First Data offers some suggestions for financial institutions to survive the current economic crisis, while maintaining the long-term success of your business. Industry experts indentified three tenets to help you weather this storm. We provided thoughts on how we can help you cope.

Forbes.com (12/1/08) says mortgage foreclosures, which topped 2 million in 2008, could near 3 million in 2009. Credit card charge-offs are headed for historic highs. Moody’s Investors Service has predicted charge-offs as high as 8.5 percent by the end of 2009, compared to averages of about 5.5 percent since 1994. Michael Niemira, chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers, predicts 148,000 stores will shut down in 2008 and as many as 73,000 retail locations will close in the first half of 2009—the most since 151,000 stores closed in the recession of 2001. The majority of analysts are saying the economic environment won’t change anytime soon, with consumer confidence at an all-time low (source: Conference Board) and unemployment at a 15-year high (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

While there aren’t many indications the desolate predictions are off base, there are some positives. In general, analysts don’t see a full-scale depression occurring and some even think the economy could start improving as early as the end of the second quarter of 2009.