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J.C. Penney card processor owned by GECC
PLANO, Texas (1/22/08)--A credit card processor for J.C. Penney and other retailers whose customer information on a computer backup tape has been missing since October is owned by General Electric Capital Corp. (GECC)--the company that almost bought credit union mortgage/vehicle fleet management company PHH Corp. earlier this month. The backup tape with the personal information of about 650,000 customers of J.C. Penney and nearly 100 other unidentified retailers was discovered missing from a data storage warehouse run by Iron Mountain Inc. The tape was not checked out of the warehouse, said a spokesman for GE Money, the processor owned by GECC (Associated Press Jan. 18). The information could be compromised, although so far, no indication of theft or fraud has occurred, said GE Money. It took GE Money two months to reconstruct the information on the missing tape and identify consumers whose information was lost. The company has notified customers in batches since December and it expects to complete the notification this week. The notification letter, from GE Money President Brent P. Wallace, instructs customers to phone a call center set up to deal with the breach. GE Money said it will pay for 12 months of credit-monitoring for customers whose Social Security Numbers were on the tape. Wallace's letter said the information on the missing tape isn't enough to open a new account in the customer's name, but the company is monitoring the account for misuse. On Jan. 1, PHH Corp. announced it had terminated plans for its purchase by GECC and the Blackstone Group because Blackstone could not finance the deal (News Now Jan. 3). The agreement had planned for a wholly owned subsidiary of GECC to merge with and into PHH Corp. Then GECC was to sell the company's mortgage business to Pearl Mortgage Acquisition 2 LLC, a Blackstone affiliate. PHH Corp. purchased CUNA Mutual Mortgage in 2005.


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