Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Online Fraud #1 Threat to UK Merchants, According to CyberSource Fraud Report

Survey Reveals 1.8% of Online Revenue Lost to Payment Fraud

READING, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UK merchants say online fraud is the greatest threat they face, according to the Sixth Annual UK Online Fraud Report, an independent survey undertaken by CyberSource Ltd, the UK-based CyberSource (NASDAQ: CYBS) subsidiary. Merchants stated that they lost an average of 1.8% of online revenue to payment fraud in 2009.

Based on the survey results, on average 1.6% of orders accepted proved to be fraudulent, although rates under 1% were common. The rate at which orders are rejected due to suspicion of fraud remains high at an average of 4.6%. This figure has been relatively consistent over the years and points to a continuing challenge for eCommerce merchants, since some of the rejected orders are likely to be valid, resulting in lost revenue.

“Online fraud represents a significant revenue loss for merchants,” said Dr. Akif Khan, co-author of the Fraud Report and Head of Client and Technical Services at CyberSource Ltd. “It’s not just the cost of fraudulent orders that needs to be considered, but also the additional costs of rejecting valid orders, administration of fraud claims and paying for the maintenance of internal systems.”

The survey indicates one of the most dramatic shifts in recent years has been the increased awareness and concern about the theft of customer data. In 2007, just 6% of merchants ranked it as a serious threat. Over the past two years this figure has jumped to over half of merchants. It now ranks second only to online fraud in importance.

Manual Review Represents Profit Leakage

Merchants continue to rely on manual review. Over 70% of merchants surveyed manually check orders as part of their fraud management process; 5% manually review every order. Sixty-nine percent of manually checked orders are ultimately accepted, with one-third of merchants accepting more than 91% of reviewed orders.

Khan continued, “These figures haven’t changed significantly over the last year and it’s a cause for concern that so many manually reviewed orders are actually accepted. Manual review represents a critical area of profit leakage. If not managed effectively it can be expensive, limit scalability and impact customer satisfaction. Merchants should focus on improving the accuracy of their initial automated screening so that only truly suspicious orders are subject to this additional layer of authentication.”

On a positive note, 23% of merchants surveyed use a case management system to support their manual review process; not surprisingly, usage is higher amongst larger organisations (33%). These systems help to make fraud teams more productive by consolidating order information and accelerating the review process. This is particularly important given that 67% of merchants plan to make no changes to the size of their review teams in 2010.

International Expansion Planned

A high proportion of UK merchants already accept orders from mainland Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. France, Germany, Italy and Spain are each served by over half of the merchants accepting international orders. In addition, 49% serve the US and 35% Australia. In 2010, merchants are planning to add a number of countries, with China being number one on the list.

Merchants should be vigilant when considering growth strategies. According to the survey, one in four UK merchants that accept international orders stopped serving certain countries due to high fraud levels – with 60% of respondents citing Nigeria as an example.

Optimism for 2010

For 2010, 69% of merchants are expecting their online revenue to grow year-on-year, up from 51% previously. As eCommerce sales continue to grow, and some resources remain relatively fixed, merchants will face the challenge of accepting more online orders, whilst keeping rejection and fraud rates low.

“Protecting against online fraud must be a priority for merchants. Though we are making life more difficult for fraudsters, no organisation can afford to become complacent,” said Khan.

To obtain a copy of the report, please visit www.cybersource.co.uk/ukfraudreport. Journalists or analysts please contact Danielle Cook or Sarita Sawhney on +44 (0)1628 628080 or cybersource@noiseworks.com.

The sixth annual UK Online Fraud Report survey was conducted by research group Vanson Bourne and was commissioned by CyberSource Ltd. The survey was fielded 15 September – 9 October 2009 and yielded 204 qualified responses. The sample was drawn from a database of companies involved in eCommerce activities. Incentives to respondents included entry into a prize draw for one of two iPod touch devices.

About CyberSource Ltd.

CyberSource Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CyberSource Corporation (NASDAQ: CYBS). CyberSource solutions enable electronic payment processing for web, call centre, and POS environments. CyberSource also offers industry-leading risk management solutions for merchants accepting card-not-present transactions. CyberSource Professional Services designs, integrates, and optimises commerce transaction processing systems. Approximately 284,000 businesses use CyberSource solutions, including half the companies comprising the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and has sales and service offices in Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and other locations in the United States including Bellevue, Washington and American Fork, Utah. For more information on CyberSource please visit www.cybersource.co.uk or email uk@cybersource.com.

©2010 CyberSource Corporation. All rights reserved. CyberSource is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries. All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

NRF Testifies that Credit Card Swipe Fees ‘Take a Bite’ Out of California Sales Taxes

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With California already facing a $20 billion budget deficit, the National Retail Federation warned legislators today that the state’s economy is also taking an increasing hit from hidden “swipe fees” charged every time a credit card is used to make a purchase.

“The credit card companies not only take a piece of every retail transaction, they also take a bite out of sales taxes,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “When a card is used, the card companies assess their fee on the final register price. That means we have to pay them 2 percent of the amount we collect for the state. Members of the committee, the sales tax is not our money. It’s not the credit card companies’ money. It’s the people’s money. Californians are hurting, so why should businesses have to pay credit card companies a fee to collect money for the state?”

Duncan testified before the state Assembly Banking and Finance Committee during a hearing held today on credit card interchange, a fee averaging about 2 percent that Visa and MasterCard banks charge merchants each time one of their credit cards is swiped to pay for a purchase. “Swipe” fee collections totaled $48 billion in 2008, triple the $16 billion collected when NRF began tracking the fees in 2001.

Duncan explained how Visa and MasterCard rules effectively force merchants to pass the fees on to consumers by requiring them to be included in the advertised price of merchandise and making discounts for cash, checks or cheaper forms of plastic difficult. As a result, a shopping bag of goods that could be sold for $99 has to be priced at $101 on the assumption that the customer might pay by credit card, he said. Nationwide, the average household paid an estimated $427 in higher prices in 2008, up from $159 in 2001.

“That’s a remarkably anticompetitive rule,” Duncan said of restrictions on discounts for less-expensive forms of payment. “It’s like Pepsi and Coke telling stores they could be fined if they charged people less for other soft drinks. Its effect, of course, is to discourage the market from moving toward cheaper forms of payments.”

“Regardless of whether one uses cash, check or food stamps, we all end up paying the credit card company price,” Duncan said. “In effect, interchange acts as a privately imposed sales tax on U.S. commerce. Experience has shown that when you hide the true price of credit, it doesn’t matter if it’s a subprime loan or sneaky piece of plastic, the public gets rooked.”

“Gold,” “silver” and “platinum” cards with rewards programs cost merchants even more than the average 2 percent. Duncan said they “operate like a reverse Robin Hood,” charging “the poor more in order to deliver rewards to the wealthy.”

In addition to today’s examination of interchange by the California Legislature, bills pending in Congress would require the card industry to negotiate with merchants over interchange and give the Federal Trade Commission authority to prohibit interchange practices that violate consumer protection or anti-competition laws. A Government Accountability Office study commissioned by Congress last year found interchange fees have risen despite Visa and MasterCard claims to the contrary, that the fees drive up prices for consumers, and that prices could be lowered if the fees were lowered.

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com.


National Retail Federation

J. Craig Shearman, 202-626-8134


Major Smart Card Market Players Join Forces to Advance Open and Secure Public Transport Smart Card Applications

Infineon Technologies AG

Smart Card Makers Giesecke & Devrient and Oberthur Technologies, and Chip Providers Infineon and INSIDE Contactless Launch Initiative to Establish Open Standard

LONDON--(Marketwire - January 26, 2010) - TRANSPORT TICKETING 2010 Conference & Expo -- Smart card manufacturers Giesecke & Devrient GmbH (G&D) and Oberthur Technologies S.A., and chip suppliers Infineon Technologies AG (FRANKFURT: IFX) (OTCQX: IFNNY) and INSIDE Contactless S.A. today announced they have launched an industry initiative to provide a new security solution for next-generation smart card based public transport applications. The solution will build on an open standard now being implemented by the four partner companies, which will eventually be governed by an independent body. Companies active in the smart card arena -- providers of chips, smart cards, application-specific operating software, reader devices and transportation systems -- are invited to join the initiative for the advancement of more secure public transportation applications.

The new standard promises to bring a number of key benefits to both public transport agencies and smart card industry players, including higher performance and advanced system security for public transport applications, as well as the availability of multiple sources for chip products. Through independent testing, the open standard will also provide optimized interoperability to enable simple and fast integration into public transport schemes. The first emulation chips and transportation smart cards using this standard are scheduled to be available by the end of 2010.

The industry initiative is based on groundwork performed by Infineon, the world's number one chip card IC (integrated circuits) provider. Infineon has developed a hardware-based security system specifically suited for public transportation smart card applications. It is comprised of a specific authentication scheme using the open and well-accepted Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 128-bit key length and file types and command sets based on the ISO/IEC 7816 standard. Employing AES, an encryption algorithm also used for commercial transactions, will significantly increase security over less-robust security schemes widely used in current public transportation systems. Using the encryption and secure messaging scheme for authentication, data encryption and Message Authentication Coding (MACing) allows high flexibility and fast adoption for different applications. Infineon, which has already started its own chip development based on the open standard security system, has verified the feasibility of the authentication scheme, enabling the other manufacturers to start their development work immediately.

The fabless semiconductor company INSIDE Contactless, the world's largest chip provider for contactless payment cards, has already signed an agreement with Infineon to implement the security scheme for its chip platforms. In addition, two of the world's top three card manufacturers, G&D and Oberthur Technologies, have already agreed to develop public transport applications based on the scheme.

"INSIDE Contactless is proud to be among the initial partner companies of this new initiative, and we are eager to contribute our experience and develop products for this effort as an advanced, open standard is very much needed especially for higher value transport smart cards, which might eventually converge with payment cards," said Remy de Tonnac, CEO at INSIDE Contactless. "With the convergence of contactless payments and transit fare collection in contactless smart cards and NFC enabled mobile phones, INSIDE envisions implementation to the open security standard across all our product lines."

"We see a strong trend towards convergence of secure solutions for transit, between tickets and mobile phones with NFC, and between transit and other payment schemes. As a major player in all these markets, G&D is committed to play a key role in achieving open standards needed to support this convergence. This initiative provides an attractive alternative to existing technologies, and G&D will fully support it with its application security expertise," said Willem Bulthuis, CTO and Group Vice President of Giesecke & Devrient.

"Oberthur Technologies has always supported open standards. As a major actor in the public transportation market segment, we will actively participate in this initiative which aims at delivering increased interoperability and security at lower cost. This open standard will facilitate the deployment of transit systems using multiple end-user devices including multi-application payment cards and NFC phones," said Frédéric Chevreton, General Manager of the Payment and Transport Product Line at the Card Systems Division of Oberthur Technologies.

"This initiative of four smart card heavyweights sets forth a new open platform with enhanced security compared to current solutions in public transportation, one of the fastest growing smart card segments," said Dr. Helmut Gassel, President of the Chip Card & Security Division at Infineon Technologies. "Open systems provide global interoperability of reliable components from multiple sources under fair and reasonable business terms. Infineon contributes contactless excellence and tailored security with the right level of security at best cost-performance ratio to help to advance both current and future transportation applications."

About INSIDE Contactless

INSIDE Contactless is the global leader in open-standard contactless payment and Near Field Communication (NFC) semiconductors and software that power the next generation of payment, transit, identity and access control applications. The company's intelligent, microprocessor-based platforms offer the flexibility to be embedded in smart cards, mobile phones and other consumer electronic devices, documents, badges and other items to support a wide range of innovative contactless applications and bring new levels of convenience to users. INSIDE has delivered more than 350 million contactless platforms worldwide to customers and partners that include many of the leading payment card and mobile phone manufacturers, systems integrators and financial institutions. With a portfolio of 60 families of patents, including several essential NFC patents, the company has played a leading role in NFC and contactless innovation. INSIDE is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, France, with offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Warsaw, Seoul and Silicon Valley. For more information, please visit www.insidecontactless.com

About Giesecke & Devrient

Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is a leading international technology provider headquartered in Munich, Germany. With a headcount of around 10,000 employees, the Group generated sales of EUR 1.7 billion in fiscal 2008. Founded in 1852, G&D is a global market leader and pioneering innovator in banknote production and processing, smart card solutions for telecommunications and electronic payment, and security documents and identification systems. 49 subsidiaries and joint ventures across more than 30 countries ensure customer proximity worldwide. For more information, visit our website at: www.gi-de.com.

About Oberthur Technologies

With sales of 882 million Euros in 2008, Oberthur Technologies is a world leader in the field of secure technologies. Innovation and high quality services ensure Oberthur Technologies' strong positioning in its main target markets:

-- Card Systems: The world's second largest provider of security and

identification based on smart card technology and associated services for

mobile, payment, transport, digital TV and convergence markets.

-- Identity: Leading international supplier for the manufacture and

personalization of secure identity documents such as passport, identity

card, driving license or health care card -- traditional and electronic --

and associated services for both governmental and corporate markets.

-- Security printing: World's third largest private security printer

specialized in high security for the production of banknotes, checks and

other fiduciary documents in more than fifty countries.

-- Cash protection: World leader in the emerging market of intelligent

systems to secure cash-in-transit and ATM.

Close to its customers, Oberthur Technologies benefits from an industrial and commercial presence across all five continents.

For further information, visit our website www.oberthur.com

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society: energy efficiency, communications, and security. In the 2009 fiscal year (ending September), the company reported sales of Euro 3.03 billion with approximately 25,650 employees worldwide. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the U.S. from Milpitas, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX) and in the USA on the over-the-counter market OTCQX International Premier (ticker symbol: IFNNY). Further information is available at www.infineon.com This news release is available online at www.infineon.com/press/

NCR Grows Services Unit to Power Two Million Points of Service Worldwide

World’s Largest ATM Provider, Largest Self-Checkout Provider, Largest Healthcare Self-Service Provider Also One of Top Services Providers for Banks, Retailers and Other Businesses

DULUTH, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), best known as the world’s leading ATM provider for 23 consecutive years and the top provider of self-checkout technology for retailers, has vaulted into one of the top services providers for businesses in retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector. At the beginning of 2010, NCR’s 13,000 services professionals were helping power more than two million consumer points of service around the world, including ATMs, point of sale, self-check in at healthcare providers and airlines, and other multi-vendor self-service technology.

According to Gartner, NCR was the 10th largest hardware services provider in the world in 2009.

Beyond first- and second-line maintenance, NCR now provides a broad portfolio of higher-end managed services on more than 500,000 points of service for businesses worldwide, for services such as remote monitoring and incident management, cash management and software management. NCR processes more than $200 billion of hosted transaction value annually through its software hosting services, and online banking. These services take place in more than 3,000 separate locations in 110 countries, making NCR the only ATM manufacturer that is providing managed services on six continents.

“Businesses around the world have recognized the value NCR can provide through NCR Managed Services. Our worldwide resources and advanced infrastructure allows us to manage devices and deploy new software often faster and more cost efficiently than a business could do alone. This also allows our customers to focus on what they do best,” said Christine Wallace, senior vice president, NCR Services.

For one managed services customer, NCR oversaw the financial institution’s nearly 4,000 ATM network. In turn, the financial institution saw the following benefits:

  • a 17 percent reduction in costs

  • availability increase across the network

  • a 22 percent reduction in downtime

  • a 48 percent reduction in emergency cash loads

For financial institutions, NCR in 2009 launched NCR APTRA Deposit Gateway, a web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that enables financial institutions to perform check image processing for envelope-free deposits made at the ATM. APTRA Deposit Gateway enables financial institutions to go-to-market quickly with minimal upfront investment or risk, by relying on NCR’s hosted infrastructure. Financial institutions have assurance of the latest imaging technology to serve consumers and meet their needs and expectations, while optimizing their internal operations.

In addition to APTRA Deposit Gateway, NCR provides a total remote check capture service in SaaS format, for deposits occurring in the bank customer’s home, mobile device, commercial customer place of business or branch.

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR’s assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.

NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.

CFO.com: Are Your Payment Systems Secure?

Are Your Payment Systems Secure?

rise in fraud related to Automated Clearing House payments puts businesses and their banks at risk.

Thieves rob $1.3 million from a property-management firm by initiating debits against its accounts using banking information pilfered from a painting company. Banking credentials stolen at a small veterinary office in Ohio lead to theft from a large New Jersey corporation. A series of bogus wire transfers help topple a Pittsburgh savings and loan.

As these incidents from 2009 illustrate, payments fraud against corporations is on the rise, particularly in the area of electronic transactions that take place through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. In December the Electronic Payments Assn. (NACHA) issued a warning to banks about a cybercrime called corporate account takeover — when thieves gain control of a bank account by stealing a finance department's online banking passwords and possibly other credentials. Just prior to that, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reported there was an escalation of thievery related to ACH and wire transfers.

Continue Reading at CFO.com

TSYS Expands Relationship with U.S. Bank

New Agreement Includes Exclusive Healthcare Partnership

COLUMBUS, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TSYS announced today that it has signed a new long-term agreement with U.S. Bank. As part of the agreement, TSYS will continue to support the bank’s commercial card payment services, as well as become its exclusive partner in providing card processing services for the bank’s Consumer Directed Healthcare (CDH) benefit cards, issued by its Healthcare Payment Solutions business line.

The CDH agreement will allow U.S. Bank cardholders to eventually access multiple spending accounts, cash and lines of credit from a single card.

“Now, more than ever, consumers need to control and manage how their healthcare dollars are spent. We are confident that TSYS is the right choice for our business, as we continue to expand our suite of innovative, card-based healthcare payment options to those consumers,” said Ralph Bernstein, senior vice president of U.S. Bank Healthcare Payment Solutions.

“U.S. Bank has been among the most valued commercial card clients for more than two decades, and we are proud to add this new element to our long-standing relationship,” said M. Troy Woods, president and chief operating officer of TSYS. “We look forward to helping the bank develop cost-effective benefit payment choices for its consumer directed healthcare program.”

Terms of the multi-year agreement were not released.

About U.S. Bancorp

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $264 billion in assets, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the 6th-largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 2,847 banking offices and 5,183 ATMs in 24 states and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at usbank.com.

About U.S. Bank Healthcare Payment Solutions

Healthcare Payment Solutions helps patients pay and providers collect. An outgrowth of U.S. Bank's long-standing commitment to the healthcare community, Healthcare Payment Solutions delivers innovations that simplify the receipt and processing of payments, provide new and better ways for patients to meet their financial obligations, and support the relationship among the participants in the healthcare continuum. U.S. Bank's Healthcare Payment Management recently earned a peer-review designation from the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and its Health Savings Accounts rank among the industry's best. For more information about Healthcare Payment Solutions, please contact usbankhealthcare@usbank.com or call 866-285-0933.

About TSYS

TSYS (NYSE: TSS) is one of the world’s largest companies for outsourced payment services, offering a broad range of issuer- and acquirer-processing technologies that support consumer-finance, credit, debit, healthcare, loyalty and prepaid services for financial institutions and retail companies in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions. For more information contact news@tsys.com or log on to www.tsys.com. TSYS routinely posts all important information on its Web site.

About TSYS Healthcare

TSYS Healthcare, based in Minneapolis, Minn., was created as a division of TSYS in 2007 to provide end-to-end solutions tailored to the emerging market of consumer-directed healthcare. TSYS Healthcare is a founding member of the Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards (SIGIS), formed in 2007 to enable real-time, auto-substantiation for eligible medical items purchased with a FSA/HRA payment card. The division provides financial institutions, insurers, participants and third-party administrators (TPAs) with the expertise and support to navigate all aspects of health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and lines of credit. Its new processing model enables consumers to use a single card to access their healthcare dollars. For more information about TSYS Healthcare contact healthcare@tsys.com or visit www.tsyshealthcare.com.

Citizens Holding Company Reports Earnings

PHILADELPHIA, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Citizens Holding Company (NASDAQ:CIZN) announced today results of operations for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2009.

Net income for the three months ended December 31, 2009 decreased to $1.703 million, or $0.35 per share-basic and diluted, from $2.055 million, or $0.42 per share-basic and diluted for the same quarter in 2008. Net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2009, after the provision for loan losses for the quarter, was $6.838 million, approximately 2.2% higher than the same period in 2008, due to a decrease in the amount of interest expense partially offset by an increase in the provision for loan losses. The provision for loan losses for the three months ended December 31, 2009 was $749 thousand compared to $195 thousand for the same period in 2008. The increase in the provision reflects management’s assessment of inherent losses in the loan portfolio including the impact caused by current local and national economic conditions. The net interest margin decreased to 4.22% in the fourth quarter of 2009 from 4.31% in the same period in 2008 primarily because of the decrease in yields on earning assets was greater than the decline in rates paid on interest bearing deposits.

Non-interest income increased in the fourth quarter of 2009 by approximately $984 thousand, or 63.4%, while non-interest expenses increased $1.938 million, or 34.9%, compared to the same period in 2008. The increase in non-interest income was due primarily to an $855 thousand gain on the sale of surplus bank property left from the relocation of a branch. Non-interest expense increased mainly due to a $207 thousand increase in FDIC premiums paid in 2009, an increase in salaries and benefits in the amount of $532 thousand and write-downs on other real estate of $1.017 million.

Net income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 decreased 13.7% to $7.139 million, or $1.47 per share-basic and $1.45 per share-diluted, from $8.274 million, $1.70 per share-basic and $1.69 per share-diluted, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2008. Net interest income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009, after the provision for loan losses, increased 8.1% to $26.540 million from $24.559 million for the same period in 2008. Net interest margin decreased to 4.20% in 2009 from 4.41% in 2008. The provision for loan losses for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 was $3.013 million compared to $1.224 million in 2008. The increase in the provision reflects management’s assessment of inherent losses in the loan portfolio including the impact caused by current local and national economic conditions.

Non-interest income increased by $194 thousand, or 2.5%, and non-interest expense increased by $3.968 million, or 18.2%, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 when compared to December 31, 2008. The increase in non-interest income was primarily the result of an $855 thousand gain on the sale of surplus branch property offset by one-time items in 2008 including termination of a sweep program that resulted in $442 thousand in non-interest income in 2008 and insurance proceeds in 2008 on the life of a bank officer of $770 thousand. Non-interest expense increased mainly due to a $901 thousand increase in FDIC assessments paid in 2009, an increase in salaries and benefits of $1.204 million and write-downs on other real estate of $1.017 million. Salaries and benefits rose mainly due to the addition of personnel in the loan administration department, staffing for the loan production office in Biloxi and normal raises.

Total assets as of December 31, 2009 increased by $73.957 million, or 9.7%, when compared to December 31, 2008. Deposits increased by $23.876 million, or 4.4%, over the same period in 2008. Loans, net of unearned income, during this period increased by $18.516 million, or 4.3%, due to increasing loan demand brought about partially by the entrance into new markets from the opening of four new branches since the fourth quarter of 2007 and the addition of the Biloxi Loan Production Office in 2009. Non-performing assets increased by $8.631 million to $14.314 million at December 31, 2009 compared to December 31, 2008 because of an increase in non-accrual loans and loans 90 days or more past due and still accruing interest offset by a small decrease in other real estate.

During 2009, the Company paid dividends totaling $0.81 per share. This represents an increase of 5.2% over the dividends paid in 2008.

Citizens Holding Company (the “Company”) is a one-bank holding company and the parent company of The Citizens Bank of Philadelphia (the “Bank”), both headquartered in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The Bank currently has twenty-three banking locations in ten counties in East Central and South Mississippi and has a Loan Production Office in Biloxi, Mississippi. In addition to full service commercial banking, the Bank offers mortgage loans, title insurance services through its subsidiary, Title Services, LLC, and a full range of Internet banking services including online banking, bill pay and cash management services for businesses. Internet services are available at the Bank’s web site, www.thecitizensbankphila.com.

Citizens Holding Company stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market and is traded under the symbol CIZN. The Company’s transfer agent is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company. Information about Citizens Holding Company may be obtained by accessing its corporate website at www.citizensholdingcompany.com.

American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

Consumers Enter 2010 with Strong Financial Goals and an Optimistic but Prudent Outlook

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--While January usually brings intentions to exercise more, lose weight and stop smoking, a recent survey found that this year consumers are most focused on their financial well-being, and are approaching the year with an optimistic but prudent financial outlook. In fact, nine in ten (89%) of the general population have set a clear financial goal for the year and 83 percent have a specific savings strategy in place, with a goal of saving on average $14,000. This is an ambitious goal, given that it accounts for approximately 22 percent of their household income.

The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the fifth in a monthly series, reports about consumers’ views about the economy, their financial goals and intentions, and overall spending and saving trends. The research sample of 2,088 adults included the general U.S. population1, as well as two subgroups – the affluent2 and young professionals3.

Building a financial nest

When it comes to saving, consumers are setting specific goals and the vast majority (83%) have a defined strategy in place to help reach that number. On average, the general population would like to save $14,000 this year and over the next 30 days plans to sock away $1,200. Affluents and young professionals have equally impressive goals for the year, reporting that they plan to save on average $25,000, and $12,000 respectively.

While a wishful 23 percent of consumers hope to win the lottery to hit their savings goal, most consumers have more practical strategies in place.

  • More than half (54%) of the general population, 59 percent of affluents and 68 percent of young professionals will rely on primary income as a means for achieving their financial goals.

  • There will be some paring back on the small luxuries in life to pad savings accounts – 30 percent of the general population and 42 percent of young professionals will rein in extras such as “morning lattes and manicures.”

  • Tax returns will play an especially important role in young professionals meeting their savings goal, with 45 percent expecting it to contribute to savings, compared to 25 percent of both the general population and affluents.

  • Another 19 percent will sell items on websites or in classifieds; 15 percent will take on a second job and six percent plan to stash a portion of a bonus. Of the young professionals, 28 percent plan to leverage their bonus to build their savings.

“This year, consumers are focused on finding the right balance between saving and spending by continuing to make smart trade-offs,” said Pamela Codispoti, American Express senior vice president and general manager, Cardmember Services. “For some people we found that means eating out less but buying quality products at the grocery store so it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. Regardless of the trade-offs they are making, most people seem to be thinking about how they can be better stewards of their money.”

Whipping wallets into shape

Managing and budgeting finances (51%) is at the top of consumers’ lists of financial pursuits for the year ahead. Specifically, consumers will be looking to:

  • Significantly reduce or wipe out their debt (21%)

  • Buy only what they can afford (16%)

  • Stick to a monthly budget (14%)

Others will pursue financial goals of higher paying jobs (12%) or to buy or sell real estate (3%).

Affluents and young professionals are fairly consistent with the general population in wanting to manage and budget finances in 2010 (44% and 52%). However, more young professionals (29%) say they want to significantly reduce or wipe out their debt but only six percent had a goal of only buying what they could afford.

Even as consumers watch their wallets, 49 percent say they expect to spend more or the same in the next 30 days when compared to the last 30 day period. Consumers plan to spend in:

  • Non-discretionary areas, including: groceries (52%), child or elder care (50%), medical bill/healthcare (49%), auto expenses (48%), loans and credit card payments (44%), tax payments (44%).

  • Discretionary areas, including: entertainment (47%), dining out (45%), and education (43%).

And If Money Were No Object...We’d Travel!

Travel tops the list of pursuits consumers rank most valuable to their livelihood and well-being with 72%, ahead of home entertaining with friends or family (66%), and dining out (60%). Therefore, even in the midst of their pledges to become fiscally fit, a number of consumers will continue to travel rather than eliminate it from their budget.

“Given how important travel is to consumers, it’s no surprise that they plan to find ways to get away this winter,” says Codispoti. “The combination of travel deals and discounts and the ability to use rewards points to offset the cost of trips is allowing consumers to both reign in spending and continue to travel.”

  • Thirty-one percent of the general population plans to take a vacation between now and the end of March and more so among affluents (51%) and young professionals (54%).

  • Two in five (42%) young professionals have plans to take weekend trips this winter, and approximately one-fourth (23%) of affluents intend to take week-long trips between now and the end of March.

  • Among all those scheduling a winter vacation, an average of two trips is planned.

  • More than four in five (84%) of the general population will limit their journeys to the United States during the first three months of the year.

American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of consumers aged 18+. The research sample of 2,088 adults surveyed the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups – the affluent and young professionals. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between January 5 and January 11, 2010. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2 (or +/- 4.2 among affluent and +/- 4.3 among young professionals) percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. For access to previous American Express Spending & Saving Tracker results, please visit www.americanexpress.com/aboutus.

About American Express

American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) (www.americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.


1 The research was conducted online January 5 –11, 2010 among a random sample of 2,088 adults aged 18 and older.

2 Affluent - defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000.
3 Young Professional - defined as less than 30 years of age, having a college degree, and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.

HSBC Appoints Gemalto to Facilitate the EMV Migration of Its Credit Cards across 19 Markets in Asia Pacific

The service involves up to 15 million EMV credit cards, personalization services and business recovery planning services

AMSTERDAM--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security, has been appointed by the HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial organizations, to supply a comprehensive end-to-end EMV migration service across its 19 markets in the Asia Pacific region. Gemalto’s services cover three main areas; provisioning of EMV credit cards, secure personalization services, and business recovery planning services. Gemalto’s strong track record in delivering end-to-end solutions for financial institutions will help the company meet the bank’s requirements.

Gemalto is a recognized industry expert in supporting banks around the world through the EMV migration process. Its strong presence in the Asia region is facilitated by its multiple sales offices, production and personalization sites. It is able to provide all the logistics and processes necessary for a successful implementation to be adequately and securely managed. In addition, it provides strong contingency and backup capabilities for business continuity.

“We want to make sure we deliver the best value right down the line to the end-consumer,” commented Tan Teck Lee, President for Gemalto Asia. “We bring these world-class solutions to our banking customers so that their customers in turn benefit from the secure, fast and efficient banking provisioning capabilities: whether it’s a new card being issued, or an emergency replacement of a lost card, we make sure the card is the last thing our customers need to worry about.”

With increasing use of credit cards in day-to-day financial transactions in the region, it is important for these cards to be equipped with security features that give consumers peace of mind during transactions. Fraud has been the key driver of the ongoing migration exercise for credit cards in the Asia-Pacific region. By replacing the traditional magnetic stripe with an EMV version, sensitive customer data can be kept more securely, allowing end-users the freedom to enjoy using their credit card with ease and confidence.

For more information: http://www.gemalto.com/financial/cards/index.html

About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital security with 2008 annual revenues of €1.68 billion, and 10,000 employees operating out of 75 offices, research and service centers in 40 countries.

Gemalto is at the heart of our evolving digital society. The freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain, and work—anytime, anywhere—has become an integral part of what people want and expect, in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and secure.

Gemalto delivers on the growing demands of billions of people worldwide for mobile connectivity, identity and data protection, credit card safety, health and transportation services, e-government and national security. We do this by supplying to governments, wireless operators, banks and enterprises a wide range of secure personal devices, such as subscriber identification modules (SIM), Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) in mobile phones, smart banking cards, smart card access badges, electronic passports, and USB tokens for online identity protection. To complete the solution we also provide software, systems and services to help our customers achieve their goals.

As the use of Gemalto’s software and secure devices increases with the number of people interacting in the digital and wireless world, the company is poised to thrive over the coming years.

For more information please visit www.gemalto.com


Corillian Online from Fiserv Integrates Online Banking, Payments and Personal Financial Management Tools

http://www.fiserv.com Full, functional integration and advanced Web 2.0 technologies enable consumers to conduct transactions and monitor finances from a single online financial destination

BROOKFIELD, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISV), the leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, today announced the launch of a licensed version of Corillian® Online featuring an enhanced user interface and integrated personal financial management tools. The new user interface combines 90 percent of the most commonly used online banking functionalities -- account balances, transfers, electronic bills and payments -- onto a single screen for easy access. Consumers will also see a graphical display of recent spending behavior on the same screen. This consolidation of relevant, actionable information makes management of day-to-day financial tasks easier for consumers.

Corillian Online from Fiserv takes advantage of the latest Web 2.0 and Rich Internet Application (RIA) technology to provide a personalized and highly functional online banking experience within a simple and intuitive display.

“Corillian Online brings a new level of sophistication and usability to the consumer online banking experience,” said Erich Litch, senior vice president and general manager of Consumer Services, Electronic Banking Services, Fiserv. “During development, we conducted focus groups to find out what consumers wanted from their online banking service, then we went one step further and conducted usability testing to make sure consumers could easily access the new features. Using Web 2.0 technologies allowed us to pack a lot of functionality into the service while maintaining ease of use.”

A demonstration of Corillian Online, as well as a podcast interview on how experience-based design influenced the development of the service, can be accessed at www.corillianonline.fiserv.com. First Bank, a family-owned bank with $10.3 billion in assets headquartered in Clayton, Mo., recently agreed to use the new Corillian Online solution.

“First Bank offers our customers services that help them better manage their day-to-day financial lives, and delivering easy-to-use online banking and financial management tools is a key part of the support we provide,” said Timothy Cook, vice president, Internet Banking, First Bank, which has more than 200 locations in Illinois, Missouri, California, Florida and Texas. “The integrated online banking and payment functions in Corillian Online from Fiserv will allow us to provide our customers a one-on-one online user experience that mirrors the convenient and friendly interactions we emphasize in our branches.”

The heart of Corillian Online is the Financial Overview page, a home page separated into distinct functional modules. From account balances to individual transaction details, Corillian Online provides a 360 degree financial management experience. The modules include:

Account Balances – The Account Balances section allows consumers to quickly glance at their balances and most recent transactions without combing through pages of information.

“Quick Payment” and “Quick Transfer” Buttons – These clickable buttons allow consumers to initiate, complete and confirm a bill payment or funds transfer without ever leaving the home page, eliminating the need to navigate multiple screens. Consumers have peace of mind that the transaction was handled correctly without spending extra time on the task.

My Spending – Upon login to online banking, a pie graph in the My Spending section automatically generates a breakdown of spending over a pre-designated timeframe, such as the previous 30 days. Hovering the cursor over a pie piece reveals a breakdown of that information to a sub-category level. The ability to graphically analyze transactions down to a sub-category level provides true insight into spending patterns. Additionally, clicking on the pie piece reveals the individual transactions composing a specific spending category.

Future Transactions – The Future Transactions section includes thumbnail images of bills waiting to be paid, in the order they are due, as well as pending payments and transfers. Consumers can click on a bill thumbnail to view details, in the same way they would review a physical bill to make sure charges are correct. Consumers can then click a button to pay the bill, and the scheduled payment will immediately appear in the scheduled payments section.

Corillian Online also includes screen space dedicated to displaying targeted marketing messages, allowing financial institutions to market products and services to specific consumers based on their online activity.

Also available in an ASP version, Corillian Online from Fiserv is designed to encourage online adoption and enhance user retention by providing a rich, intuitive financial management experience. The service is updated regularly through Feature Packs. These centrally-managed updates eliminate time-consuming upgrades for individual financial institutions while ensuring consumers always have access to the latest functionalities.

About Fiserv

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) is the leading global provider of information management and electronic commerce systems for the financial services industry, driving innovation that transforms experiences for financial institutions and their customers. Ranked No. 1 on the FinTech 100 survey of top technology partners to the financial services industry, Fiserv celebrated its 25th year in 2009. For more information, visit www.fiserv.com.

Wells Fargo Adds ExpressSend® Remittance Paying Agent in Mexico and Expands to 8 Additional Latin American Countries

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has more than doubled the number of countries that can receive Wells Fargo ExpressSend remittance transactions – expanding to Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Additionally, Wells Fargo has added Telecomunicaciones de Mexico (Telecomm Telegrafos) – one of the largest telecommunications companies in Mexico – as a new paying agent. Customers can now remit to an additional 1,560 new payout locations in Mexico, bringing the total payout locations in Mexico to more than 5,500 locations.

“The expansion of our consumer remittance network in Latin America reflects on our long-standing commitment to satisfying all of our customers financial services needs,” said Daniel Ayala, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's Global Remittance Services. “Our Hispanic customer base is made of immigrants from a number of Latin American countries. Wells Fargo wants to be the bank of choice for this increasingly important high growth consumer segment.”

Wells Fargo remittance services are economical, convenient and dependable. Customers can send money directly to their beneficiary for one low transfer fee. Customers may also qualify for 50 or 100 percent fee discounts based on their account relationship with Wells Fargo. Customers can send money by signing on to Wells Fargo Online®, by calling 1-800–TO-WELLS or by visiting a Wells Fargo store location.

“Mexico is one of the largest remittance corridors and a key driver for our remittance business,” Ayala said. “Our remittance network expansion with Telecomm Telegrafos will provide our customers with an alternative remittance distribution network that reaches a more diverse set of remittance locations in the Mexican territory.”

“This expansion strengthens competition in Latin America and the Caribbean as the bank’s presence links up with important financial institutions, expands and extends payment networks, offers more competitive fees, and facilitates the opportunity to remittance recipients to use other financial services provided by its partners,” said Dr. Manuel Orozco, Remittances and Development Program, Inter-American Dialogue.


Country   Network Member   Locations   Remittance currency   Available Option   Transfer Fee
Argentina   BBVA Banco Frances  
  • Over 230 branches

  • 650 ATMs

  US Dollars  
  • Account to cash

  • Cash to cash

  • $8

  • $10

Bolivia   Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz  
  • Over 60 branches

  • 170 ATMs

  US Dollars  
  • Account to cash

  • Cash to cash

  • $8

  • $10

Colombia   BBVA Colombia  
  • Over 470 branches

  • 750 ATMs

  Colombian pesos  
  • Account to cash

  • Cash to cash

  • $7

  • $9

Dominican Republic   Banco Hipotecario Dominicano (Banco BHD)  
  • Over 100 branches

  • 190 ATMs

  Dominican Pesos  
  • Account to cash

  • Cash to cash

  • $7

  • $9

Ecuador   Banco de Guayaquil  
  • Over 80 branches

  • 660 ATMs

  US Dollars  
  • Account to account / cash

  • Cash to account / cash

  • $8

  • $10

Honduras   Banco Financiero Comercial Hondureña (Banco Ficohsa)  
  • Over 80 branches

  • 160 ATMs

  • Account to account / cash

  • Cash to account / cash

  • $7

  • $9

Mexico (additional outlets)   Telecomunicaciones de México
(Telecomm Telégrafos)

  • Over 1,560 locations

  Mexican pesos  
  • Account to cash

  • Cash to cash

  • $5

  • $7

Nicaragua   Banpro  
  • Over 50 branches

  • 70 ATMs

  US Dollars  
  • Account to cash

  • Cash to cash

  • $8

  • $10

Peru   BBVA Banco Continental  
  • Over 170 branches

  • 450 ATMs

US Dollars

  • Account to account / cash

  • Cash to account / cash

  • $8

  • $10


Wells Fargo also offers international remittance products to the top seven countries from the U.S. – Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, and China. Participating banks include:

  • Mexico – BBVA Bancomer, HSBC Mexico and Banorte

  • Guatemala – Banco Industrial S.A. and Banco de Desarrollo Rural, S.A.

  • El Salvador – Banco Agrícola, S.A. and HSBC Banco Salvadoreño

  • Philippines - Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)

  • India – ICICI Bank Ltd.

  • Vietnam - Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank)

  • China - Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)

“We launched Wells Fargo ExpressSend in 2007 and it has proved to be a success for our company,” Ayala added. “We understand the lifelong connection that immigrants have to their extended family and friends in their country of origin and we want to help facilitate that connection by expanding our Wells Fargo ExpressSend remittance service to more countries each day.”

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores, over 12,000 ATMs and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally.

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