania reported $81.5 million in GDV for a 72% gain. The Russian Federation posted $1.6 billion in GDV a 77% increase, and the Ukraine produced GDV of $369 million, a 60% increase. The two countries with the largest MasterCard share in Europe include France and the United Kingdom. France was number one with $102 billion in GDV for a 6.7% increase over 2002, driven by 14.1 million cardholders. In the United Kingdom MasterCard posted GDV of $84.1 billion, a 19.3% increase, produced by 26.8 million cardholders.

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FTC to Study Adverse Actions Based on Credit Reports

The FTC is preparing a study to explore the effects of requiring that a consumer who has experienced an adverse action based on a credit report receive a copy of the same credit report that the creditor relied on in taking the adverse action. The Commission will hold a roundtable discussion on June 30, 2004, to aid the FTC staff in conducting a study of the accuracy and completeness of consumer reports, as required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).

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Contactless Payments Teleconference Scheduled

The Smart Card Alliance is hosting a live interactive teleconference presentation on “Contactless Payments: Delivering Merchant and Consumer Benefits” on July 22nd. Millions of U.S. consumers are already using contactless payment devices at gasoline service stations, transit systems, and on our nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels. Millions more are expected this year as new financial industry-backed contactless payment initiatives are launched in test cities for retail purchases. Consumers and retailers alike are attracted to the dual advantages of fast and convenient credit payments using contactless technology. This SmartTalk teleconference will provide a comprehensive look at the benefits contactless payments give to merchants, consumers and issuers. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology.

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Lending Solutions Offers Fair Isaac’s LiquidCredit

Fair Isaac and Lending Solutions have partnered to enable lenders of all sizes to tap the power of Fair Isaac’s advanced origination solutions for improved risk prediction and “LiquidCredit” loan origination decisioning. Developed specifically for use in credit origination decisions, Fair Isaac’s pooled consumer origination models allow lenders to take advantage of proven risk assessment quickly, without expensive development costs. The models assess credit risk by evaluating credit application and consumer credit reporting agency data and rank-ordering applicants by score. Lending Solutions, Inc. has been a leader in providing lending center services and consulting programs for financial institutions across North America since it was founded in 1994 by Rex Johnson. Fair Isaac Corporation is the preeminent provider of creative analytics that unlock value for people, businesses and industries.

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Cumberland Farms to Install NCR POS Terminals

MA-based Cumberland Farms has selected NCR to implement a complete store-automation solution for all of its 650 company-operated stores and stations. The Cumberland Farms solution includes NCR RealPOS 80c point-of-sale terminals and NCR RealScan 92 bar-code scanners. In addition, NCR is providing staging and installation management services for the chainwide deployment, which includes software from NCR solution partner Retalix USA. Cumberland Farms is headquartered in Canton, Mass., and today owns more than 1,100 outlets, operating 650 stores and gas stations in 11 eastern seaboard states from Maine to Florida. NCR Corporation is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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First Data Assembles a Major Deal In Greece

First Data has signed an agreement to acquire the payment processing and outsourcing division and fully owned subsidiary of Delta Singular in Greece. Delta Singular Outsourcing Services provides payment processing and outsourcing services, including card processing, ATM and POS driving and call center support. Through the acquisition, FDC has secured a long-term agreement to provide payment processing and related services to Alpha Bank, currently DSOS’s largest client. Alpha Bank is the second largest private commercial bank in Greece, the largest issuer of Visa cards and the exclusive issuer of American Express cards in Greece.

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