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« March 23, 2003 - March 29, 2003 | Main | April 6, 2003 - April 12, 2003 »

April 04, 2003

New York Times: South Korea moves to rescue its 9 credit card companies

Don Kirk reports on the efforts now underway to rescue the Korean credit card companies from bankruptcy.
With more than $10 billion in debts falling due over the next three months, however, officials believed they had no choice but to compel banks, insurance companies and securities firms to join in the program for guaranteeing the viability of bonds issued by the credit card companies. They are to step into the breach created by the inability of investment trust companies to trade credit card company bonds after it was learned that SK Global, the trading arm of the SK Group, South Korea's third-largest conglomerate, covered up $1.2 billion in debt.

April 03, 2003

Visa International: Global sales volume up 15 percent in 2002

Visa International announced today that global sales volume increased 15 percent in 2002 to US$2.476 trillion.
"Today's growth is being driven primarily by debit, as consumers choose the security, reliability, and convenience of electronic payments for their everyday purchases. Visa's future growth will come from an increasing array of payment methods that allow anytime, anywhere, any way commerce," said Williamson. "Today's consumers have more choice than ever when making a decision at the checkout line. Working with our member banks, we aim to empower consumers with the option to pay now, pay later, or pre-pay."

April 02, 2003

WSJ: Lawsuit against Visa, MasterCard by US retailers will proceed

Kara Scannell and John Wilke report in this morning's Wall St. Journal on yesterday's decision by Judge John Gleeson in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, NY. A trial in the case is scheduled to begin April 28th.
In a 16-page order, Judge John Gleeson found that "there is evidence, direct and circumstantial, from which a jury could find a conspiracy." Several points won't even go before the jury, Judge Gleeson said, finding that "no rational jury could conclude otherwise." The most important victory may have been the issue of market definition, which is pivotal to any antitrust case. The judge found that the credit and debit card markets were separate markets. The merchants allege that Visa and MasterCard used their monopoly in credit cards to enter and dominate the debit card market, by forcing retailers to take their higher-priced debit cards as a condition of accepting their credit cards.
The full text of the decision is available online (PDF).

First Data and Concord EFS to merge

First Data Corp. and Concord EFS this morning announced an agreement to merge the two companies.
"This is a significant step in developing an open and flexible electronic payments system that will foster competition to the benefit of consumers, merchants and banks," said First Data Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charlie Fote. "Our transaction with Concord and its STAR(SM) network will enable First Data to provide its customers with more choices in products and services. Access to our combined depth and scale will give banks and merchants an unprecedented voice in the introduction of innovative payment offerings to consumers."
With respect to projecting the financial performance of the combined companies, FDC's press release said:
The transaction is expected to be neutral to First Data's earnings per share in 2004, prior to restructuring and integration charges, and accretive thereafter. The combined company expects to generate cost savings of approximately $230 million on an annualized basis by 2005.

April 01, 2003

WSJ: First Data Corp. near deal to buy Concord EFS

Robin Sidel reports in this morning's Wall St. Journal that First Data Corp. is close to a deal to acquire Concord EFS.
Boards of both companies are expected to meet Tuesday to consider a transaction, although it isn't clear that they will vote on a deal. Indeed, the two companies have been in on-again, off-again talks for some time, and a deal could still fall apart or be delayed, these people said. Discussions lost steam several weeks ago, but have intensified in recent days, they said.

March 30, 2003

XML.com: XML standards for financial services

Ayesha Malik reports on XML standards for financial services applications.
The value of industry standards has been recognized for some time and industries as varied as bioinformatics to chemicals are using XML standards to streamline the communication between counterparties, suppliers and customers and so forth. In the financial services industry, there are currently several standards being developed. In light of STP, I will discuss FIXML, FpML, and SWIFT. FIXML is used to describe information exchanged on standardized instruments while FpML describes information for over the counter derivative instruments.

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