State ID theft bill one step closer to becoming law

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

The Colorado House of Representatives approved an identity theft bill this week that has become model legislation for other states.
HB1347 was drafted by the Colorado Bankers Association. As worded, it would supply $600,000 annually for statewide ID theft investigation.
The bill provides support for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to assist police and district attorneys with the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
The bill is now headed for the governor’s desk for final approval and is expected to be signed into law within a couple of weeks.
CBA’s member banks hold 85 percent of the $82 billion in assets in Colorado banks.
Compass Bank to pay $1M
in back overtime
There’s no such thing as free lunch – just ask the folks at Compass Bank.
The bank has agreed to pay more than $1 million in back overtime to nearly 3,000 employees who routinely worked through lunch and stayed late without compensation, U.S. Labor Department officials said.
The settlement amounts to an average payment of $350 to each of the 2,961 employees who worked overtime without pay.
Department officials said investigators found that tellers and other workers frequently worked through their lunch break or stayed after work at branches in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas from fall 2003 through last summer.
Morgan Stanley luring advisers
Morgan Stanley is reportedly offering top financial advisers from competing firms a bonus of up to 200 percent of their gross revenue during the past 12 months if they jump ship and join the firm.
National news reports say advisers have confirmed that the deals have been offered to prospective employees.
Analysts say the bonuses highlight how intense competition has become as brokerage houses jockey to recruit advisers with sizable client assets.
Well Fargo computer stolen, personal info at risk
Wells Fargo officials are reporting that a computer containing personal information from mortgage customers across the nation may have been stolen.
The computer was reported as missing from the bank’s Minnesota headquarters last week and is believed to contain names, addresses, Social Security numbers and mortgage loan account numbers.
Banking officials said they have not determined whether the missing computer could be used for criminal reasons, but they are mailing notification to individuals whose information was on the computer, and encouraging those customers to take precautionary steps to reduce identity theft risk.
Wells Fargo is the nation’s fifth largest bank with an estimated $492 billion in assets.
It is unknown how many people might be affected by the missing computer.
A criminal investigation is under way.
Purchase would position Wachovia in Colorado, West
The Wachovia Corp. has announced it plans acquire the California-based Golden West Financial Corp. for $25.5 billion.
The deal is awaiting regulatory and shareholder approval.
Wachovia officials said the deal is the largest for the financial institution and will expand Wachovia’s network of bank branches in California and give the bank a beachhead in other fast-growing western states, including Arizona and Colorado.
The deal would also double the size of Wachovia’s mortgage lending and the bank’s assets would increase from $542 billion to about $669 billion. The increase would not change Wachovia’s ranking as the nation’s fourth largest bank.
Wachovia buys retirement business
The Wachovia Corp. is adding a retirement company to its operations.
Officials announced that that the financial institution will acquire a unit of Ameriprise Financial Inc., which manages 401(k) retirement plans
The acquisition is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2006.
Once the purchase is final, Wachovia will provide recordkeeping services for the retirement plans of about 2.1 million employees at about 5,700 companies. Officials said the addition will result in an increase of about 30 percent in the company’s retirement services business.
A number of large banks are entering the retirement market to gain a larger share of baby boomer business.
The acquisition also gives a significant bump to the Wachovia’s ranking in the number of corporate retirement plans it manages, from 23rd to 14th.
Issuers banking on contactless cards
With J.P. Morgan Chase, American Express, Citibank, Key Bank and Citizens launching contactless credit card programs during the last year, card suppliers are expecting to cash in on the trend.
Oberthur Card Systems, which is estimated to supply 30 million to 40 million cards issued 2006, could benefit from the trend the most.
Oberthur, along with other financial institutions, say research shows contactless payment devices speed transactions by 55 percent compared to cash and 40 percent compared to traditional card use.
Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.