Charge for the Cure

For the fourth consecutive year, American Express will raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer when it launches Charge for the Cure, a campaign to raise $500,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

American Express will donate one cent for every purchase made on an American Express Card at participating merchants from September 1 through the end of October. Since 1998, through similar promotions, American Express already donated $1.3 million to help battle breast cancer. Donations are not tax deductible for Cardmembers.

This year, Charge for the Cure includes retailers in the “everyday spending” category, including supermarkets, drug stores, and mass merchandisers. Cardmembers can help raise money by using the Card for purchases at participating retailers nationwide and on-line at participating Web retailers. Cardmembers can visit for the list of participating merchants.

“Our continued involvement in the fight against breast cancer is one way American Express fulfills its core value of being a good corporate citizen,” said Susan Griffin, vice president, retail industries, American Express. “Charge for the Cure will not only help raise money for breast cancer research and community outreach programs, but it will also help raise awareness about this disease and the great work carried out by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.”

American Express has been committed to raising awareness and making donations towards finding a cure for breast cancer. In addition to donating $1.3 million to breast cancer causes over the last three years, American Express is also a longstanding sponsor and participant in the annual Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation New York City Race for the Cure(R). The company also received the U.S. Postal Service’s first Social Awareness Award in May 1999 for its role in promoting nationwide awareness of the Breast cancer Research Semi-Postal Stamp.

“We are pleased to partner with American Express again this year and are extremely grateful for the support they have given us in the fight against breast cancer,” said Linda Kay Peterson, chairman of the board of the Komen Foundation. “The Charge for the Cure campaign enables Cardmembers — simply by using their cards for everyday purchases — to play an important role in the Komen Foundation’s mission to find a cure for breast cancer.”

About the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Today, the Foundation is an international organization with a network of volunteers working through local Affiliates and Komen Race for the Cure(R) events to eradicate breast cancer as a life- threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening and treatment. For breast health or breast cancer information, contact the Komen Foundation’s National Toll-Free Breast Care Helpline, 1.800.I’M AWARE(R), or visit its award-winning Website, .

About American Express

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, investment products, insurance and international and online banking. For more information on American Express, visit our website at .


Stock Pounding

The stock market will be watched closely this morning after last week’s pounding following bad economic news. In early trading all sectors and markets were heading down. Friday’s erosion was driven by a spurt in unemployment and heightened talk of a recession. Among credit card stocks, Providian has now hit new 52-week lows after closing at $25.72 Friday. Last week, Providian lowered its earnings estimates for the year, citing a recent slowdown in customer purchase activity, softer loan demand relative to expectations, and ongoing credit tightening. The Providian news spilled over to other credit card stocks.

Sept. 10
Providian $25.72 – 7.35% $67.00 $25.72
MBNA $30.02 -5.30% $40.12 $27.30
Metris $22.75 -3.60% $42.94 $19.15
Capital One $48.50 -3.46% $73.25 $45.88
Household $55.04 -3.44% $69.98 $43.88
Amer Express $34.60 -1.93% $63.00 $34.00
NextCard $ 7.99 NC $12.75 $ 4.56
Source: CardData (


Diebold Global Deal

Diebold, Incorporated and Global Election Systems Inc. announced they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Diebold will acquire Global. The agreement was unanimously approved by Global’s Board of Directors.

Pursuant to the agreement, Diebold will acquire all the outstanding Global shares at a per share price equal to $1.135, with 80 percent of the consideration payable in stock and 20 percent payable in cash. The stock portion of the consideration is subject to a maximum of .03027 Diebold shares and a minimum of .02421 Diebold shares for each Global share. Global currently has 23.1 million shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2001 and is subject to a number of conditions including Global shareholder and regulatory approval.

Diebold also previously provided $5 million of interim financing to Global. Diebold and Global previously signed a contract manufacturing agreement where Diebold will produce more than 500 AccuVote-TS touch screen voting terminals to fulfill a contract previously secured by Global. Diebold expects the acquisition to be neutral on 2001 earnings and accretive in 2002.

Global Election Systems Inc., is an industry leader in the election equipment marketplace with over 850 jurisdictions in North America utilizing its AccuVote (optical scan) or AccuVote-TS (touch screen) voting systems. Its product line also includes VoteRemote, a high speed automated absentee ballot printing and processing system. Global’s acquisitions and strategic alliances have enabled the Company to participate in international bids involving nationwide voting system projects. For further information, visit Global’s website at .

Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery systems and services. Diebold employs more than 11,000 associates with representation in more than 80 countries worldwide and headquarters in 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 .

This document does not constitute a solicitation by Diebold or Global or their boards of directors or executive officers of any approval or action of Global’s stockholders. Global will file an offering circular and other relevant documents concerning the proposed transaction with the appropriate Canadian regulatory authorities. Stockholders and investors are urged to read the offering circular when it becomes available and any other relevant documents filed because they will contain important information on the proposed transaction. Global also files annual, quarterly and special reports and other information with the SEC. You may obtain such documents filed with the SEC free of charge at the website maintained by the SEC at . You may obtain documents filed with the Canadian regulatory authorities and the SEC by Global free of charge by requesting them in writing from Global, 1611 Wilmeth Road, McKinney Texas 75069, Attention: Investor Relations, or by telephone at (972) 542-6000.

Diebold, Global and their directors and executive officers may be deemed participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Global in connection with the acquisition. Information about the directors and executive officers of Diebold is set forth in Diebold’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2000. Information about the directors and executive officers of Global and their ownership of Global’s stock is set forth in Global’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000. Stockholders of Global may obtain additional information regarding the interests of such participants by reading the definitive offering circular when it becomes available.


ECHO Split

Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced that its shareholders have approved a one-for-four reverse split of the company’s common stock at a special shareholders’ meeting held on Sept. 7, 2001.

The reverse split will affect shareholders of record at the close of business on Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, and the company’s common stock will begin trading on a post-split basis at the open of business on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The letter “D” will be appended to ECHO’s trading symbol for 20 trading days so the trading community is aware of the reverse split. The reverse split will reduce the number of shares presently outstanding from 21.6 million to approximately 5.4 million shares.

The action is being taken in response to a Jan. 5, 2001 notification to the company from the Nasdaq Stock Market that ECHO did not meet the $1.00 minimum closing bid price requirement for continued listing on the Nasdaq SmallCap market.

In July, Nasdaq granted the company continued listing subject to ECHO meeting the following conditions: 1) on or before Aug. 3, 2001, the company was required to file a proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Nasdaq, evidencing its intent to seek shareholder approval for a reverse stock split; and 2) on or before Sept. 17, 2001, the company is required to demonstrate a closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share and, immediately thereafter, a closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share for a minimum of ten consecutive trading days. The company believes that the reverse split will resolve the bid price deficiency; however, there can be no guarantee that it will do so.

“We are pleased that the company’s shareholders have approved this reverse stock split,” said Joel M. Barry, chairman and chief executive officer of ECHO. “Given the company’s strong sales growth and opportunity to rapidly expand our check-related services, we believe this step positions ECHO to maintain our Nasdaq SmallCap listing and create shareholder value in the future.”

Notification to registered shareholders regarding the exchange of stock certificates will be forthcoming.

About ECHO

Electronic Clearing House Inc. provides a complete solution to the payment processing needs of merchants, banks and collection agencies. ECHO’s services include debit and credit card processing, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, check re-presentment, check collection and inventory tracking. Customers include more than 60,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation.


SSP Technology

SSP Solutions, Inc. providing solutions and services that enable secure, real-time movement of financial transactions and valued digital content, announced the world’s first secure and anonymous Internet commerce transaction solution securing ATM and debit cards — the equivalent of cash — as well as traditional credit cards for Internet purchasing. Banco Nationale de Credito will go live with this technology via the Internet, using SSP’s bundled hardware and software package uniquely enabling embedded two-factor authentication required for ATM, credit or debit transactions. Available worldwide, initially the program will be rolled out to 2,000 consumers in the Dominican Republic with larger deployment scheduled for the following quarter.

“Merchants are anxious to leverage ATM and debit card business opportunities — expanding their customer base and reducing repudiation and fraud associated with traditional credit card transactions,” said Rob Gorman, managing director of strategic affairs SSP Solutions, Inc. “We’re moving quickly to support this initiative and deliver a powerful product specifically designed to secure ATM and debit customer segments for online shopping.” The package includes the SSP Solutions branded ETSS (Enhanced Transactional Secure Software) application and a secure SSP(TM) EMBASSY(R) (EMBedded Application Security SYstem) card reader that connects directly to the consumer’s PC. The reader is both mag-stripe and smart-card compatible and uses a secure numeric keypad for PIN and password entries. ETSS is the world’s first embedded non-repudiation card present software that enables merchant to secure transactions without the actual credit, debit or ATM customer account numbers available to the merchant, thereby protecting both the consumer and the merchant from account number database fraud and unauthorized intrusions. Both VISA and Mastercard are supported by this technology. Several recent well-publicized illegal intrusions of merchant databases have resulted in thousands of consumer debit and credit card account numbers being stolen, and the embedded SSP ETSS software eliminates this risk to the merchant. SSP also exclusively licensed on a worldwide basis the marketing and deployment rights of ETSS software originally developed by a joint venture of SSP and Freestar Technologies. Banco National de Credito is the first major banking organization to actively deploy this solution.

About SSP Solutions, Inc.

SSP Solutions, Inc. develops and distributes the SSP(TM) Security Suite of hardware, software, and embedded security products designed as the Trusted Symbol of the Digital Economy(TM). SSP products embed security and trust throughout the transaction chain protecting electronic communications and financial transactions, network access, and the exchange of copyrighted digital content. By combining our own technology with a range of partners’ technologies and intellectual properties, SSP products represent the first, open embedded security architecture simultaneously supporting public key infrastructure (PKI) and multiple standards of digital rights management. SSP’s custom-made enterprise security solutions address digital rights management, financial services, government, entertainment, healthcare, and education — and form the heart of a ten-year alliance with Electronic Data Systems (NYSE:EDS), the nation’s largest systems integrator and a global leader in information assurance. For additional company information, visit or call 949/851-1085.

About Freestar Technologies, Inc.

Freestar Technologies, Inc.’s Enhanced Transactional Secure Software (“ETSS”), a proprietary software package that enables consumers to consummate secure e-commerce transactions over the Internet using credit, debit, ATM (with PIN) or smart cards. The ETSS system integrates a consumer-side card-swipe terminal with a back-end host-processing center. It encrypts sensitive financial data at the consumer’s personal computer, using powerful DES encryption and algorithms. It sends an authorization number to the e-commerce merchant, rather than the consumer’s credit card information, to provide a maximum level of security. The Company plans to link several large, established smart card systems together on an ETSS-based standard to achieve economies of scale and further market penetration for this secure e-commerce payment system. For further information, please contact Dominican Republic, Haydee Marquez, Investor Relations of Freestar Technologies, 809/732-5911 or John Paul Salvador, Market Intelligence.



Global Investment Financial Group Inc. announced Friday, subject to Canadian Venture Exchange approval, that it
is acquiring all right, title and interest in and to an Integrated Web Based
Revenue Transaction System from Netgenetix Media Inc for $150,000 payable
through the issuance of 1.5 million common shares of Global Investment
Financial Group Inc.

This Integrated System, with an unlimited user capacity, will feature
online subscriptions, credit card processing, alternative payment methods,
billing, and bank reconciliation. It will also provide customer support,
automated e-mail notification system, online statement review, and a RADIUS
interface with an automated provisioning system compatible with multiple
Computer platforms. The system is integral to Global’s commitment to penetrate
the North American market as an Internet Service Provider in partnership with
AT&T Canada.

Netgenetix Media Inc. will implement the tailor made software suite,
which integrates seamlessly with the Web site and its strategic
partners. This comprehensive online billing and account system represents the
interface between the members and the community and
marketplace. In addition, Netgenetix will continue to develop and customized
the system’s backend to accommodate the variety of new products and services
as they become available.

“The implementation of this Integrated System is a key fundamental
development in the future of the Company as it will permit the Company to
effectively manage the automated revenue collection for its stable of web-
based products and services,” stated Leo Chamberland, President and CEO of
Global. “An automated front-end to back-end billing system will allow us to
keep our burn rate low as our revenues ramp up.”
As this system becomes fully operational, it is anticipated that the
majority of the Company’s future revenue will be generated from its online
products and services. The Company did generate approximately three quarters
of a million dollars ($750,000.00) in revenue from its publishing division
during the first 9 months of operations for fiscal year ending August 31,

Currently, the system is being beta tested and is expected to be fully
operational in October 2001.

What does this mean to users?

Following the implementation of the system, members will be able to
obtain a “Passport” to open an operating account and subscribe to a variety of
products and services offered at The Passport is the entry key
to all strategic partners and third parties involved with the
virtual marketplace.

Members wishing to activate an account with any of the strategic partners
will be able to transfer all relevant and required information from their
“Passport” to open that new account in a secured environment with the simple
push of a button.

Members with accounts will have access to a back-end banking system. This
solution will be offered as a custom bank account package to accommodate
members’ needs and to facilitate the movement of money between the various
options available to members. All strategic partners and third parties of the community will also be linked to the online back-end banking
facilities. Activities will be conveniently recorded and secure access will be
available to the members.

The system facilitates interaction with financial planners, mortgage
brokers and other professional members of the Commerce Place. The relationship
between the professional members of the Commerce Place and is
basically a tenant landlord relationship. For the professionals in the
financial sector, it will provide a convenient environment to communicate and
conduct business activities in an online environment with their clients.
Professionals will be supplied with a virtual office with customizable
workstations that will be linked to all services available at’s
Financial Centre, the e-globe x-change, the Commerce Place, the World Trade
Centre as well as the Training and Education Centre.

About Netgenetix Media Inc.

Netgenetix Media Inc. helps companies resolve the complex issues
surrounding the Internet. They provide a broad range of web-based solutions to
help ventures run more efficiently. Netgenetix offers services in Internet
strategy, web design, streaming media, database development and e-commerce.
They can develop a site from the ground up or leverage an existing investment
in Internet technologies and augment it by layering proven new advancements

About Global Investment Group

Global Investment Group (GIG) is dedicated to becoming the leading
provider of secure Web-based interactive financial transaction systems in a
virtual marketplace environment that will function as online investment
exchanges for a broad variety of investment instruments complimented with
associated products and services. Under the umbrella of its transaction
services group, Global Investment Group is currently implementing a revenue-
driven financial portal – at – offering a variety of online
products and services including searchable directories with active client
profiles dedicated to the investment community. Meanwhile, the company’s media
properties group produces a number of complementary financial publications
dedicated to improving reader understanding of investment opportunities.


Union Bank & Authorize.Net

InfoSpace, Inc., a leading provider of the platform and applications that enable partners to deliver consumer and commerce services across the Internet to any device over current and next-generation networks, and Union Bank of California, N.A., today announced that Union Bank of California has selected InfoSpace’s payment processing platform, Authorize.Net, to power a new online payments service to be offered to UBOC’s business clients under the UBOC brand.

UBOC’s new service will enable its business customers to accept credit card payments over the Internet directly from a Web site or by using an Internet-enabled PC or handheld device. Businesses will be able to assess, fraud-screen and settle credit card transactions online quickly and securely. In addition, business will be able to view and manage their payment gateway account online in real-time from almost any Internet enabled mobile device or PC. “Our partnership with InfoSpace provides us with the technologies we need to continue the roll out of new, cutting edge services to our customers that both expands our offering and develops new revenue streams,” said Robin Ann Lambert, senior vice president of Union Bank of California. “The flexibility and scalability of InfoSpace’s payment processing platform as well as its ability to tightly integrate with our systems and to support our brand made InfoSpace our first choice in deploying these new services.”

“This agreement demonstrates the successful execution of our strategy to provide the underlying technology and services that enable established companies such as Union Bank of California to provide their customers with a wider range of services, build stronger brands and develop new revenue streams,” said Naveen Jain, chairman and chief executive officer of InfoSpace.

InfoSpace’s Authorize.Net(TM) service has been pioneering online payment processing solutions since 1996 providing server-based payment solutions that enable merchants to process transactions in a secure, real-time environment 24 hours a day. Over 120,000 merchants have signed up for Authorize.Net, which enables merchants to authorize, process, and manage credit card and electronic check transactions on Internet-enabled mobile devices and personal computers.

About Union Bank of California

Based in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation is a bank holding company with assets of $35.8 billion at June 30, 2001. Its primary subsidiary is Union Bank of California, N.A., the third largest commercial bank in California. Union Bank of California, N.A., has 244 banking offices in California, 6 banking offices in Oregon and Washington and 18 international facilities. The Website is located at [][1].

About InfoSpace, Inc.

InfoSpace, Inc. (Nasdaq:INSP) provides an integrated technology platform and suite of applications that enable partners to deliver consumer and commerce services across the Internet to any device over current and next-generation wireless, broadband and narrowband networks. The Company’s array of products includes consumer services, such as communication, entertainment, gaming and speech applications, as well as commerce services, including payments, promotions and shopping. Together, the InfoSpace platform and applications comprise a highly flexible and scalable end-to-end solution that can be rapidly deployed under a partner’s brand. InfoSpace’s partners and affiliates include more than 3,200 Web sites and companies worldwide, including Verizon, AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, ALLTEL, Virgin Mobile, Charles Schwab, Intel, Lucent, Nortel, AOL, Microsoft, Lycos, National Discount Brokers and Bloomberg, among others.




The Thai Military Bank has begun issuing a VISA card to military officers with ranks of special colonel and above. The new, no annual fee ‘Top Brass VISA’ will be issued to about 3,000 officers. Special colonel is one step above a full colonel. The bank, founded more than 40 years ago by military officers, has 20% of its shares currently held by officers. The bank has issued approximately 80,000 bank credit cards under the VISA and MasterCard brands.


BillingZone & KUBRA

BillingZone, LLC, a leading B2B electronic invoice presentment and payment consolidator, and KUBRA, the leader in customer communication and relationship management outsource solutions, announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance. The new partnership offers mutual customers advanced capabilities in the complex financial supply chain environment with respect to the invoice-to-collect and procure-to-pay processes.

The alliance between KUBRA and BillingZone will deliver exceptional value to participating companies with large B2B invoice volume. The partnership channels KUBRA’s electronic invoices, statements and credit memos into the EIPP consolidated service most preferred by business payers. Billers will enjoy the benefits of an integrated EIPP solution that offers paper-based, EDI, Web-based, and consolidated invoice and payment processes rather than fragmented solutions for presentment and payer consolidation services. The new alliance offers customers access to all types of invoicing and provides consolidation to business payers for the greatest usage and penetration.

“KUBRA recognizes that we need flexible invoice solutions to maximize our reach and meet the needs of billers,” said Rick Watkin, president and chief executive officer, KUBRA. “The alliance with BillingZone allows us to offer a complete suite of services to billers. We also understand that payer communities have different needs. As a supplier of e-products, we are providing a solution today that is designed for the future so that customers can grow with KUBRA as their one-stop provider. BillingZone is the only consolidator in operation today that can deliver quality EIPP services to KUBRA’s customers.”

“At BillingZone, we have built the leading consolidator service for B2B EIPP to be open to invoices and payments from the majority of sources and formats,” said Eric Smith, president and chief executive officer of BillingZone, LLC. “For KUBRA’s customers, this will mean that more of their customers will be able to access, review, and pay their bills electronically. This leads to the robust cost-savings and enhanced customer relationships that KUBRA’s customers expect from e-billing. We are pleased to be working with KUBRA to offer this valuable service to their customers.”

KUBRA’s offering, KUBRA e-invoice(TM), was designed as a straightforward interactive environment for payee and payer process stakeholders in the invoice-to-collect marketplace. It is a complete end-to-end B2B EIPP solution that delivers workflow and dispute handling, interactive customer care, payment processing and personalized marketing with respect to digital invoice creation and delivery. The product’s enhanced customer self-care features and its streamlined workflow for receipt, review, dispute, approval and payment of invoices enables billers to simultaneously reduce support costs while providing business customers with greater convenience and improved service.

Under the new alliance with BillingZone, customers using the KUBRA e-invoice(TM) product suite will be offered advanced distribution of electronic presentment and payment services to their associated payer communities through the service. BillingZone recently launched its Open Alliance Program, offering companies an easy, flexible path to link existing software and Web site solutions with an Internet service that offers a broad network of participants. BillingZone consolidates transactional data from multiple invoicing sources into one centralized hub, efficiently distributes invoices to multiple customers through the Web site, offers a sophisticated set of payables functionality, and provides financial reconciliation back to the suppliers through their existing banking, credit card and settlement relationships.


KUBRA leads the market in delivering comprehensive customer communication and customer relationship management outsourced solutions. KUBRA has leveraged their expertise in these skill sets to offer various business communities personalized interactive customer communication and management solutions. Since the company’s inception in 1992, they have created a multinational corporation that creates value for their customers in the form of enhanced access to new markets, reduced costs and increased profitability.

KUBRA’s capabilities in data processing, print production, electronic presentment and delivery and secure payment processing allows them to provide customer communication solutions through any channel and to facilitate the communication program throughout its entire life cycle — from document conception and presentment to customer response and payment. More information on the Company is available on the Internet at .

About BillingZone, LLC

BillingZone, LLC offers a business-to-business electronic invoice presentment and payment service that provides businesses a consolidated model for presenting, receiving and paying invoices on the Internet. The service is expressly designed to meet the needs of corporate billers and payers and provides to payers the convenience of paying multiple bills at one site. BillingZone helps companies streamline the complexity of invoicing and payment processes, realize cost savings by eliminating paper and manual processes, and speeds up the communication between companies and their customers or suppliers. BillingZone, LLC is a joint venture of two industry leaders, PNC Bank, N.A., a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC), and Perot Systems Corporation (NYSE: PER). Please contact BillingZone, LLC at (412) 705-3000 or via e-mail at Additional information is available on the company’s web site at .



The Co-operative Bank again demonstrated that profits and ethics can go hand in hand when today it reported record interim pre-tax profits of £60.2m, up nine per cent on last year.

This is the 15th consecutive set of record interim and annual results that The Co-operative Bank has produced since 1994. Profits since 1997 alone have nearly doubled.

The increase in profits for the half year arose from higher operating income, up six per cent at £241m, while operating costs rose just three per cent to £146m. This resulted in a further improvement in the Bank’s cost/income ratio, which fell by 2.1 percentage points to 60.5 per cent – an all time low. The Bank’s balance sheet remained robust, with strong liquidity and capital ratios. Retail customer deposits and lending both continued to grow strongly.

smile, the Internet bank, continued to grow its customer numbers, expand its range of services, and consolidated its reputation as the best service provider in the hotly-contested Internet bank sector. Since its launch in October 1999, smile has acquired over 400,000 account holders, of which around 80 per cent are new to The Co-operative Bank Group.

In addition to its financial success in the first half of 2001, The Co-operative Bank gained unprecedented recognition for its achievements as a socially responsible business, with several high-profile and prestigious awards. In July 2001, the Bank was judged to be ‘Company of the Year’ in the Business In The Community Awards for Excellence. It was also runner-up for the hotly contested ‘Cause Related Marketing’ Award.

The Bank’s Partnership Approach, and its stance on ethical and environmental issues, led to awards for the ‘Best Social Report’ and the ‘Best Environmental Report’ from a combination of the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

In recognition of its working environment and culture, the Bank was selected by the Sunday Times and the Department of Trade and Industry as one of the 50 ‘Best Companies to Work For’ in 2001.

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Mervyn Pedelty said: “These are another set of very satisfying results for everyone connected with The Co-operative Bank. The impressive financial figures, together with the external recognition of our achievements, confirm that we have a sustainable formula for business success.”

During the first half of the year, the Bank completed its programme of installing 350 cash machines (ATM’s) in Co-op convenience stores. They have proved so popular in these retail locations that a further 350 ATM’s will be installed in Co-op stores by the end of 2002.

The Bank has also continued to develop new products to meet the changing needs of its customers. Earlier this year, it introduced a range of Visa Platinum cards, including a fixed-rate card at 9.8 per cent APR guaranteed until 2006. In June, the Bank introduced ‘Privilege’, a new, highly featured, current account which, for a monthly fee of £6, provides a wide range of benefits, including worldwide family travel insurance, plus preferential overdraft rates.


Paytrust & Spectrum

Paytrust, the leading online bill management service, and Spectrum EBP, L.L.C., a bank consortium that facilitates the exchange of electronic bills and payments, announced a strategic alliance whereby Paytrust will join Spectrum as a consumer service provider partner.

With this alliance, Paytrust will certify its award-winning CSP platform to Spectrum’s payment and presentment network – providing Spectrum member banks the ability to offer their customers a complete, consumer-focused online bill management solution, and allowing Paytrust to receive electronic bills and issue electronic payments via the Spectrum network.

Spectrum, a bank-centric payment and presentment technology platform founded by J.P. Morgan Chase & Company (NYSE: JPM), Wachovia Corporation (NYSE: WB) and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), provides financial institutions a secure, open and interoperable infrastructure to exchange electronic bills and payments. Including its three founders, 22 financial institutions currently belong to the Spectrum network or have signed letters of intent to participate in the network. Spectrum’s participant banks include 6 of the top 10 U.S. banks, representing 7.4 million online consumers, and 10 of the top 30 credit card issuers nationwide.

Paytrust provides CSP services to premier partner financial services institutions, including American Express, Citibank, E*TRADE, GE Financial Network, NextCard and U.S. Clearing. Today’s agreement with Spectrum allows Paytrust to further enhance both its “pay anyone” and innovative “present everything” capabilities. With Paytrust, consumers and small businesses can receive, review, pay and organize all their bills online through their preferred financial services provider. Paytrust can present 100% of a subscriber’s bills online, regardless of a bill’s originating format, by receiving electronic feeds directly from billers, biller service providers, and now the Spectrum network; aggregating online billing information from biller-direct web sites; or using patent-pending software to scan and process paper bills. “Certifying to Spectrum not only enables Paytrust’s strategic partners to participate in Spectrum if and when they choose,” said Edward G. McLaughlin, CEO of Paytrust. “It also provides all current and future Spectrum participant banks the ability to rapidly deploy a world-class CSP platform enabling their customers to receive and pay bills through the Spectrum network.”

“We welcome Paytrust to Spectrum. Through our alliance, Paytrust brings its industry-leading CSP platform and significant base of online consumers to the Spectrum network of 7.4 million online consumers.” said John Perry, Spectrum’s Chairman and CEO. “Our relationship with Paytrust demonstrates Spectrum’s commitment to our participants to build a robust network of both billers and consumers through strategic alliances without disintermediating financial institutions.”

About Paytrust

Paytrust delivers 100% of a subscriber’s bills online, offering complete bill delivery and management and far surpassing traditional bill pay-only or partial bill delivery services. Paytrust has built a strong track record of innovation, leading the industry in delivering consumer-focused solutions such as complete bill presentment, email bill delivery, wireless bill presentment and payment, SmartBalance(TM) automated checkbook balancing and SmartBills(TM) electronic bill aggregation.

Paytrust’s unique capabilities and superior user experience have garnered numerous recent awards, including Forbes’ “Best of the Web 2001”, Business Week’s “Top Products of 2000” and Yahoo Internet Life’s “Sites We Love.” Founded in October 1998, Paytrust is the flagship product of PAYTRU$T, Inc., a privately held company based in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Paytrust continues to enjoy strong support from its premier group of investors, which includes American Express, Capital One, Citibank, ComVentures, E*TRADE, FT Ventures and Spectrum Equity (not affiliated with Spectrum EBP L.L.C.). In September 2000, Paytrust acquired, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of PAYTRU$T, Inc. More information about the company can be found on its web site,, or by calling 1-800-PAYTRUST.

About Spectrum

Spectrum EBP, L.L.C., headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is an independent company fully owned by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Wachovia Corporation (WB) and Wells Fargo & Company (WFC). Formed to facilitate the exchange of electronic bills and payments, Spectrum’s mission is to provide a secure, open and interoperable infrastructure to electronically link consumer and biller service providers. Additionally, Spectrum seeks to provide value to its participants by providing superior service and reducing overall bill presentment and payment costs. Spectrum does not host any bills directly, nor does it retain any bill details. Including the three founders, 22 financial institutions currently belong to the Spectrum network or have signed letters of intent to participate in the network. More information on Spectrum can be found at .


Teen Cards

US and UK teenagers spent $483 million on-line last year, with this figure to increase to $10.6 billion by 2005 according to a new research report. Datamonitor says teenage payment systems, such as prepaid cards, are currently provided by only a handful of suppliers. As such, the sector is lucrative, but marketing and advertising to teenage consumers is likely to prove difficult and operators should look to tie-in with larger teenage-friendly brands. Datamonitor says that although teens can make purchases indirectly using a parent’s credit cards, the buying experience is not the same due to the loss of independence for the teenager. The research firm says the dominance of the credit card in the US will allow products connected to parents’ credit cards to flourish. However, Europe will see more independent solutions emerging, with products developed by independent companies such as Smartcreds and Splash Plastic, but also from banks.