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Bluebird singing sweeter financial song for Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

Who needs a bank? Walmart and American Express have added a host of capabilities to the Bluebird financial service product they introduced last year as an alternative to debit and checking accounts.

The program initially featured no minimum balance requirements or monthly service or overdraft fees. Bluebird Accounts will now be eligible for FDIC insurance and be able to receive direct deposit of government disbursements, such as social security payments, military pay, and tax refunds. Customers can also now balance their checkbook in real-time with pre-authorized check writing, add checks to their Bluebird Account by mail and load funds up to $100,000 annually.

"Since launching Bluebird, we have been listening to our customers’ feedback and working hard to expand its features and services," said Daniel Eckert, vp of financial services for Walmart U.S. "Bluebird is helping customers streamline everyday money management without the frustration of navigating complicated dos and don’ts just to avoid fees."

Eckert said the enhancements make Bluebird a great option for active duty military personnel, government employees and other customers helping them take greater control of their everyday finances.

"When we launched Bluebird last October, we were focused on serving the tens of millions of Americans who are not well served by the traditional financial services industry. The unbanked, underbanked, and the unhappily banked are beset by onerous fees and numerous inconveniences," said Dan Schulman, group president, Enterprise Growth at American Express. "Bluebird is designed to help make their everyday financial lives easier, more convenient and less expensive."

Bluebird’s new capabilities, built on American Express’ Serve platform, are in addition to existing features such as the ability to add checks via smartphones, family sub-accounts and no fee access to cash at 22,000 ATMs for Bluebird members who have enrolled in direct deposit.

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Kroger’s VP and pension investment officer announces retirement

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Tuesday announced the planned retirement of VP and pension investment officer, Rich Manka. His retirement is effective July 15.

"Throughout his career, Rich has been a trusted member of Kroger’s leadership team," stated Mike Schlotman, Kroger’s CFO. "Pension plan trustees and participants alike have benefited from his vast knowledge and influence on investment strategies and plan designs. We thank Rich for his contributions to our company and industry and wish him the very best."

Manka began his career with Dillon Companies in 1982 as an investment manager for retirement plans. He was promoted to his current position in 2004. He has served on Kroger’s Retirement Management Committee and is chair of the company’s Pension Investment Committee. In addition to serving as an adviser and trustee on various Taft-Hartley Pension Funds, Manka was appointed by President George Bush to serve on the advisory committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Kroger has not yet named Manka’s successor.

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Pepsi, Walmart offer free food to D.C. kids

BY CSA STAFF

Feed The Children, PepsiCo and Walmart partnered with Central Union Mission in Washington, D.C. this week to distribute two tractor-trailers full of food and essentials to help 800 area children and families in need.

PepsiCo, a longtime Feed The Children partner, donated Frito-Lay brand snacks, Quaker brand products and Pepsi brand beverages while Walmart, with the assistance of its suppliers, provided a loaf of bread and a five pound bag of apples and oranges to each of the 800 families.

Feed The Children partner agency Central Union Mission pre-identified families to receive the donations. Each family also received a 25-pound box of food, a 10-pound box of personal care items and AVON products. The boxes are designed to help support a family of four for up to one week. 

The distribution was part of Feed The Children’s Americans Feeding Americans Caravan, which has helped more than 445,000 families across the country since it began in 2009.

According to the group, nearly one in three children living in Washington, D.C. is considered impoverished.

"Many of the families we serve on the Americans Feeding Americans Caravan are making hard choices between paying bills and feeding their families," said Kevin Hagan , Feed The Children president and CEO. "With support from PepsiCo and Walmart we are helping to ease the burden for families struggling in this economy."

Feed The Children will also be providing families with information and resources to give them the opportunity to receive additional nutritional support in their local community through USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program.

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