Metris & OCC

Metris Companies and Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank confirmed Wednesday they have entered into an operating agreement with the OCC covering liquidity and capital maintenance provisions for the bank. Therefore, Direct Merchants existing formal agreement with the OCC, signed in April 2002, has been terminated. Metris also said yesterday it obtained an $850 million credit line from its bank groups.

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Bankruptcy Bill

It’s deja vu all over again as the U.S. House of Representatives passed bankruptcy reform legislation for the seventh time. In a vote of 315-113 the House passed H.R. 975 late Wednesday. The House also agreed to three significant amendments including an amendment to increase the look-back period on fraudulent transfers from one to two years. The other two amendments included one which requires courts to reinstate health benefits to employees that were changed by a corporate debtor within 180 days of filing. The third amendment will permit rescinding of certain corporate retention bonuses. The House defeated an amendment which sought to change the means test, based on IRS standards, to one based on the debtor’s actual expenses and income. The defeated amendment also included language relating to debts associated with abortion clinic protests. Several other amendments were also defeated. Republicans blocked six Democratic amendments from being offered by the Rules Committee, including one proposal to cap the exemption on home equity at $125,000. A total of 90 Democrats voted for H.R. 975. The bill now goes to the Senate, however, there is no indication it will be able to gather the necessary 60 votes to take a vote.

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MasterCard & Citigroup

MasterCard International announced this morning that the president of Citigroup and chairman/CEO of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group will become vice chairman of its Board of Directors. Robert Willumstad succeeds Baldomero Falcones Jaquotot, chairman of Santander Central Hispano, who was elected chairman of the MasterCard Board at today’s meeting in Madrid. Willumstad has been a member of the board since 1999. Willumstad was named president of Citigroup in January 2002 and chairman and CEO of the Global Consumer Group in December 2000. He leads all of Citigroup’s global consumer businesses including Credit Cards, Consumer Finance, and Retail Banking.

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ACTIVCARD BOARD

ActivCard has named a former NSA deputy director to its board. William Crowell, who also previously served President/CEO of Cylink, will join the Board of Directors immediately. ActivCard currently supplies “IDentity Management” software solutions,
including its “ActivCard Gold” and “Trinity” products, to the U.S. federal
government and government agencies around the world, as well as to enterprise
businesses, health care organizations and financial institutions. In
addition, ActivCard recently reincorporated its publicly listed corporate
parent entity as a U.S. company after years of development on the “Common
Access Card” program with the U.S. Department of Defense.

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GILLES LEROUX SALE

The assets of French card manufacturer Gilles Leroux S.A. have been officially acquired by Datacard Group. Datacard was awarded the right to purchase the Gilles Leroux assets in June 2002 by the Commercial Court of Orleans, France, which was overseeing Gilles Leroux since the company’s bankruptcy filing last year. The Gilles Leroux product line includes the “MPR” smart card issuance system and the “Combi” smart card production system.

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SAMA & BLM

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the central bank of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has chosen London-based Baltimore Technologies to provide a comprehensive security solution to enable online trusted transactions for the network of Saudi Arabia-based banks. The contract is worth US$2.8 million. Baltimore “UniCERT”, the company’s flagship PKI product, will underpin the online payments systems within the banking sector to assure the integrity and authenticity of all transactions. In addition, Baltimore’s PKI technology will be used to create the “Root Certificate Authority” for the financial services industry within the Kingdom. Baltimore has partnered with Mohammed M. Al Rumaih Co. in Saudi Arabia who will provide local support and services.

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Providian Human Resources Chief

Providian Financial Corporation announced the appointment of Richard Leweke as Vice Chairman and Chief Human Resources Officer. Mr. Leweke was previously with California Federal Bank, where he served as Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services and was part of the management team that developed and executed the bank’s successful growth strategy.

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