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SAN FRANCISCO — For many in the credit union industry, particularly if they worked with electronic payments generally and cards in particular, 2006 may go down in memory as the year card security really arrived as an issue that overhung the whole industry. In many ways the year began much as 2005 ended. Large data security breaches, such as the one at Cardsystems or major retailers continued to occur. Fraud alert messages continued to flow from Visa and MasterCard. Credit unions remained faced with the inconvenient and expensive decision of whether to close accounts and reissue accounts, which may have been compromised in the breaches, or not.

But 2006 also brought ripples in the issue as well. Awakening to the problem with the public and their issuers, the major card brands announced initiatives designed to bring more of the major retailers into compliance with the security protocols the retailers had flaunted. Also, CUNA Mutual Group, the insurer for the majority of CU card programs, announced that its losses in cards had grown unacceptable and that CUs had to make security their highest card priority or face the prospect of possibly not having any card insurance going forward.

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