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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Large card issuing banks sent 12% fewer mass mail credit card offers in 2003 than in 2002, according to Synovate, a firm that tracks some card trends. The company’s survey showed that 4.29 billion credit card offers were received by US households during 2003 down from 4.89 billion in 2002, while consumer response remained low at just 0.6%. The year-on-year drop follows a record 5.01 billion offers set for mail volume in 2001. On average each month 69% of U.S. households received 4.8 offers during 2003 compared to 75% of households receiving 5.1 offers during 2002. “During 2003, typical seasonal mailing patterns went out of the window,” said Andrew Davidson, Vice President of Competitive Tracking Services for Synovate’s Financial Services Practice. “Ninety percent of credit card direct mail comes from the 10 largest card issuers and in 2003 half of those issuers cut back causing the overall decline in mail volume.” Davidson blamed the prevailing economic trends for the downturn. “Card issuers have reacted to this environment by mailing fewer low introductory rate offers and decreasing the frequency of mailings to lower income households,” said Davidson.

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