Fed Issues Report on College Credit Card Agreements
November 3, 2010
Banks paid more than $83 million to colleges, universities, alumni associations, and other organizations pursuant to college credit card agreements, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed). Under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (Credit CARD) Act of 2009, card issuers are required to report on such agreements annually to the Fed, which is required to submit an annual report to Congress.
A "college credit card agreement" is defined as "any business, marketing, or promotional agreement between a card issuer and an institution of higher education or an affiliated organization in connection with which college student credit cards are issued to college students currently enrolled at that institution." Additional guidance from the Fed clarifies that an affinity card agreement is covered even if the cards are primarily marketed to alumni or other nonstudents, if the cards could also be issued to students. Thus, when the report tallies the number of accounts opened under these agreements-53,164 in 2009, and more than 2 million opened over the life of those agreements that are still active-it is impossible to tell how many were opened by students.
Only 44 percent of the college credit card agreements were between card issuers and institutions of higher education. One third was with alumni associations, and the remainder involved foundations, other organizations, or more than one entity. On the other side, FIA Card Services, N.A., a subsidiary of Bank of America, with 92 percent of the reported agreements, is by far the biggest player.The report details, by institution or organization, the card issuer, payments made in 2009, accounts opened in 2009, and total accounts open pursuant to the agreement as of December 31, 2009. Issuers were also required to submit copies of agreements, which are now available in a searchable database on the Fed web site. Colleges and universities were required to make any such agreements publicly available last February under a different provision of the Credit CARD Act. That provision did not, however, apply to separate alumni associations or other organizations.
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