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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 25, 2023 • Issue 23:12:02

News Briefs

Editor's Note: This article contains excerpts from news stories recently posted under Breaking Industry News on our homepage. For links to these and other full news stories, please visit www.greensheet.com/breakingnews.php.

The Green Sheet News Briefs

Verizon Business, Mastercard expand SMB offerings <- click to read full story

In partnership with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha, Verizon Business launched initiatives in response to growing demand for anywhere commerce. The Verizon Business Card is designed to reward SMB owners for office supply, technology and fuel purchases. In addition to rewards, the card offers enhanced security, theft protection and business apps, with no annual fee, Verizon added. Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, emphasized the company's commitment to leveraging the partnership to help businesses expand and thrive.

Verizon and Mastercard are also exploring opportunities to harness Verizon's 5G connectivity and Mastercard's global network. They see potential to enhance commerce experiences via IoT, sensor connectivity, edge computing and fintech platforms. Key focuses, the companies stated, include connected device payments, touchless retail shopping, physical-digital convergence, SMB digital readiness, enhanced bill pay, and fraud protection.

Holiday shopping kickoff exceeds expectations <- click to read full story

A record-breaking 200.4 million Americans shopped during the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, surpassing last year's 196.7 million, with the average intended spend estimated at $321.41, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This also exceeded the NRF's earlier prediction of 182 million shoppers for the holiday weekend, which researchers noted, emphasizes the strength of the economy and consumer resilience. U.S. consumers spent $105.2 billion online between November 1 and November 27, with Black Friday ($9.8 billion) and Cyber Monday ($12 billion) leading online spending. Buy now, pay later plans contributed significantly to online spending, and discounts drove much of the shopping activity, particularly for televisions, sporting goods, computers, furniture and appliances. Fifty-five percent of purchases were motivated by sales and promotions, according to the NRF. Top gift purchases included clothing, toys, gift cards, books, video games, personal care and beauty products.

Sour apples for Goldman Sachs-Apple partnership <- click to read full story

In August 2019, Apple and Goldman Sachs formed a credit card partnership with high hopes of revolutionizing the credit card experience. However, last week, they revealed plans to end the partnership over the next 12 to 15 months. Goldman Sachs aimed to establish itself in retail payments, making the Apple card issuance a central part of its strategy.

Over time, the partnership expanded to include a high-yield savings account and a successful buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering, which gained popularity quickly, with 19 percent of users surveyed by J.D. Power having used it in the previous 90 days. Goldman faced challenges, however, including losses due to Apple's broad card issuance approach that includes many subprime borrowers. Regulatory scrutiny and compliance issues further complicated matters. This breakup is viewed as a temporary setback for Apple, as the company focuses on expanding its services business. Speculation surrounds potential replacement issuers. JPMorgan Chase, which already handles merchant acquiring for Apple stores, is reportedly in talks with Apple.

Fintech ramped up lending to low-income consumers <- click to read full story

Financial technology firms significantly increased lending to low- and moderate-income consumers, providing an alternative to traditional banks. However, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York warns of rising delinquencies that could challenge borrowers and lenders, noting that Americans held $232 billion in unsecured personal loan balances in mid-2023, with a significant increase in lending to below-prime credit borrowers.

Fintech lending has thrived, offering lower-cost credit options to borrowers often excluded by traditional institutions, aided by a low-interest rate environment. Yet, with inflation and higher rates, delinquencies have climbed. Delinquency rates for most consumer loans have risen from record lows seen in 2021 and 2022. Aggregate delinquency rates increased by 3 percent in the third quarter this year, except for student loans and home equity lines of credit. In contrast, the "other" category, including many nontraditional fintech loans, saw 5.78 percent of loans in "serious delinquency" of 90 days or more. end of article

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