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Contactless Cards Booming

NEW YORK-Several U.S. credit card issuers are shipping literally millions of contactless cards and key-fobs.

Citibank chose the key fob function, arguing that nearly everyone has their keys with them even if they have left their wallets or purses at home, officials report. Citibank will offer zero-liability for unauthorized buys and will not impose a minimum-purchase requirement on account holders who use the keyfobs, which simply need to be swiped over a scanner.

While Citibank started to ship key chain fobs in early October, HSBC Bank USA will issue a million contactless debit MasterCards by yearend. HSBC will eventually replace all of its cards with the no touch function, the bank said. Cleveland based KeyBank will also offer a contactless debit card, the only other major issuer to do so.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and American Express have alrady made substantial inroads into pay with a pass technology last June with credit cards.

CEO Salaries Up At Community Banks

WASHINGTON-A combination of high workloads and high demand for talented executives is being credited for driving the average salary for a community bank CEO above the $200,000 mark for the first time, according to a new survey by America's Community Bankers.

The survey found that increasing competition by other financial institutions, credit unions and financial services organizations have made the typical CEO's job much more complex and demanding. Additionally, new banking regulations due to corporate scandals have raised workloads.

Corporate scandals have also reduced the number of qualified outside directors which also drove CEO salaries higher, the survey's authors suggested.

Data are based on a 2004 survey of 375 banks and thrifts. It found the average CEO salary increased 13.2% to $212,569. Overall, bank employees' wages increased 4.1%, while chief financial officers at banks saw an average increase of 10.8% to $120,870.

Other findings:

* General counsel positions at banks warranted a 19.3% increase to an average of $129,259 while senior internal auditors increased 10.3% to $67,883.

* CEOs in the Northeast United States made an average salary of $257,053 which was 13% higher than the Middle Atlantic states. Employees in the Northeast also were paid higher with a 4.6% average wage increase versus 3.7% in the West.

Lunch On The Bank

HAMILTON, N.J.-Yardville National Bank decided to offer local residents and community leaders lunch during branch openings as a new way to network and bring in new accounts.

In nine months, Yardville reported it had opened three branches and attracted an average of $1.8 million in deposits and $1 million in loans. One branch had already reached its break-even point after its grand opening last December.

What Happens Here, Pays Here

LAS VEGAS-Sin City now has parking spaces that don't need cash. New meters made by Reino Parking Systems Inc. of Alameda, Calif., can be connected to credit card accounts or cell phones.

Drivers can use their cell phone to call a number, report the parking spot and sign up for a specific time. The service will then send a message to the phone allowing the driver to extend parking time if needed.

Charges are made on a credit card and do not appear on a phone bill. Reino uses aggregation software from Peppercoin Inc. that allows a number of small charges to be processed as a single card transaction.

Bank Preparing To Go Ape

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.-J.P. Morgan Chase and Universal Studios are releasing a King Kong limited edition Universal Entertainment MasterCard to commemorate the release of the movie remake.

The King Kong award features entertainment rewards and benefits plus sneak previews and updates about the new film. Card owners earn points that can be redeemed for movie tickets, gift cards or DVDs.

Chase will be present at the movie premiere and take part in cross promotional efforts before the movie release.

United and Chase Offer Rewards

WILMINGTON, Del.-New "blink" cards from Chase Bank U.S.A. will now offer owners United Mileage Plus Visa cards throughout Colorado. This marks the first program of combining air miles with contactless credit cards.

Officials say customers can quickly pass through checkout lines and accrue air miles at the same time.

Contactless cards are activated when a card holder places the card in front of a reader, which beeps on completion of the transaction.

Union Bank Sells ID Code

SAN FRANCISCO-Union Bank of California secured its first customer on the Universal Payment Identification Code, an account identifier for electronic payments. Coastline Community College began using the program to receive government grant money for education. UPIC allows organizations to take secure clearing house payments. Many government organizations have led the way using electronic payments.

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