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« November 16, 2008 - November 22, 2008 | Main | November 30, 2008 - December 6, 2008 »

November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at Glenbrook!

Gosh, it's that time of year again - what many (including me) think of as just the best holiday in the US - Thanksgiving. At Glenbrook, we've got a lot to be thankful for again this year.

Across the industry, many payments professionals have worked hard to make sure everything in the card payment systems is ready for the upcoming annual "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" onslaught of volume. Chase Paymentech's Pulse Index will be tracking things over the weekend - so you can see how the currently challenged US consumer economy is doing vs. the last two years in the ecommerce realm. So far, the big news is a 12.8 percent decline in the average ticket.

Meanwhile, enjoy the holiday with friends and family! Remember, it's just the best!

TrialPay Launches Free Gifts Site for Holiday Shoppers

TrialPay has announced the launch of a new shopping web site where "shoppers can buy gifts from their favorite brands—and get a free present for themselves in the process (movie tickets, software licenses, game subscriptions, career advice and more)." READ MORE »

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit on Charlie Rose

Citigroup's CEO Vikram Pandit was on the Charlie Rose Show last night. A video archive of the 54 minute discussion is available online. Highly recommended!

US Consumer Spending Down, Savings Rate Up in October Data

The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the US Commerce Department has published its latest Personal Income and Outlays report for October 2008. The report shows that "personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $102.8 billion, or 1.0 percent" and that "personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 2.4 percent in October, compared with 1.0 percent in September." Further evidence that US consumers are hunkering down.

American Consumers - Save or Spend?

Holiday shoppers are not planning to reduce their spending significantly, despite news of financial turbulence, according to a new survey released today by ING DIRECT. The survey is part of ING DIRECT's new "We the Savers" campaign calling on committed savers to sign the online "Declaration of Financial Independence"; participate in informative online polls; and use "We the Savers" savings calculators, social networking and IM icons, online forums and more.

According to ING DIRECT's survey findings: "Although Americans seem more concerned about holiday spending during the current economic climate, half of them actually plan to spend the same if not more on holiday gifts this year as compared to last year. Most surveyed also indicate they plan to spend between $300 to over $1,000 on gifts. While this may help struggling retailers, the spending habits of consumers are not improving and their wallets are continuing to stretch. In plain terms, Americans are nowhere near where they should be in terms of saving their money." READ MORE »

November 25, 2008

Bank for International Settlements Updates Country Statistics

The Bank for International Settlements has updated its annual "Statistics on payment and settlement systems in selected countries" based upon 2007 data.

PlaySpan Announces $16.8 Million in Series B Funding

PlaySpan, a provider of digital goods micro-transaction and payment solutions, has announced $16.8M in Series B investment from Easton Capital Group, Menlo Ventures, Novel TMT Ventures, STIC and other undisclosed investors. This new capital brings the company's total funding to $24M. The new funding will be used to expand into Europe and Asia and to grow PlaySpan's global publisher and user-base. READ MORE »

Fed Announces Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF)

The Federal Reserve Board has announced the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), "a facility that will help market participants meet the credit needs of households and small businesses by supporting the issuance of asset-backed securities (ABS) collateralized by student loans, auto loans, credit card loans, and loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA)." READ MORE »

Headline News - November 25, 2008

Note: Throughout the day, as Payments News happens, this post is updated. For job opportunities available for payments professionals, visit PaymentsJobs.com. Employers looking to hire payments professionals can post their job openings there as well.

November 24, 2008

Bank of America Introduces SafePass Card for Authentication

Bank of America has announced the release of the SafePass(R) Card - a "new wallet-sized card essentially builds on SafePass, a one-time-use, six-digit code sent as a text message to consumers' mobile devices to authorize and help safeguard sensitive transactions." READ MORE »

ING DIRECT Suspends Home Foreclosures Through March 2009

ING DIRECT has announced that it will "suspend foreclosure sales on occupied single-family properties through the end of March 2009. Furthermore, in the spirit of the holidays, ING DIRECT will also suspend evictions from occupied single-family properties until January 15, 2009. This formalizes a previously informal, internal process."

PayPal Introduces Mobile Access for PayPal Security Key

PayPal has announced a new way for members to add even more security to their PayPal accounts using their mobile phones. PayPal members can now choose to receive a unique six-digit security code via text message to their mobile phones prior to logging in to their accounts. READ MORE »

New Yorker: Anatomy of a Meltdown - Ben Bernanke Profile

This week's New Yorker magazine has an article by John Cassidy titled "Anatomy of a Meltdown - Ben Bernanke and the Financial Crisis" that's available for reading online.

Other Banking and Payments Blogs

For the last few months we've been hosting a page here on Payments News showing the latest updates from over 30 banking and payments-related blogs. We've recently streamlined the page so that it's now much faster to load. You can visit the new page here. If you're an active blogger discussing industry topics and would like to be included, follow the instructions on the Other Banking and Payments Blogs page.

If you're really a banking and payments news junkie, you might also be interested in this new banking page on Alltop.com.

New Edition of Ronald Mann's Payment Systems Book Published

Ronald J. Mann, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, has updated his book "Payment Systems and Other Financial Transactions: Cases, Materials, and Problems" in a newly available fourth edition. If you're interested in the legal aspects of how the US payments system is put together, this is a great book. It should also be available soon from Amazon.com.

A Look at Treasury's Office of Thrift Supervision

In a front page story in Sunday's edition titled "Banking Regulator Played Advocate Over Enforcer", Binyamin Appelbaum and Ellen Nakashima wrote for the Washington Post about the Office of Thrift Supervision - the banking regulator who have oversight responsibility for several of the biggest financial institution failures this year: Washington Mutual, IndyMac, and, as of last Friday evening, Downey Savings.

Goldleaf Announces Retail Remote Deposit Solution

Goldleaf Financial Solutions has announced the Sierra Xpedite Retail Remote Deposit solution enabling financial institutions to extend the reach of remote deposit across retail customer segments including consumers, micro businesses and small businesses. According to Goldleaf, "Sierra Xpedite Retail Remote Deposit is a new browser-based client application built using rich user interface technology with optimized workflows to meet the specific needs of small volume depositors. The solution facilitates the cost effective deployment of remote deposit functionality to financial institution retail customer segments through support for commercially available flatbed and multi-function (print, scan, copy, fax) scanning devices many users already have." READ MORE »

UATP, Moneta Partner for Airline Payments

Universal Air Travel Program (UATP) has announced that it has partnered with Moneta to support Moneta's online payment wallet for the 250 airlines utilizing UATP payment gateway services. Moneta offers consumers, airline and merchants an alternative payment method which is distributed and marketed through the consumer's bank. Airlines using the UATP payment gateway connection can activate Moneta on their retail checkout site with no infrastructure investment and minimal configuration. READ MORE »

Javelin Looks at Prepaid Processors

Javelin Strategy & Research has announced results from a study of how a prepaid card issuer should assess and choose a processing partner in order to obtain the greatest success from prepaid card programs. According to Javelin, the processor choice is often overlooked and undervalued by prepaid program managers - but growth in the complexity of prepaid products underscores the importance of selecting the right processor. READ MORE »

UK Card Issuers to Share Behavioral Data re: Credit Risk

APACS, the UK payments association, on behalf of the UK credit card industry has announced "an important enhancement to well established data sharing processes to share ‘behavioural data’ on their customers’ accounts." READ MORE »

November 23, 2008

Joint Statement on Citigroup

The Federal Reserve has just posted a "Joint Statement by Treasury, Federal Reserve, and the FDIC on Citigroup" on its web site.

The release said: "The U.S. government is committed to supporting financial market stability, which is a prerequisite to restoring vigorous economic growth. In support of this commitment, the U.S. government on Sunday entered into an agreement with Citigroup to provide a package of guarantees, liquidity access, and capital."

A copy of the term sheet icon_PDF_small.gif was also provided.

US Government Agrees to Citigroup Bailout

In an article by David Enrich, Carrick Mollenkamp, Matthias Rieker and Damian Paletta, the Wall St Journal is reporting late Sunday evening that the US government has agreed to "take unprecedented steps to stabilize Citigroup Inc. by moving to guarantee close to $300 billion in troubled assets weighing on the bank's books."

See also the following stories: Washington Post - U.S. Putting Together Rescue for Citigroup, New York Times - U.S. Plan to Aid Citigroup Said to Be Near Approval.

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