PayPal Linkage

PayPal has linked up with American Express and Discover to offer users more payment options. The company, which is gearing up for an IPO, also announced a new board member. PayPal users will now have the opportunity to earn ‘Membership Rewards’ points while using an AmEx card in conjunction with the P2P email payment service. PayPal users will also have the option of earning ‘Cashback Bonus Awards’ when using the Discover card with PayPal. The company further announced that John Dean, Chairman of Silicon Valley Bancshares and Silicon Valley Bank, has joined the company’s Board of Directors. PayPal members send more than $10 million per day in approximately 200,000 daily transactions. PayPal has a 90% market share of the P2P payment market. To-date PayPal has racked up more than $230 million in losses since it was launched in early 1999. It expects to raise about $80 million in the upcoming IPO. (CF Library 10/01/01; 12/11/01)

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Providian RIF

Providian announced this morning it will cut another 800 jobs by the end of next week. When the action is complete, Providian will have reduced its workforce by approximately 11% since announcing its five-point rebuilding plan in October. In mid November, Providian announced the elimination of 550 positions in connection with the closure of its Henderson, Nevada facility. Providian currently employs approximately 12,500 employees. The Company also noted that additional personnel reductions are possible, potentially including the transfer of certain U.S. and international employees to new employers in connection with the sale of assets or businesses. Providian expects to take a first quarter charge of approximately $10-$15 million in connection with the January personnel reductions. The Company previously announced it would take a $12 million charge in the fourth quarter in connection with the closure of its Henderson, Nevada facility. Following its 3Q/01 earnings report, Providian announced it will explore the possible sale of approximately $3 billion in high-risk assets and seek commitments from its investment advisors to establish a structure for securitizing approximately $900 million in credit card assets. The company also hired Joseph Saunders, formerly of Fleet and Household, as CEO, replacing Shailesh Mehta, who stepped down in October. (CF Library 10/22/01; 11/15/01; 11/26/01)

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NANOPIERCE/OPTO DEAL

NanoPierce Card Technologies
GmbH, a subsidiary of NanoPierce Technologies, Inc., announced the signing
of a
letter of intent with the Taiwan-based Opto
Tech Corporation, one of the leading suppliers of LED semiconductors
worldwide.

“This agreement represents a significant milestone in NanoPierce’s sales and
marketing plan, as well as our product development process. Our new
cooperative
partner, Opto Tech, holds an extremely strong position in the field of wafer
production for light-emitting diodes. In addition to producing and
selling LED dies, Opto Tech produces and sells finished optoelectronic
products
itself,” explains Dr. Michael E. Wernle, President and Chief Executive Officer
of NanoPierce Card Technologies, GmbH.

“Initial samples have already been treated with the proprietary NanoPierce
Connection System and successfully tested in the application
laboratory at NanoPierce Card Technologies in Munich. Under the terms of the
letter of intent signed today, NCS will be jointly developed for commercial
optoelectronic, LED, applications. Additionally, under the agreement terms
Opto
Tech will provide its LEDs, connection performance specifications and testing
of NCS,” says Dr. Wernle. “Opto Tech also agrees to share with NanoPierce its
invaluable test results. This is the optimum approach for the development of
NCS for existing commercial optoelectronic, LED applications.”

Paul H. Metzinger, President & Chief Executive Officer of NanoPierce
Technologies, Inc., of Denver, Colorado, is quoted: “We have identified and
publicly announced our principal targeted markets for NCS and one of the
biggest is in the LED semiconductor market. Consistent with our ‘Top Five’
marketing plan — where we focus our efforts at arrangements with one of the
top five companies in a given market — we are very pleased to have an
agreement with Opto Tech, clearly, if not the largest LED semiconductor
manufacturer in the world, one of the largest.” Mr. Metzinger noted: “The
future of LEDs includes the potential replacement of standard incandescent and
fluorescent light bulbs. Strategically this falls in line with the recent
opening of our sales representative office in Taiwan, allowing NanoPierce
access to the enormous Asian electronics market which currently has a
volume of
$218 billion, not including Japan.”

“We recognize the NanoPierce Connection System as a potential break-through
technology in the problematic area of LED connections,” commented Mr.
Hung-Tung
Wang, Vice President of Opto Tech’s System and Product Division. “Our Business
Unit is working with full-color LED display systems and LED traffic signals,
but the possibilities for further applications are virtually endless.”

About Opto Tech Corporation

Opto Tech Corporation’s extensive experience gained during recent years as
well
as progressive technological developments have resulted in state-of-the-art
production processes that ensure top-quality products and fast, reliable
delivery. Among its optoelectronic system products, the large LED Movie
Display
has been used successfully in a wide range of applications, including
exhibition halls, airports, train and bus stations, garnering praise from the
high-tech industrial community. Opto Tech has made a long-term commitment to
research and develop new product technologies, improve production processes,
and to continuously pursue higher quality and increased productivity. Opto
Tech
has 800 employees, over half of whom hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Since its founding in December 1983 at the Hsinchu Science-Based Industrial
Park in Taiwan, the strong growth of Opto Tech has been fueled by its
continuous output of high-quality products. Both its capital and its sales
revenues have increased steadily since the company’s inception. In particular,
marked growth took place after Opto Tech was listed on the Taiwan stock
exchange in May 1995. Currently, its capital is at a level of 3.3 billion NT
dollars with sales revenue approaching 5 billion NT dollars.

About Nanopierce Card Technologies, GmbH

Nanopierce Card Technologies GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of NanoPierce
Technologies, Inc., of Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., which is traded on the Nasdaq
stock market (OTCBB:NPCT) as well as in Frankfurt and Hamburg (OTC:NPI). In
addition to the 12 patents it owns, NanoPierce has numerous applications
pending, others in preparation, and various other intellectual properties
related to NanoPierce’s proprietary NCS(TM) (NanoPierce Connection System).
This advanced system is designed to provide significant improvement over
conventional electrical and mechanical interconnection methods for
high-density
circuit boards, components, sockets, connectors, semiconductor packaging and
electronic systems.
For more information about NanoPierce Technologies, Inc., log on to the
Company’s website at
http://www.nanopierce.com.

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CIBC CARD DIVIDENDS

In 2001, CIBC Dividend and Dividend Platinum
VISA credit card customers earned over $30 million as part of CIBC’s fourth
annual Dividend Dollars pay-out.

CIBC Dividend Card and Dividend Platinum Card customers earn cash-back
every time they use their card to make a purchase. The savings accumulate, and
each December, a cash rebate is credited to their Visa statement.

Since the inception of the CIBC Dividend Card and Dividend Platinum Card
in 1998, cardholders have earned more than $75 million in Dividend Dollars.
“Since 1998 cardholders have received significant savings at a time of year
when everyone likes to see a credit on their monthly statement,” says Ernie
Johannson, vice president, marketing and business development for CIBC’s
credit card division.

CIBC is Canada’s leading credit card issuer, offering the broadest range
of choice and value. CIBC provides a full range of products and services
through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices
across Canada, in the United States and around the world.

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Card Stocks

American Express was the fourth worst performing stock among the 30 “blue chip” companies in the ‘Dow Jones Industrial Average’ with a 34% decline in 2001. However, all of the credit card monoline stocks hit new lows after September 11, but most have recovered well. Metris/Direct Merchants Bank has rebounded by 90% while MBNA and Capital One are up nearly 50%. Providian has slowly stabilized, trading up 78% since the collapse of its stock following the 3Q/01 earnings report.

COMPANY 01-LOW 12/31 CHG
Metris $13.50 $25.71 +90%
Providian $ 2.00 $ 3.55 +78%
MBNA $23.43 $35.20 +50%
Capital One $36.40 $53.95 +48%
American Express $24.20 $35.69 +47%
NextCard $ 0.41 $ 0.52 +27%
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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