Performance

JPMorgan CEO reflects on
‘terrible’ 2009

In his annual letter to
shareholders, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon reflects on a
turbulent 2009 after a ‘terrible’ year for their credit card
business.

He added stricter regulation
through the Credit Card Reform Act would reduce profit by $500-750m
in 2010.

Dimon said: “By all measures, 2009
was a terrible year for our credit card business. The economic
environment drove charge-off rates to an all-time high.”

“Card services lost $2.2bn. While I
don’t want to diminish the negative overall results, there were
some positives.”

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By GlobalData

The Credit Card Reform Act passed
by Congress in May last year placed further restrictions on US
credit card issuers by prohibiting certain practices that were not
considered consumer-friendly.

 

STRATEGY AND
TRENDS

Canadian Code of Conduct gets
Interac OK

Interac, Canada’s domestic debit
scheme, has spoken out in support of the final Code of Conduct for
Debit and Credit Payments in Canada, believing it re-establishes
choice and transparency in the marketplace for both merchants and
consumers.

Interac claims that federal Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty has developed meaningful and practical
solutions that will effectively address significant concerns that
have been raised by merchants and consumers about changes taking
place in Canada’s debit marketplace.

“The draft code certainly had good
bones and Minister Flaherty didn’t just add flesh to them, he added
muscle,” said Mark O’Connell, president and CEO of Interac
Association.

“Maintaining complementary
co-badged debit cards is an elegant solution to a whole host of
concerns caused by competitive co-badged cards. It upholds what
exists in Canadians’ wallets today and, at the same time, enhances
the competitive debit landscape by promoting fair and healthy
competition.

“Canada now has a multi-network
debit environment whereby all competitors should play by the same
transparent rules that provide adequate protection for merchants
and consumers.”

Almost 60 per cent of all card
payment transactions in Canada are debit. In 2009, consumers
carried out nearly 4bn debit transactions.

 

PRODUCT LAUNCH

VeriFone launches VX
Evolution

Electronic payment technology
provider VeriFone has unveiled VX Evolution, the latest member of
its VX payments solutions family.

The four new systems that have been
announced are powered by Verix architecture and are designed to
ensure backward compatibility, eliminating any need for retraining
of sales, support and deployment resources. Enhancements include
integrated contactless and end-to-end encryption.

Paul Rasori, VeriFone senior
vice-president for marketing, said: “Verix is the most trusted
payment architecture in the world, representing more than 8m
devices. VX Evolution continues to demonstrate our commitment to
protect customer investments in our systems and solutions.”

 

NEW APPOINTMENTS

Banga appointed new MasterCard
CEO

MasterCard has announced that
current president and chief operating officer Ajay Banga has been
promoted to president and CEO, from July.

Banga will also become a member of
MasterCard’s board of directors, effective immediately. He will
succeed Robert Selander who has held the CEO role since March 1997.
From July, Selander will act as executive vice chairman and will
continue to serve as a member of the company’s board of directors
through to his retirement in December this year.

The newly appointed CEO joined
MasterCard in August, 2009. He spent 13 years at Citigroup where he
held various senior positions all over the world. Most recently, he
was CEO of Citi Asia-Pacific and also a member of Citi’s senior
leadership and executive committees.

 

STRATEGY AND
TRENDS

Amex replaces Visa at retail
giants

American Express (Amex) is to
replace Visa, the world’s biggest payments network, as the
exclusive credit card processor for US retailers Macy’s and
Bloomingdale’s.

According to a recent statement by
Macy’s, Citigroup has said it will issue new cards bearing the
store names and Amex logo by the end of the year. The deal doesn’t
affect store-issued cards, which can’t be used at other
merchants.

The cards will have the same credit
limits, current balances, historical account information and
loyalty program rewards as the existing co-branded card.

 

STRATEGY AND
TRENDS

Cardtronics to manage Travelex
ATMs

Foreign exchange specialist
Travelex has chosen Cardtronics to manage all its ATMs across the
US.

Under the terms of the multi-year
agreement, Cardtronics will provide comprehensive ATM services
including transaction processing, cash management, cash
replenishment, monitoring and maintenance.

“Travelex is the most respected
name in foreign currency exchange, and as such, required a partner
that could manage its ATM network to the highest standards and
protect the valuable Travelex brand in the financial self-service
space,” said Rick Updyke, president of Global Development for
Cardtronics.

“We at Cardtronics are extremely
pleased to have been chosen by Travelex to provide a complete ATM
turnkey management solution for their high-traffic US-based ATM
estate, and we look forward to many years of service and innovation
together.”

It is expected the conversion of
the Travelex ATM portfolio over to the Cardtronics platform is to
be completed by the end of this year’s second quarter.

 

FINANCIAL RESULTS

Q1 marks credit loss peak for
US issuers

The first quarter of 2010 is
expected to mark the peak in credit losses for card issuers in the
US, according to analyst firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

This follows an increased level of
delinquencies (payments which are more than 30 days late) in the
months of August and October.

The peak in the first quarter of
2010 is expected because these loans are generally charged off
after they have been delinquent for 180 days.

“We believe we are nearing a time
period where charge-offs are likely to begin declining from their
current peak,” said a research note written by analysts Sanjay
Sakhrani and Steven Kwok.

Barring a pick-up in bankruptcy
filings, charge-offs are likely to improve, the report said.

The companies most likely to benefit from this trend were
Discover , Capital One, Alliance Data Systems and Amex.