Smart Cards USA

Smart card applications in the U.S. are unfolding at a rapid pace since the first of this year. StatCard Entertainment unveiled a smart card this morning that combines action sports and interactive online entertainment, enabling users to load scores and other information on the card. Meanwhile, Netsmart Technologies launched a smart card system to manage drug rehabilitation programs in California. Last week, AutoSmart launched a smart card to hold maintenance records for new cars. The new ‘Smart Trading Cards’ by StatCard Entertainment will be available at 702 Toys “R” Us stores by the end of February. The smart card chip transports users to an exclusive interactive entertainment Web site, which can be accessed only with the ‘Smart Trading Card’. The cards are connected to computers via a ‘StatCard Reader’. Cardholders can also display point accumulations on a key chain-sized ‘StatCard Mini-Reader’ that scans the data from their cards. (CF Library 1/18/02)

Details

SCHLUMBER 4Q/01

Schlumberger Limited reported 2001 operating revenue of $13.7 billion, an
increase of 43%
over
2000 including the second quarter acquisition of Sema plc.
Income of $819 million, excluding exceptional items, was 11% higher than last
year with diluted earnings per share of $1.41 representing an 11% improvement
on 2000 results.
Diluted earnings per share, excluding acquisition related costs and
exceptional
items, were $1.98 compared with $1.44 in 2000.

FOURTH QUARTER 2001 RESULTS

Fourth quarter operating revenue of $3.6 billion was 33% above fourth quarter
2000. Excluding exceptional items of $5 million, net income was $179 million.
Diluted earnings per share, excluding acquisition-related costs and
exceptional
items, were $0.49 compared with $0.46 for the same period last year and $0.51
for the third quarter 2001.

Oilfield Services revenue increased 21% versus the fourth quarter of 2000. In
contrast to the worldwide M-I rig count, which decreased 8% over the same
period, revenue excluding WesternGeco, increased 14%, and was down 2% compared
to the third quarter of 2001. This compares favorably to the sequential
quarterly average rig count drop of 13%.

SchlumbergerSema posted sequential revenue improvement of 10% to $953 million
for the quarter with pretax operating income growing 12% to $21 million.
During the quarter, Schlumberger completed the replacement of its main bank
facilities, including the Sema bridge facility. The program consisted of
issuing bonds in Europe for a total of $1.9 billion, with maturities ranging
from 7 to 31 years as well as securing long-term commercial paper backstop
facilities totaling $4.6 billion in the USA and Europe.

Chairman and CEO Euan Baird commented:

“2001 proved to be a milestone year for Schlumberger with Oilfield Services
revenue and net income achieving all-time record levels. Schlumberger Network
Solutions grew by 91% due mostly to E&P sector contracts, a clear sign that
the
industry is recognizing the importance of IT global connectivity and
information security solutions to enhance business processes and
decision-making capabilities. Today, Schlumberger is the only company able to
provide a complete range of technology services from the reservoir to the
desktop or mobile device anywhere in the world.

“The integration of Sema into Schlumberger progressed well largely due to the
cultural similarities of the two companies. As a result, we expect to surpass
the cost synergies that we set out to achieve and foresee the continued
improvement in SchlumbergerSema profitability during the coming year.
“The focus provided by the Sema acquisition allowed us to accelerate our
divestiture program. The $900 million of cash generated by the sale of
businesses put us on track to attain our objective of reducing our
debt/capitalization ratio to 30% by 2003.

“Our business in 2002 depends heavily on the timing and strength of the
economic recovery in North America. We are still expecting the recovery to
happen mid-year but the current world political situation is sufficiently
unstable to make any predictions risky.”

Details

DIEBOLD EXEC

Diebold, Incorporated named John M. Deignan, managing director of the
Diebold Company of Canada, Ltd. Based in Toronto, Deignan will be responsible
for all sales, service and support activity for the company’s operation. He
will report directly to David Bucci, senior vice president, Customer Solutions
Group of Diebold North America.

“John’s experience with diverse markets such as Australia and New Zealand
will be a valuable asset as we continue our growth in Canada,” Bucci said.
“His knowledge will help us move forward and enhance our strong global
presence.”

Deignan joined Diebold in 1991 as an account manager in Chicago. Most
recently, he held the position of managing director of Diebold Australia and
New Zealand. Deignan received a bachelor’s degree in business economics from
Marquette University in Milwaukee and a master’s degree in international
business from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Deignan a native of Monroe,
Wis., will be relocating to Toronto shortly.

Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self-
service delivery systems and services. Diebold employs more than 12,000
associates with representation in more than 80 countries worldwide and
headquarters in North Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of
$1.7 billion in 2000 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange
under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at
http://www.diebold.com .

Details

BIZSMART VISA

bizSmart’s business VISA card offers
entrepreneurs a low interest rate tied to CIBC prime with no annual fee.

Canadian small businesses can benefit from a rate as low as prime plus
1.5 per cent, according to Rob Paterson, president and CEO, bizSmart and
senior vice-president, CIBC small business banking.

“With CIBC’s prime rate at 3.75 per cent today, the interest rate for
bizSmart VISA cardholders is as low as 5.25 per cent,” says Paterson. “That
translates into huge savings for entrepreneurs who tend to use personal credit
cards for business expenses. They could shave off up to 12.75 per cent in
interest costs when they use our business VISA card compared to some personal
credit cards that carry rates of 18 per cent.”

The bizSmart Visa card offers one of the lowest costs of borrowing
available for small business and is specifically designed to meet the flexible
needs of small office/home office (SOHO) entrepreneurs. More than half of
bizSmart’s VISA customers benefit from rates of CIBC prime plus 2.5 per cent
to as low as prime plus 1.5 per cent. The credit card rate is determined by a
credit assessment of the applicant business and its owners.

SOHOs get the added advantage of being able to keep better records by
separating their business and personal affairs with the bizSmart business Visa
card. Credit can be approved within seconds of completing the application.

“We’ve created a total value package for SOHOs,” adds Paterson. “Every
entrepreneur who has our Visa card also benefits from preferred discounts and
offers from leading Canadian companies like STAPLES Business Depot, and gets
access to our Knowledge Centre with Canada’s largest online source of
entrepreneurial management information.”

The application process for the bizSmart VISA card is simple and quick
and can be done over the phone, via computer at
http://www.bizsmart.com, or at select
locations of STAPLES Business Depot in five provinces across Canada.

bizSmart

bizSmart, a unique offer of essential services designed to save Canadian
small business owners and entrepreneurs time and money, is provided by CIBC
along with STAPLES Business Depot and leading Canadian companies. bizSmart
services are accessible through the Internet at
http://www.bizsmart.com, by
telephone, at CIBC bank machines and at bizSmart Centres located in select
STAPLES Business Depot stores. bizSmart Financial Services are provided by
CIBC, one of North America’s leading financial institutions with more than
eight million personal banking and business customers.

Details

FDR Prog/Sys Exec

Electronic commerce and payments leader First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) today announced that its card issuing services subsidiary, First Data Resources, has selected David L. McCann, a 20-year veteran of the banking industry, as the company’s senior vice president of systems and programming.

In this role, McCann will oversee the information technology needs required to support First Data’s extensive transaction processing systems and products. He will report to Guy Battista, executive vice president of information technologies for First Data Corp.

“Under David’s leadership, First Data will continue to deliver state-of-the-art technology as our systems and processes evolve to enable new forms of electronic transactions, new ways of processing, and new demands for speed, innovation and differentiation that will position our clients for success,” said Eula L. Adams, senior executive vice president of First Data Corp. and the head of worldwide card operations.

McCann most recently served as senior vice president of wealth and commercial systems for USBancorp where he led the strategic integration of multiple technology functions into the company’s data centers, applications and back office operations. In addition, McCann was responsible for overseeing the bank’s transaction processing, credit initiation and control, and fraud processing systems as senior vice president of payment systems. Prior to USBancorp, McCann held various, increasingly responsible roles within Citicorp Diners Club.

About First Data

First Data Resources, the card issuing services subsidiary of First Data Corp., processes for nearly 300 million accounts on file around the world. For more than 30 years, First Data has offered products and services which enable clients to enhance their portfolio growth, increase market share, reduce risk and improve profitability. First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. Serving approximately 2.6 million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, smart card, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [www.firstdata.com][1].

[1]: http://www.firstdata.com

Details

INFINEON 4Q/01

Infineon Technologies AG, one of the world’s leading
semiconductor manufacturers, announced results for its first quarter of
fiscal year 2002 ended December 31, 2001, with revenues of Euro 1.03
billion, a
decrease of 5 percent from the previous quarter and a decrease of 38 percent
from the first quarter of fiscal year 2001. Revenues decreased primarily as a
result of a continued difficult market environment for the semiconductor
industry, in particular for wireline communications and chip card ICs.

However,
the quarter also saw first positive signs in demand for mobile communication
products and pricing for memory products as well as relatively stable
demand in
chips for automotive and industrial applications.

EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) amounted to a loss of Euro 564
million, an improvement upon a loss of Euro 882 million in the previous
quarter
but down from earnings of Euro 446 million in the first quarter of fiscal year
2001. Earnings were negatively affected by further price erosion, especially
for memory products through mid-November 2001 and increasing pricing pressure
for chip card ICs. The previous quarter’s loss included one-time charges of
Euro 307 million in connection with inventory write-downs, acquisition related
expenses, restructuring and impairment charges, as well as net gains from the
sale of non-core businesses.

Net loss amounted to Euro 331 million, a sequential improvement from a loss of
Euro 523 million in the previous quarter but down from net income of Euro 280
million year-on-year. Loss per share for the first quarter was Euro 0.48
compared with a loss per share of Euro 0.76 in the previous quarter and with
earnings per share of Euro 0.45 in the first quarter of the last fiscal year.
“Infineon’s revenue performance was driven by continued strong demand in
memory
products as well as a moderate recovery of demand in mobile communication.
However, these positive effects could not fully compensate the further
deterioration in demand for ICs used in traditional telecom infrastructure
products and reduced revenues in chip card ICs due to continuing weak demand
and ongoing inventory reductions by customers in this industry sector,” said
Dr. Ulrich Schumacher, President and CEO of Infineon Technologies AG. “Despite
this difficult market situation, with continued strong pricing pressure in
most
segments, we were able to maintain a solid net-cash position due to intensive
cash management and the further swift implementation of our comprehensive
“Impact” cost savings program.”

Infineon had a negative gross margin of 9 percent, improving from a negative
gross margin of 32 percent in the previous quarter, due to inventory
write-downs in the previous quarter and continued price pressure. Gross margin
was down from a positive gross margin of 40 percent year-on-year, reflecting
the price declines in most of Infineon’s business groups.

R&D expenditures in the first quarter totaled Euro 267 million or 26
percent of
total revenues, down from Euro 344 million or 32 percent of total revenues in
the previous quarter and up from Euro 257 million or 16 percent of total
revenues year-on-year. In absolute terms, R&D expenditures were down 22
percent
from the previous quarter of this year and up 4 percent year-on-year. The
previous quarter R&D expenditures included Euro 56 million of in-process
R&D in
connection with the acquisition of Catamaran Communications.

SG&A expenses in the first quarter totaled Euro 164 million or 16 percent of
total revenues, down from Euro 175 million (16 percent of total revenues) in
the previous quarter and down from Euro 187 million (11 percent of total
revenues) in the first quarter of last year. The decrease in SG&A expenses is
the result of the implementation of Infineon’s overall cost saving measures.
Revenues outside Europe constituted 49 percent of total revenues, almost
maintaining the same percentage of revenues from the previous quarter. As of
December 31, 2001, Infineon had approximately 30,700 employees worldwide, with
research and development staff accounting for approximately 5,300 of this
total.

Business Group Performance

Infineon’s Wireline Communications group’s revenues declined to Euro 83
million
in the first quarter, down 41 percent from the previous quarter and down 60
percent year-on-year. The revenue decline reflects the strong deterioration of
demand in the traditional telecom infrastructure business (ISDN and analog
linecards), particularly in Asia, as well as continued weakness in fiber
optics. EBIT amounted to a loss of Euro 85 million compared to a loss of Euro
138 million in the previous quarter and a positive EBIT of Euro 33 million
year-on-year. Fourth quarter EBIT also included charges of Euro 56 million in
connection with the completed acquisition of Catamaran Communications, and
impairment of technology assets acquired from Ardent Technologies of Euro 14
million.

Major developments in the first quarter include:

— continued strong interest in Infineon’s VDSL/10BaseS Ethernet
to-the-home-solution used in the broadband communication
market, particularly in China

— strengthened technology leadership in optical networking
market with advanced parallel fiber optical solutions
(Paroli2(TM)) and new applications for 10G Ethernet

Infineon’s Wireless Solutions group’s first quarter revenues increased to Euro
206 million, up 15 percent sequentially mainly reflecting a moderate increase
in demand for mobile handsets as well as increasing sales volume for Bluetooth
chipsets, but down 41 percent compared with first quarter of last year. EBIT
was a loss of Euro 35 million, improving from a loss of Euro 77 million in the
previous quarter but down from a positive EBIT of Euro 71 million
year-on-year.
The loss was mainly due to the very strong pricing pressure but improved
sequentially mainly due to the inventory write-downs in the previous
quarter as
well as increased revenues.

Major developments for the first quarter include:

— further design-ins with Infineon’s complete system solution
for GSM/GPRS at major customers

— cooperation agreement with electronics manufacturer Solectron
for Infineon’s GSM/GPRS reference designs, software and
chipsets

— common Bluetooth solution with Toshiba offered for consumer
products (e.g.: PCs, notebooks and printers)

— successful ramp-up of RF-Bluetooth solution at Nokia for GSM
mobile phones

In the Security & Chip Card ICs group first quarter revenues totaled Euro 82
million, a decline of 18 percent from the previous quarter and a decrease
of 47
percent year-on-year. The revenue decrease was driven mainly by lower sales
volumes for security controllers used in SIM cards for mobile phones and
ongoing inventory reductions at customers. EBIT amounted to a loss of Euro 30
million, increasing from a loss of Euro 2 million in the previous quarter and
down from a positive EBIT of Euro 29 million in the first quarter of fiscal
year 2001. The EBIT decline was mainly due to lower volumes and increasing
pricing pressure for security controllers.

Major developments in the first quarter include:

— strategic contract to supply security controllers for a chip
card based access card of the U.S. Department of Defense
(DoD); Infineon’s chip is a component of the only currently
available chip card that meets the stringent requirements
specified by DoD

— strategic development cooperation with Sony in the emerging
market for contactless security applications (e.g.: public
transport, recreational passes, etc.)

— receipt of the Sesames Award at Cartes 2001 exhibition for
best technological innovation for the first member of the new
88 family of 32-Bit security controllers

The Automotive & Industrial group’s first quarter revenues totaled Euro 274
million, down sequentially by 3 percent but up 4 percent from the first
quarter
of last year based on the continued strong performance of the group’s
automotive and industrial power business as well as increasing market share
for
power management and supply solutions. EBIT was Euro 20 million compared to
Euro 26 million in the previous quarter and Euro 31 million i_ the first
quarter of last year. The EBIT decline was mainly due to increased pricing
pressure in the automotive segment.

Major developments in the first quarter include:

— development contract signed with a leading German car supplier
for next generation powertrain and boosted interest of car
manufacturers in AUDO 32-bit TriCore(TM) microcontroller

— market introduction of first TriCore based 32-bit Infotainment
controller

— strategic design-win for innovative smart ignition IGBT with
leading car manufacturer

The Memory Products group’s first quarter revenues reached Euro 285
million, an
increase of 18 percent sequentially based on continued strong demand for
memory
products but a decrease of 43 percent from the first quarter of last year.
EBIT
amounted to a loss of Euro 371 million, improving from a loss of Euro 522
million in the previous quarter, which included the effect of inventory
write-downs, but down from a positive EBIT of Euro 66 million in the first
quarter of fiscal year 2001. The first quarter EBIT was positively affected by
significant improvement of DRAM prices since mid-November 2001.

Major developments for the first quarter include:

— qualification and start of ramp-up of 0.14 micron technology
for mainstream products (256Mbit SDRAM) in all 200mm fabs

— customer samples shipped for 512Mbit SDRAM in 0.14 micron
technology

— ramp-up of the world’s first 300mm fab for mass production
successfully started

— first supplier to be validated by Intel for the 845 Brookdale
SDRAM chipset for Pentium 4 with 256MB and 512MB PC 133 CL2
modules

In the Other Operating Segments, first quarter revenues were Euro 94 million,
down 27 percent sequentially and 40 percent year-on-year. EBIT totaled Euro 16
million, including a gain of Euro 32 million on the sale of the infrared
components business. The quarterly EBIT was down from Euro 211 million in the
first quarter of fiscal year 2001, which included the gain of Euro 202 million
on the sale of the image & video business.

Outlook for 2002

The market outlook in the next six months still remains uncertain and will be
impacted by the extent and length of the slowdown of the world economy,
particularly in Europe and the United States. However, there are first
positive
signs of increasing demand in certain segments but as yet no clear signals for
a sustainable overall market recovery. Infineon expects a continuation of the
competitive market environment with strong pricing pressure in most of the
company’s business groups during the coming months.

Aggressive pricing behavior by leading DRAM manufacturers in 2001 has led to a
consolidation process in the market for memory products. However, towards the
end of the first quarter, Infineon experienced a reversal of the negative
trend
in DRAM pricing. The lowest average selling prices were recorded in November
2001. Since then the prices for memory products have recovered significantly
but still remain below fully loaded costs. With increasing bit-demand having
started in the last quarter Infineon expects a further normalization of
inventory levels and increasing prices. Necessary prerequisites for any
midterm
improvement of prices are further consolidation among DRAM producers or
improved customer demand within the PC and infrastructure segments.
Following the weakness of the mobile handsets market in 2001, Infineon is
seeing the first signs of a moderate recovery in demand for mobile phones
supported by the introduction of the next GSM/GPRS generation for mobile
phones
in the first half of 2002 as well as a stronger replacement business. The
company also expects increasing revenues as products for the Bluetooth market
gain greater acceptance.

Infineon’s Security & Chip Card IC business expects a moderately increasing
demand based on the recovery of the mobile handset market, stronger demand for
advanced security solutions, and stabilizing inventory levels at customers.
However, in the long term Infineon believes that the markets for contactless
security applications and biometric solutions will have significant growth
potential.

Reduced investments in the market for telecom infrastructure will continue to
negatively impact Infineon’s Wireline Communications business during the first
half of 2002. Due to the ongoing economic slowdown, Infineon’s Automotive &
Industrial business expects slower growth in demand combined with stronger
pricing pressure in the automobile market, particularly in Germany and
elsewhere in Europe.

At the beginning of January 2002, Infineon placed Euro 1 billion in
convertible
bonds with institutional investors in Europe. This placement will further
strengthen the company’s current cash position. It was decided to issue the
bonds at this time in order to take advantage of low interest rates and the
favorable current conditions in the European convertibles market. When the
transaction is completed in February 2002 with the listing of the bonds on the
Luxembourg Stock Exchange, the proceeds are intended to support the long-term
strategy of Infineon.

“With the effective implementation of our “Impact” cost savings and
restructuring program in shortest time which will generate cash effective
savings of more than Euro 1,5 billion in fiscal year 2002, we have secured our
liquidity and maintained our financial flexibility during the current
downturn.
We believe that we have seen the worst of the most dramatic downturn in the
semiconductor industry. After the first encouraging signs of increasing
demand,
we are hoping for a stronger market recovery,” concluded Dr. Schumacher.

Details

BILLY-WEB-CARD

Billy Web Corp and iBank
announce the signature of a bartering agreement with TF1, European television
network leader, for marketing operations on TV related to BillyWebCard. In
December 2001, a game with cumulated prizes of a value exceeding 3.5 million
French Francs, broadcast everyday at 11.15 am and noon, will present
BillywebCard and introduce the product to massive audiences.

Consequently, on the 10th of January 2002, Billy Web Corp, iBank, and Covefi
Bank celebrated the reception of the first 10,000 signed and valid
BillyWebCard accounts forms. The physical opening of those accounts should
be completed by the end of January. According to those excellent results, the
first marketing operations held in December will be extended to other
distribution networks as well. Billy Web Corp and iBank are computing revised
increased sales forecast for 2002.

BillyWebCard is an innovative financial product for children, that
cumulates
the advantages of a very attractive savings account (4.75 to 5.25% interest
rates granted according to age groups), an instant debit card with vocal
recognition system, and diverse services offered to children through an
audiotel platform, accessible through a 800 number, 24 hours a day.

Covefi Bank is the first French Direct Bank, with more than 200,000 operating
accounts. Ibank is the financial service integrator for BillyWebCard(c),
controlling the audiotel services. A contract was signed between BillyWeb,
ibank and Covefi on the 23rd of April 2001 to develop BillyWebCard(c).

Details

First American EVP

First American Payment Systems, L.P., one of the fastest growing merchant credit card processing acquirers in the U.S., is pleased to announce that James L. Plappert has joined the company as Executive Vice President.

Plappert brings 19 years of industry experience to First American as he joins the executive management team. Plappert will play an important role in the development of new business strategies and will head the efforts at First American to actively pursue a strategy of mergers and acquisitions within the bankcard industry.

Prior to joining First American Payments Systems, Plappert held the position of Vice Chairman of the Board at 1st National Processing in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plappert served as Senior Vice President of Indirect Sales for National Processing Company (NYSE:NAP). Plappert was also the Senior Vice President of Financial Alliance Processing Services, Inc., one of the nation’s premier processors for merchant sales organizations, which was ultimately acquired by NPC. Before Financial Alliance, Plappert worked with PNC/Citizens Fidelity Bank for nine years as the Vice President of National Merchant and Financial Institution Sales.

In addition to his extensive career, Plappert is also the current President of the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the nation’s leading merchant sales and acquiring association. He has served a total of nine years on the ETA’s board as Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Director. Plappert also serves on the ETA’s Industry Relations and Executive committees.

Neil L. Randel, President and Chief Executive Officer of First American Payment Systems, said “I have known Jim for 10 years. He is a recognized leader in our industry and a true professional. He brings a great wealth of knowledge of the merchant acquiring business to our company. I am truly excited about working with Jim as he joins our executive management team.”

Plappert said, “In the years I’ve know Neil, I can say he epitomizes quality, character and integrity, and those attributes echo throughout the First American organization. I’m excited about the opportunity to help First American grow especially through mergers and acquisitions. I can confidently say that organizations wishing to conduct such transactions will now have a true partner.”

About First American

First American Payment Systems, L.P. provides full-service electronic credit card authorization and payment systems to retail, restaurant, mail order, telephone order, Internet and home-based merchants throughout the United States. First American’s divisions include national ATM deployment, Secur-Chex(TM) check guarantee, FirstPay.Net(TM) e-commerce payment gateway, and Merimac Capital point-of-sale equipment and ATM leasing. The company also offers electronic gift certificates and electronic check conversion. First American provides services for more than 25,000 merchants and operates 280 ATMs nationally. For more information on First American Payment Systems, visit the company’s website at [www.first-american.net][1].

[1]: http://www.first-american.net/

Details

Fred Meyer Credit Card

Citi Commerce Solutions, a division of Citibank Cards, announced that it has signed an agreement with Fred Meyer Jewelers, the nation’s fourth largest fine jewelry store chain, to manage the retailer’s private-label credit card program.

In addition to managing the program for the 436-store chain, Citi Commerce Solutions will provide a broad range of credit services, including credit decisions, funding, payment processing, billing and customer service. “Fred Meyer Jewelers is a tremendously successful retailer, with a strong presence from coast-to-coast,” said Bill Johnson, President, Citi Commerce Solutions. “We look forward to working with this outstanding company to grow their private-label credit card business and support their overall growth objectives.”

“This is an alliance between two leaders in their respective industries: Fred Meyer in retail jewelry and Citi Commerce Solutions in private-label credit services,” said Ed Dayoob, President, Fred Meyer Jewelers. “With their extensive experience in the private-label business, Citi Commerce Solutions was an easy choice to manage our card program.”

The Fred Meyer Jewelers credit program will offer cardholders numerous benefits, including periodic special financing offers, a personal shopping service, access to exclusive cardholder saving events and free jewelry cleaning and inspections.

About Citi Commerce Solutions

Citi Commerce Solutions, a division of Citibank Cards, is a leading provider of consumer and commercial private label credit programs, and commercial account management services. Citi Commerce Solutions’ clients include some of the largest, most successful merchants in the world, including Amazon.com, RadioShack, Staples, Texaco, Goodyear, Shell, Gateway, Office Depot, BP Amoco, Dell Computer, Zale, Citgo and OfficeMax.

About Citibank

Citibank is part of Citigroup (NYSE: C), the preeminent global financial services company with some 190 million customer accounts in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage, and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup’s trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and Travelers. Additional information may be found at: [www.citigroup.com][1].

About Fred Meyer Jewelers

Fred Meyer Jewelers, a division of The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), operates approximately 436 retail jewelry stores throughout the United States under the names Fred Meyer Jewelers, Littman Jewelers and Barclay Jewelers. Stores include both stand-alone units in malls and locations inside the multi-department Fred Meyer stores, another division of Kroger.

[1]: http://www.citigroup.com/

Details

First Annapolis Promotions

First Annapolis is pleased to announce the promotions of four professionals. Robert Lime and Frank Martien have been promoted to Principal and Ray Chinn has been promoted to Senior Consultant. In addition, Jill Stierli has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer.

Robert Lime focuses on the firm?s Retail Services practice area where he advises retailers and third party providers of retail financing programs on a full range of customer financing and payment strategies. Mr. Lime?s retail clients include leading retailers in the specialty apparel, home furnishings, home improvement, electronics, and department store sectors. Mr. Lime received his M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he graduated with Distinction.

Frank Martien focuses on the firm?s Card Issuing practice area. Mr. Martien specializes in mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnership formation such as agent banking and co-branding relationships, market research and benchmarking, and outsourcing evaluation and negotiation. Mr. Martien?s clients include banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, transaction processors, and co-branding partners. Mr.Martien received his M.B.A. from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia where he specialized in finance, marketing and accounting and received the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence for graduating in the top ten percent of his class.

Ray Chinn focuses on the firm?s Card Issuing and Electronic Banking practice areas. Mr.Chinn advises a broad array of bank and non-bank financial services providers in the areas of card strategy development, partnership formation, and product development. Mr. Chinn received both his MBA with a concentration in marketing and BBA in management and law from Loyola College.

Jill Stierli has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Since joining First Annapolis in 1998, Ms.Stierli has played a key role in developing and leading the firm?s financial management function. Ms. Stierli is also responsible for the company?s information technology group and all other support staff functions. Ms. Stierli received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Bill Westervelt, Managing Partner of First Annapolis, commented on the promotions. ?We are delighted to announce these promotions which highlight the talent and accomplishments of each individual. These promotions reflect the value and confidence that our clients place in these professionals.?

First Annapolis is a management consulting and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory firm with a primary focus on the financial services industry. The firm?s clients include leading domestic and international companies in the financial services, retail, technology, and consumer goods industries. First Annapolis also serves government agencies, trade associations, and affinity groups.

Details

Ingenico & FDC Terminal Deal

Ingenico Corp., the North American subsidiary of Ingenico S.A., and First Data Corp announced that they have reached a multi-year agreement to develop and supply the next generation in Electronic Funds Transfer/Point of Sale terminals. The relationship brings together two worldwide leaders in payment services and technology. First Data is a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Ingenico is a worldwide leader in EFT POS terminal shipments and secure transaction technology. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The first-of-a-kind EFT POS terminal will incorporate both present and future requirements for First Data subsidiaries that provide transaction services at the point-of-sale, including Western Union and First Data Merchant Services. The feature-rich device will be smart-card and signature-capture enabled, and will be capable of accepting virtually all forms of payment. It also will support future payment developments. This new technology will allow First Data to consolidate point-of-sale services, reducing merchant costs, hardware requirements and training time while also freeing valuable retail counter space.

The single, easy-to-use interface will support a wide range of First Data(R) products and services, facilitating enterprise-wide agreements with clients. Such agreements have the potential to reduce overall costs for both First Data and its clients and could potentially increase customer traffic at merchant locations.

Michael Yerington, president, Western Union North America stated, “Our relationship with Ingenico creates the solid base of technological and industry expertise we need to make this project a success. The resulting terminal will address the needs of First Data subsidiaries, enabling us to improve payment and service delivery efficiency while greatly improving our ability to cross-sell services, resulting in stronger brand identity and increased profitability. This device will be a powerful addition to an already robust product line.”

Jean Jacques Poutrel, chairman of Ingenico Corp. and chairman and chief executive officer of Ingenico S.A. stated, “Our agreement with First Data is an acknowledgment of Ingenico’s global leadership in payment terminal technology and clearly demonstrates Ingenico’s total commitment to the North American market.”

About First Data Corp.

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First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 2.6 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With 28,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit, smart card and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union(R) money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 117,000 locations in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdata.com][1].

About Ingenico

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Ingenico S.A. is a leading provider of smart card secured transaction products and systems with subsidiaries and partnerships all over the world and customers in over 70 countries and territories. It’s subsidiary Ingenico Corp. provides hardware, software and services to the ever-expanding transaction needs of the North American marketplace, which demands quality and requires flexible and robust payment solutions. Our solutions include the Elite(TM) terminal family, which is built upon the Unicapt(TM) architecture for optimum application portability and secure multi-application acceptance, and was the first to be EMVco approved. See [http://www.ingenico-us.com][2] for more information.

[1]: http://www.firstdata.com/
[2]: http://www.ingenico-us.com/

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Arkansas Rates

Pine Bluff, Arkansas-based Simmons First National Bank says it expects earnings for this year to be positively impacted by the lifting of the Arkansas usury law. Arkansas interest rates are tied to the discount rate and have dropped 475 basis points since last December. The usury law was eliminated in October by the confirmation of the ‘Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’ by the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. The Federal legislation overrides the Arkansas usury law. As a result the decision, Simmons jacked up interest rates in November for its VISA and MasterCard products from 7.00% to 8.95%. Simmons also added a 12.95% punitive interest rate for purchases and cash advances, as well as a 16.95% penalty APR for cash advances. For the fourth quarter Simmons reported receivables of $192,702,825 and active accounts of 112,573 according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 11/8/00)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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