First USA Leads Mail Pack Again

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It was Christmas in July for First USA Bank, Wilmington, DE, since this was the second month in a row that mail tracker American MailBox Monitor (AMBM), Santa Rosa, CA, said the bank was the top U.S. mailer.

Of the 2,224 Standard-A and First-Class mailings tracked by AMBM in July, First USA came in No. 1 with 70 different mailings tracked. It was followed by American Express Co., New York, 48; MBNA Bank, Wilmington, DE, 41; Citicorp, New York, and Capital One Financial Corp., Falls Church, VA, tied with 36; and MCI, Washington, DC, 33.

However, it's not that unusual: First USA was the leader for two years, said Sallie May, a spokeswoman for AMBM.

"First USA tends to rank very high generally, as do the other banks," she said, "and that's because these are the larger banks and they have a tendency to mail more than other smaller-sized banks or companies."

As they did in June, credit card issuers ranked second overall in terms of the number of mailings sent in July, but they were one of nine sectors that actually decreased the number of mailings sent for the month. For example, while the category sent 452 mailings in July, up from 347 in May, it sent only 423 mailings in July.

Other sectors that posted decreases were banks, books/magazines, computers, food/drink, insurance, investment and retail. The reason for these decreases, according to May, is purely seasonal.

"These are all categories that slow down in the summer months," she said, "but our numbers for August have just come in, and we are already noticing that these categories have picked up greatly as the fall mailing season starts."

Sectors that felt increases from June to July, however, were health/drugs, to 89 from 72; mortgages, to 262 from 238; music/videos, to 66 from 56 and utilities to 213 from 188.

Other findings:

* 78 percent of all mail in July was sent via bulk rate, which is a slightly higher proportion than in June, when it was 75 percent. The next most popular mailing method used was presorted First Class, 16 percent; nonprofit, 3 percent; and postage paid, 1 percent.

* 64 percent of the mail sent out in July was prospect mail, vs. 63 percent in June. The rest was either creative (33 percent) and second-notice or follow-up mailings (3 percent).

AMBM receives direct mailings from a representative panel of 1,500 U.S. consumers and businesses every month.

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