More turn to Internet for debt management

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

It appears more consumers are turning to the Internet to service their credit card accounts.

In the first quarter of 2005, the number of people who manage their credit card accounts online grew 28 percent, compared to the same period in 2004, according to ComScore Networks, an Internet monitoring and research company.

ComScore surveyed credit card holders and monitored online credit card servicing activities, such as paying bills, disputing charges and viewing balances and transactions.

The data included tracking information from about 2 million card holders.

The survey found that consumers who manage their credit card accounts over the Internet earn more than the average user.

Nearly 64 percent had household incomes of more than $50,000.

The Internet users are twice as likely to add an authorized user, request a credit limit increase or transfer a balance, and five times more likely to register an address change, according the survey.

Cascade Investment Group adds M&A division

Cascade Investment Group has added a mergers and acquisitions division to its business.

A team of certified associates will be available to coordinate the sales process, including recapitalization, employee buyouts and business sales.

JPMorgan launches compliance Web sites

JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services has created two Web sites featuring information and tools to assist chief compliance officers in meeting mutual fund compliance requirements.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires mutual funds to appoint CCOs and implement comprehensive policies and procedures to prevent fund companies and advisors from violating regulations and securities laws.

The JPMorgan Web sites, one public and one a client site, seek to support the needs of CCOs and registered investment advisors.

The sites can be accessed through www.jpmorgan.com.

Wells Fargo finds business owners are not retiring

About 80 percent of small business owners surveyed in the recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index said they plan to forego retirement at age 65 to keep running their businesses.

Most said they believed they’d find more fulfillment running their businesses than they would in a restful retirement.

Almost four in 10 said the only thing that would force them to retire was their health.

Forty-two percent indicated they might cut back on work, but would never completely abandon their business.

The index also showed that almost two-thirds expected their business to continue operating after they retired. About 19 percent planned on traditional retirement.

Of the owners who expect their businesses to carry on beyond their working years, 41 percent expect someone in their family to keep the business going.

About 34 percent expect to sell to someone from outside the business, and 21 percent say they will sell to one or more employees who are not family members.

Since the third quarter of 2003, the index has asked small business owners about their perceptions of current conditions and future expectations relating to financial situations, revenue, cash flow, capital spending, number of jobs and credit availability.

Bank of America seals MBNA deal

Bank of America Corp. has completed its merger with MBNA Corp., a move that created the largest credit card issuer in the nation.

The Bank of America Card Services organization now has more than 40 million active accounts and nearly $140 billion in managed balances

MBNA’s chief executive officer, Bruce Hammonds, will become president of Bank of America Card Services and also will serve as a member of Bank of America’s Risk & Capital Committee.

Frank Bramble Sr., former vice chairman of MBNA, will join Bank of America’s board of directors.

MBNA shareholders will receive half a share of Bank of America common stock and $4.10 in cash for each share of MBNA common stock they held immediately prior to the merger.

Shareholders will receive cash, instead of fractional shares of Bank of America common stock that would otherwise be issued.

Officials said MBNA shareholders will be contacted with instructions about how to exchange their shares for Bank of America stock.

Bank of America expects to achieve overall expense efficiencies of $850 million after taxes in 2007, and anticipates a restructuring charge of $1.3 billion after taxes.

Cost reductions are expected to come from the elimination of overlapping technology, vendor leverage, marketing expense and personnel reductions.

Ent reaches milestone

Ent Federal Credit Union this week opened its 20th service center in the Pikes Peak Region.

The center is located in Stetson Hills at 6060 Championship View Road near the intersection of Barnes Road and Tutt Boulevard.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.