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New Mexico CUs Turn Back Unusual New Tax

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-The New Mexico CU League turned back an unusual tax threat that would have levied a new tax on the league itself, along with other non-profits in the state. The proposal was included in a comprehensive reform package proposed by the Governor's Commission on Taxes, which was rejected by the state legislature during its recently concluded special session. "At this point, we've been very successful in defeating the proposal," Tracey Rock, chief lobbyist for the league, told The Credit Union Journal.

Rock, who has spent much of the last year fighting off tax proposals, expressed confidence there will be no new tax initiatives during next month's 30-day legislative session, but said one might arise in the extended 60-day session in 2005. New Mexico credit unions were threatened earlier this year first with a proposal, later defeated, to impose a franchise (income) tax on the largest state charters; then with proposals by the governor's commission to tax certain credit union services or non-profits like the league or its charitable foundation.

Analysis: 43 Sales Of CU Card Portfolios To Date

PETERBOROUGH, N.H.-The sale of credit card portfolios has increased among credit unions this year, with 43 portfolio sales of portfolios larger than $1 million through the first three quarters, compared to just 41 for all of last year, according to Brookwood Capital, a broker of such deals. Among this year's seals, six held more than $10 million in outstanding balances, with the largest having $30 million. Through Sept. 30 there was a total of $268 million in card balances sold by credit unions, compared to $285 million for all of last year.

PSCUFS: Debit Cards Soaring

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-PSCU Financial Services said debit transaction volume is soaring during 2003 among its credit union members. The company said that new DebitAdvantage accounts are up by more than 20%, transaction activity has risen more than 22%, and the dollar volume represented by debit transactions is up by more than 26% over 2002. The company services more than four-million DebitAdvantage accounts on behalf of 185 credit unions. PSCUFS President David Serlo said the company expects to see growth continue, especially as more credit unions pursue the small business market through PSCUFS' integrated suite of small business products designed to service the small business target. Services include small business credit, merchant services and its recently released DebitAdvantage for Business.

Y-12 OK'd To Expand Charter

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.-Y-12 FCU said it has been approved by NCUA to convert to a community charter serving about 800,000 residents in eight surrounding counties The new field of membership will encompass Knox, Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Loudon, Roane, Sevier and Union counties. The $340-million credit union was chartered in 1950 and currently serves more than 100 select groups.

Wal-Mart: No To MasterCard

BENTONVILLE, Ark.-Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said last week it will no longer accept MasterCard for debit-card purchases that require a signature as of Feb. 1, because the transaction fees are too high. Customers will still be able to use MasterCard's PIN-based debit cards. Wal-Mart was the lead plaintiff on the merchants' antitrust suit which claimed that Visa and MasterCard unfairly control the market for signature-based debit transactions which resulted in the two credit card companies agreeing to pay $3 billion. As part of their settlements in the merchant class-action lawsuit, both Visa and MasterCard lowered their debit interchange rates by about one-third on Aug. 1, and both plan to continue those rates at least through January.

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