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NEW YORK — CardPartner.com, a card issuer that specializes in small affinity groups, reported that the recent economic downturn has been good for business as small organizations consider issuing as a way to boost income in a down economy.The new firm has about 100 card-partner organizations now, according to a spokesman who could not say if any were credit unions.CardPartner.com drew some attention from credit unions earlier this year since it could theoretically be competing with some CUs by offering SEGs or sponsoring associations’ cards.Groups earn $50 for every new active account, plus a portion of the monthly charge volume. CardPartner.com said it is also paying a $150 bonus to any nonprofit that launches an affinity card program before the 2008 holidays.“People who support nonprofits will be charging millions on their credit cards this holiday season. If nonprofits make it easy for them to share some of that spending, they will. A CardPartner affinity credit card program is a win-win way for nonprofits to tap in to that holiday spending,” surmised CardPartner.com’s Doug Davis, senior director of marketing for the firm.CardPartner.com said more than 500,000 people with interests as diverse as human services, animal welfare, and the arts have turned to the company in the last nine months to launch affinity card programs to help fund their operations.Groups that have recently launched CardPartner.com affinity credit card programs include Breakthrough TV, The American Association of Grants Professionals, Munich American High School, The American Dance Guild, The Delaware Theatre Company, the Northwood Humane Society, CinemArts, The Bluegrass Railroad Museum, The Old Spanish Trail Association, and The Elizabeth City State University Foundation.“Nonprofits struggle with fundraising even in the good times,” says Walter Chalkley, executive director of CinemArts, a nonprofit that screens art films, foreign films, documentaries, and underscreened films in Frederick, Md. “In today’s environment, nonprofits need every tool they can get. CardPartner helps us tap in to our supporters’ spending power and promote our brand at the same time. I call that a no-brainer.”–[email protected]

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