Discover Financial 2Q net income falls, revenue up
News from San Francisco Chronicle:

(06-19) 14:12 PDT LOS ANGELES, (AP) —

Despite concerns about the economy, Discover’s customers are using their cards more often and paying their bills on time at record rates.

The company’s profit fell 10 percent in its March-May quarter, as the credit card issuer freed up less money from reserves set aside to cover customers’ unpaid bills than a year earlier as its loans increased.

But credit conditions are improving. Late payment rates and customers’ loan defaults dropped sharply, reaching historic lows. Discover’s management expects that charge-offs, or loans written off as unpaid, will modestly increase over the next 12 months as the company widens its pool of borrowers.

The economic shakeout of the last few years has left credit cards in the hands of more affluent consumers who are better able to pay their bills in full each month, while those with lower credit scores and presumably less ability to pay are now less likely to use credit. Tighter underwriting standards also have pushed loss rates lower.

Discover Financial Services said sales volume on its namesake cards rose 5 percent during the March-to-May period to $ 26.1 billion, reflecting more card use by customers, as total retail sales rose 5.7 percent in the same period according to government figures. Credit card balances also grew nearly 4 percent to…………… continues on San Francisco Chronicle

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Texas jury convicts Calif. man in credit card scam
News from San Jose Mercury News:

FORT WORTH, Texas — A California man was convicted in Texas for participating in a multistate theft ring that planted illegal devices at gas stations, enabling the group to steal 38,000 debit and credit card numbers and then siphon $ 100,000 from bank accounts.

Aleksandr Goukasian, 52, of Los Angeles, faces up to life in prison when he’s sentenced at a later date. He was convicted Friday of four counts of unlawful possession of an electronic intercept device and one count each of unlawful use of electronic communications, engaging in organized criminal activity and fraudulently possessing or using identifying information.

Prosecutors in Fort Worth showed evidence that Goukasian’s theft ring planted skimmers — homemade electronic devices that intercept credit card information — inside gas pumps in Mojave, Las Vegas, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston over a few months in 2010. Goukasian recoded gift cards with those numbers and used the gift cards to withdraw money at ATMs from hundreds of customers’ accounts, prosecutors said.

After Goukasian was arrested in a Fort Worth suburb, 13 skimmers with the same unique markings were discovered throughout North Texas.

His trial started June 12 but was delayed Tuesday when Goukasian did not show up for court. Officials found him nearly unconscious in his home, and he w…………… continues on San Jose Mercury News

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