First Horizon Merchant Services to Offer Centinel

First Tennessee’s First Horizon Merchant Services has inked a deal to offer CardinalCommerce’s “Centinel” payment authentication software. CardinalCommerce is the leading provider of online merchant payment authentication for securing online transactions. Cardinal Centinel is designed for acquiring banks, merchant service providers and their merchants. First Horizon Merchant Services is a member of the First Tennessee National Corp. (NYSE: FTN) family of companies and is one of the most successful processors of credit card payments for the travel industry. CardinalCommerce Corporation is a leading provider of a technology-neutral authentication platform for securing electronic and wireless commerce, thus ensuring that individuals, businesses and government agencies can process electronic transactions and access confidential information safely, securely and privately.

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DNC Registry v1.0 Contains 48 Million Phone Numbers

In the 72 hours before the Do Not Call Registry lists became available to telemarketers, more than six million consumers added their telephone numbers to the list. In contrast to earlier DNC registrations that were completed primarily through internet registration (80%), the Labor Day weekend registrations were evenly divided with fifty percent internet registrations and fifty percent telephone registrations. Consumers who registered via the internet are reminded to click on the verifying email from the DNC registry in order to complete the registration process.

The telemarketer Web site for Do Not Call is www.telemarketing.donotcall.gov. For telemarketers seeking specifics about accessing telephone numbers and downloading files from the national registry, information is available at .

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FDC Sets Record Date for Concord Merger Vote

First Data announced last week it has established a record date for a special shareholder meeting to consider and vote upon the proposed merger with Concord EFS. FDC shareholders of record at the close of business on September 8th, will be eligible to vote on the proposal and to attend the special meetings of shareholders. First Data says it remains committed to working cooperatively with the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice to provide materials following the DoJ’s request for additional information. First Data currently expects to certify as to substantial compliance with the DoJ’s request for additional information no later than early September. The company expects the transaction to close in the second half of 2003.

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First InSight Report Shows Students Drive Social Spending

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College released a report that shows first-year college
and university students are a powerful and highly influential group to be reckoned with. On average, today’s college- and university-bound students have at least one credit card, and 40% report carrying debt on these cards. These students spend about $500 per month on fast food and clothes, and they drive household spending. Dubbed the “double cohort” generation, the majority of these students were born in 1984 or 1985 and they make up part of the 1.7 million students (5% of the nation’s population) who are enrolled in courses leading to degrees, diplomas or certificates at public colleges and universities throughout Canada.

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Charge-Offs Dip for Third Straight Month

Charge-offs among credit card-backed securities declined for the third consecutive month to 6.60%. However, there is concern that consumer credit quality might resume its worsening trends in late summer and into the fourth quarter. According to the Fitch Credit Card Index, charge-offs fell 19 bps in July to 6.6%. But, chargeoffs remains 43 bps above year-ago levels. As consumers remain under pressure due to the economic landscape, performance is expected to remain challenged over the near term and worsen later in the second half of 2003. Bankruptcy filings reported for the month of July totaled 138,400, an increase of 6.3% from June. Year-to-date bankruptcy filings for 2003 registered up 9.7% from year-ago levels. Fitch expects bankruptcies to increase by roughly 8.0% in 2003 to a level of 1.65 million. Excess spread which measures the profitability of credit card securitizations, edged up 3 bps to 5.89%, yet remains 28bps below year-ago levels. The softness in excess spread can be attributed to the low interest rate environment which has cause many issuers to re-price cards downward coupled with higher charge-offs.

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Credit Manager’s Index Shows Modest Improvement

The National Association of Credit Management this morning released its “Credit Manager’s Index” for August. The CMI shows modest improvement this month relative to last month’s reading, gaining 40 bps. The manufacturing sector, which realized a 140 bps increase (2.6%), has driven the overall gain. This manufacturing improvement is the first up-tick in its sector index since April 2003. On the other hand, the service sector, after showing seven consecutive months of improvement, lost 90 bps. The service reading, however, is still quite strong. The CMI survey asks credit managers to rate favorable and unfavorable factors in their monthly business cycle. Favorable factors include sales, new credit applications, dollar collections and amount of credit extended. Unfavorable factors include rejections of credit applications, accounts placed for collections, dollar amounts of receivables beyond terms and filings for bankruptcies.

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Experian Tops 30 Million Web Visitors

Experian Consumer Direct reported that its second quarter Web traffic increased 15% over 1Q/03, to reach 30.1 million unique visitors. Experian Consumer Direct(SM) offers consumers quick, easy and inexpensive access to their credit histories, to help them better manage their financial lives. The division was created in 2002 when Experian North America, Inc. combined CreditExpert L.L.C., its consumer credit management group, with ConsumerInfo.com Inc., the largest provider of online credit reports and other credit-related information to consumers.

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National Do Not Call Registry Opens to Telemarketers

The Federal Trade Commission announced last week that telemarketing organizations will have access to the “National Do Not Call Registry” starting today, one day later than the opening date originally announced. As of today, organizations that complete application information, pay any applicable fees, and certify under penalty of law that they are accessing the registry solely to prevent telephone calls to telephone numbers on the registry, will be granted access to the consumer telephone numbers included in the registry. The annual cost for organizations to access phone numbers in the registry will be $25 per area code, with a maximum annual fee of $7,375 to access numbers for the entire country, including U.S. territories. There will be no charge for companies to access the first five area codes of data.

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An Outsourcing Service for Card Issuers Launched

CAPXCEL, a privately held division of Virginia-based System Engineering Services, with offices in Virginia, Georgia, and Colorado, has launched an outsourcing service for credit card companies. In association with R.K. Hammer, the firm serves as an outsourcer for portfolio conversions, serving those financial institutions that need additional resources to complete the integration of purchased portfolios to their platforms.

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MMI & CCCS San Diego Merge

CCCS San Diego has merged with Houston-based Money Management International. Consumer Credit Counseling Services of San Diego has been serving the residents of the San Diego community as a non-profit credit counseling agency for more than 37 years. MMI is the largest full-service non-profit credit counseling organization in the United States with more than 90 branch offices in ten states. The combined organization will operate locally under the CCCS name and nationally under the name MMI.

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Commercial Federal Bank Goes to Voyager 3.0

Portland, OR-based Corillian announced that Omaha-based Commercial Federal Bank has converted its online banking customers to the “Voyager 3.0” platform. Corillian Voyager meets the demands of Commercial Federal’s online customers for real-time account information and seamless, single sign-on access to all of their financial products and services. Commercial Federal is a $12.9 billion federal savings bank that currently operates branches located in Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arizona and Minnesota. Corillian is a premier provider of enterprise software and services for the financial services industry. Empowered with Corillian solutions, some of the world’s most visionary financial institutions provide their customers with the tools to manage their finances more effectively.

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US Bank Launches Malibu Affinity Card

U.S. Bank and the City of Malibu, California have teamed to issue an affinity card. The new “City of Malibu VISA” generates a donation to city based on cardholder volume. The card is available in the classic and platinum versions, and offers a low introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first six months. There is no annual fee on the “Platinum” card with one purchase per year, otherwise, $40.00. The “Classic” card also offers no annual fee with one purchase per year, otherwise, $20.00. The go-to interest rate for “Classic” is between 10.24% to 19.24% and the go-to APR for Platinum is between 8.24% and 17.24%.

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