Though many banks have expanded their credit card marketing efforts this year, consumer response rates have been low and are likely to stay low for the foreseeable future, according to Fair Isaac Corp.

"We anticipate the pace will remain sluggish until we see improvement in the U.S. economy, especially in unemployment," Mark Greene, the Minneapolis analytics and credit scoring company's chief executive, told analysts during a July 28 conference call to discuss its fiscal third-quarter earnings.

Greene said banks are seeing low response rates to credit card solicitation offers, though he did not provide specific numbers. A Fair Isaac representative said the company has not seen any uptick in credit prescreening activity, which typically indicates issuers' success with their marketing.

Moody's Investors Service has predicted that the national unemployment rate will plateau at 10.1% and remain there through the end of the year. Many issuers began to increase card solicitation mailings in the first quarter; total mailings in the quarter reached 838 million pieces, up 83% from a year earlier and 47.1% higher than the fourth quarter, according to data released in June by Mintel Comperemedia.

Greene said he was cautious about growth opportunities in the U.S. for his company, which provides credit scoring services, "as high unemployment and depressed consumer sentiment dampen the outlook for consumer lending and thus the near-term growth prospects for scores."

Fair Isaac reported net income of $17.9 million for its third quarter, which ended June 30. That was down 1.1% from a year earlier. Revenue fell 0.4%, to $155.3 million.

Fair Isaac derived 78% of its revenue from North and South America, 16% from the Europe/Middle East/Africa region and 6% from the Asia-Pacific region. Recurring revenue from transactional and maintenance sources accounted for 75% of total revenue, compared with 79% in the previous quarter.

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