Little Tightening

Only one out of ten credit card issuers have tightened credit card standards this summer by raising the minimum required credit score. According to the ‘August 2001 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices’ by the Federal Reserve, the demand for mortgage loans increased sharply in the prior three months but the credit standards for approving residential mortgage loans were largely unchanged. About 10% of domestic banks, on net, reported that they had tightened standards on credit card and other consumer loans over the survey period, down from 18% in May. In addition, more than 10% of respondents increased the minimum required credit score for both categories of consumer loans. For consumer loans other than credit cards, 14% of domestic institutions, on net, increased spreads over their cost of funds, down from about one-fourth in the previous survey, but only a few banks increased spreads on credit card loans in August. On net, 5% of banks reported stronger demand for consumer loans over the past three months.


Bankruptcy 2Q/01

As most credit card issuers confirmed in second quarter earnings reports, personal bankruptcies soared during April, May and June. More than 400,000 cases were filed during the second calendar quarter, the highest number ever filed in one quarter. According to data released Friday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, a total of 400,394 petitions were filed between April 1 and June 30 of this year, a 24.5% increase over the 321,729 cases filed in the same period last year. Since the first of this year, 767,235 petitions have been filed. Given the impending bankruptcy reforms and rising unemployment, the total number of bankruptcies for 2001 could approach a record 1.5 million. For the 12-month period ending June 30, bankruptcy filings rose 8.6%, from 1,276,922 to 1,386,606. The total bankruptcy figures include 36,910 and 37,135 business bankruptcies for the 12 month periods ending June 30 of 2000 and 2001, respectively. For current and historical information on bankruptcy data visit CardData ([][1]).

2001: 400,394 1995: 235,302
2000: 321,729 1994: 216,213
1999: 345,956 1993: 229,406
1998: 373,460 1992: 250,622
1997: 367,168 1991: 246,946
1996: 297,162

Source: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts



Direcway Payments

Hughes Network Systems has partnered with Paymentech to offer a bundled service for payment authorization processing via satellite for small and large businesses. The ‘DIRECWAY’ payment authorization solution provides merchants with online transactions and a simplified statement with a lower, flat monthly fee. HNS currently transports over 5 million transactions per day for tens of thousands of retailers, gas stations and restaurants using the ‘DIRECWAY’ satellite service. GolfSwitch, a ‘Vertical Internet Application Service Provider’ that owns and operates the largest private communications network in the golf industry and a new customer, has signed as the first VAR for the service. ‘DIRECWAY’ will be marketed directly by HNS and through VARs in specific vertical markets, including golf, pharmacies, food services and other specialty retailers.


GCA ACM Contracts

Twenty gaming properties have recently signed contracts to use the innovative products and services of Global Cash Access (GCA). GCA is the leading supplier of cash access, financial management and customer relationship marketing technologies to the gaming industry.

Among the products and services offered by GCA are the Automated Cashier Machine (ACM(SM) and an array of guest development marketing services.

ACM is a “smart ATM” that uses Internet and facial biometric technology to offer patrons a quick way to access multiple cash access services and other entertainment needs in a single stop – without the need of cage operator assistance.

GCA’s guest development marketing services assist casinos in understanding their customers and increase traffic to the gaming floor and events.

Properties that signed agreements with GCA are:

— Athena – Tarpon Springs, Fla. — Bully’s Sports Bar Mount Rose – Reno, Nev. — Bully’s No. 3 – Sparks, Nev. — Fantasea Cruises – Texas City, Texas — Harrah’s Jazz Casino – New Orleans, La. — Harrah’s St. Louis Casino and Hotel – Maryland Heights, Mo. — Jump Up Casino – St. Maarten, Netherlands, Antilles — Santa Ana Star – Bernalillo, N.M. — TLC Enterprises, Inc. — Golden West Casino – Las Vegas — Howl at the Moon Saloon – Las Vegas — Loose Caboose Central – Las Vegas — Loose Caboose Nellis – Las Vegas — Loose Caboose Rainbow – Las Vegas — Loose Caboose Saloon – Las Vegas — Loose Caboose Tropicana – Las Vegas — Magoos Bar & Grill – Las Vegas — Magoos Cheyenne – Las Vegas — Magoos East – Las Vegas — Magoos Hideaway – Las Vegas — Top Cat Bar – Las Vegas

Global Cash Access was formed in 1998 and is a joint venture of First Data Corp. and M&C International, Inc. Providing access to the gaming industry’s largest patron database, Global Cash access uses Internet technologies to deliver funds transfer, financial management and customer relationship marketing services to more than 1,000 gaming properties nationwide. More information on the company is available at [][1].




Official Payments Corporation announced that Anderson, Morton, Sherman, Thomas, Allen, Meade, and Rice County have signed service agreements.

These agreements enable taxpayers to pay their personal property, which includes motor vehicle renewal, and real estate tax obligations over the Internet by visiting, or via the telephone by calling toll-free 1-800-2PAY-TAX. American Express(R), Discover Card(R), MasterCard(R) and VISA(R) are the cards accepted by the program. Official Payments Corp. is the leading provider of electronic payment options servicing over 900 government entities within 48 states, the Internal Revenue Service, 18 state governments including the state of Kansas, and the District of Columbia to collect taxes, fees, and fines by credit card over the Internet and telephone.

“We are making great progress in Kansas with both top-down and bottom-up business growth,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and CEO of Official Payments Corp. “Earlier in the year we entered into new agreements at the state level and we have continued to make solid advancement with local government clients. We now do business with 27 counties and municipalities in Kansas,” added, Mr. Evans.

County real estate tax bills will be distributed between November 1st and November 10th; bill due dates are December 20th and June 20th. County personal property bills are distributed on a monthly basis by last name. This new option has been live in Meade, Rice, and Allen County. The service will be live later this year in Thomas, Sherman, Morton, and Anderson County.

Official Payments Corp. charges taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found on the Internet at For example, a taxpayer who owed a current tax of $800.00 in real estate taxes and charged their taxes, would find a total of $825.00 on their credit card statement: $800.00 for the tax bill and $25.00 for the convenience fee. American Express(R), MasterCard(R), Discover(R) and VISA(R) are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back on airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.

About Official Payments Corporation

Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. The company is unequaled in market penetration and national footprint. Official Payments has agreements to collect and process credit card payments with the Internal Revenue Service, 18 state governments, the District of Columbia, and over 900 county and municipal governments in 48 states across the United States. In 2000, Official Payments collected and processed over $925 million in federal, state and local government payments.

Official Payments was founded in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market. The company’s success in new client acquisition, increasing business with its existing clients and in building consumer awareness can be attributed to the combination of an enormous market opportunity with a highly skilled and experienced management and staff, aggressive sales and marketing, and a core competency in developing and implementing leading-edge technical systems.


Vital Gets Retriever

Vital Processing Services has acquired the remaining minority interest in Golden Retriever Systems. The 49% membership interest purchased by Vital was owned by Netcentives. Netcentives acquired its 49% interest in GRS through the acquisition of UVN Holdings in March 2000. GRS technology provides the back-end technology for Netcentives’ registered credit card programs. In connection with the sale of its interest, Netcentives and GRS extended the term of the current license and service agreement whereby Netcentives will continue to operate the Momentum shopping programs for Delta and United. Vital has owned a majority interest in GRS since February 1997. GRS will now operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Vital. AZ-based GRS is a value added data aggregation, storage, reporting and processing company, whose clients include merchant acquirers and loyalty/rewards programs.


Intarsia V3

SEDONA Corporation ([][1]), the leading provider of Web-based Customer Relationship Management solutions for small and mid-sized financial services companies, announced the successful launch and general release of the new version of its Customer Relationship Management system – Intarsia.

Intarsia V3 was released following a structured beta-testing period by several SEDONA customers.

Among its new features, Intarsia V3 includes a completely Web-based report writer that is cost-effective and utilizes a guided report creation process. The new report allows a user to build HTML reports with prompts and drill-downs, and enables the user to publish reports to Intarsia’s portal so that all users in the financial institution can share information.

“The new Version 3.0 makes it even easier for us to get critical data out to the people within the organization that need it to perform customer service or do business analysis,” said Troy Beaver, Senior Vice President and Marketing Director, Bremer Financial Services, St. Paul, MN. “The new report writing capabilities provide us with a way to quickly and easily develop customized reports and then easily distribute the results throughout the entire bank. This enables everyone in the bank to participate in our CRM mission in delivering excellent customer service as well as implementing successful sales and marketing programs.”

Another new feature of Intarsia V3 is the ability to measure profitability using Funds Transfer Pricing (FTP), the most accurate method on the market today. FTP helps a financial institution calculate more accurate profitability measurements because it looks at historical interest rates, rather than simply taking the current rate as is used with other profitability technologies.

Several existing SEDONA customers have indicated their interest in this new feature to further hone their profitability analyses and, subsequently, decisions made due to this critical data.

Intarsia V3 also provides the ability to run the CRM system simultaneously with the financial institutions’ core processing system on IBM eServer iSeries (AS/400) systems. The iSeries systems are high-performance, integrated business servers for mid-market, that are widely popular among community banks and credit unions.

“The ability for us to run our Intarsia system on the same iSeries platform as our core processing system represents a tremendous savings to us both in terms of hardware costs and technical staffing costs,” said Tom Bayless, Chief Financial Officer, RCB Bank, Claremore, OK. “The affordability and robustness of Intarsia, along with its compatibility to the iSeries, makes Intarsia V3 the CRM product of choice for small and mid-sized financial institutions.”

“SEDONA developed Version 3.0 based on feedback from focus groups of banking and credit union customers and prospects as well as input derived from meetings with our partners and software development team,” said Marco Emrich, President and CEO, SEDONA Corporation. “This new version continues to raise the bar in delivering a CRM solution for small and mid-sized financial services organizations wanting to improve their ability to identify, acquire, foster, and retain loyal, profitable customers.”

About Intarsia

SEDONA’s Intarsia(TM) is a comprehensive Web-based CRM solution that helps aggregate silos of information to provide a single, consistent source for customer information.

The system includes all the data analysis functionality of MCIF technology such as profitability analysis, householding, and visual profiling, but in addition, it also provides Internet read-and-write access for any authorized user within an organization.

As such, Intarsia provides quick and easy access to all critical information to allow all bank or credit union personnel to make efficient and effective business customer-centric decisions.

About SEDONA Corporation

SEDONA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: SDNA) is the leading provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions for small and mid-sized financial services companies. SEDONA’s Web-based software, Intarsia(TM), and supporting Marketing Solution Services enable the entire financial institution to help identify, acquire, foster, and retain loyal, profitable customers.

With its affordable, quick, and easy implementation, SEDONA helps clients rapidly increase their ability to acquire and retain customers and to improve product pricing, packaging, and cross-selling opportunities, and to increase operational efficiency aimed towards improving overall profitability.

SEDONA markets Intarsia together with leading solution providers such as IBM(R) Corporation and Acxiom(R) Corporation. For additional information, visit the SEDONA Web site at or call 1-800-815-3307.




American Express redefined the world of privilege with the launch of the exclusive American Express Platinum Card in India. The Platinum Card is coveted the world over for its almost limitless variety of personal services and benefits, and is regarded as the ultimate symbol of prestige and recognition. The American Express Platinum Card will be available in India by invitation only.

American Express, the world’s largest card issuer, has designed the Platinum Card for a select group of American Express’ customers in India, with a powerful package of benefits unmatched by any other card provider in India.

Announcing the launch of the Platinum Card, K L Muralidhara, vice president and country manager, American Express TRS, India & Area countries said, “We are delighted to bring the Platinum Card to the Indian market for a select group of individuals who seek personalized service and access to previously unavailable services and travel benefits. We are confident that the Platinum Card will have a very positive response because it meets the exacting needs of our customers.

”The American Express Platinum Card comes with an additional Platinum Card for the Basic Cardmember to separate personal and business expenses, as well as up to four supplementary Platinum Cards. Supplementary cardholders are entitled to enjoy virtually the same benefits and services as cardmembers.

The Platinum Card is the ultimate in charge card benefits and services, offering business and lifestyle assistance from a worldwide team of dedicated professionals that goes beyond booking flights and making hotel reservations. Platinum Cardmembers are provided worldwide personal services: from top quality medical assistance to legal aid; to arrange evacuation and repatriation in the event of a medical emergency; from locating and purchasing goods and services to event tickets and exclusive restaurant reservations; anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. Additionally, Platinum Cardmembers can receive:International Airline ProgramThe exclusive International Airline Program will offer unequalled benefits for American Express Platinum Cardmembers in India.

Platinum Cardmembers will receive substantial savings when they travel – and could even take a companion free in first or business class. The exclusively created benefits also include upgrades and special airfare structures when Platinum Cardmembers travel on specific partner Airlines, namely: KLM, Northwest, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates.Travel Services and Travel InsuranceAll travel needs of Cardmembers can be efficiently taken care of – from booking flights and arranging hotel accommodations, to providing assistance in the event of an emergency. Cardmembers will receive complimentary room upgrades as well as free continental breakfast for two and late check-out at over 600 of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Moreover, during the journey, Cardmembers will be automatically insured against air accidents for up to Rs. 1 Crore.

Worldwide Personal AssistanceA specially dedicated team of experienced professionals guarantees Cardmembers worldwide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For instance, The Platinum Card Service will help with passport and visa replacements and emergency funds if a Cardmember loses his briefcase with wallet and passport inside. A replacement Card will also be immediately issued, if lost. In addition, The Platinum Card Service also includes medical assistance, legal aid, hospitality packages and more.

Complimentary membershipsPlatinum Cardmembers are entitled to complimentary Membership to the prestigious St. James’ Club at London and to The Towers Club at ITC Welcomgroup properties in India, where they will also receive special offers. Cardmembers also get free enrollment into Hertz #1 Club Gold.

Lifestyle ServicesTo entertain business associates or relax with family and friends, the Platinum Card Service can recommend activities and make all the arrangements, including ordering flowers, champagne and chocolates, purchasing goods, restaurant recommendations, theatre bookings, and limousine service. In addition, Cardmembers will receive information about entertainment opportunities and special-event offers throughout the year.“The Platinum Card symbolizes the long-standing essence of the American Express Brand – security, trust and quality service. Because we are an independent card issuer with a global network in card and travel services, only American Express can guarantee the best services to its cardmembers,” added Muralidhara.

American Express’ strategy for success has been built on carefully segmenting the market and offering appropriately customized products. The introduction of the Platinum Card in India is a prestigious addition to American Express’ powerful card portfolio in India: the Gold and Green Charge Cards, Gold and Green Credit Cards, the Corporate Card, the Corporate Purchasing Card, the recently launched Gold Corporate Card; and cobranded cards with Indian Airlines, MTNL, J&K Bank, India Today Group, ICWAI and the Indian Medical Association.

American Express Travel Related Services Present in India since 1921, American Express provides high quality travel related services to individuals and corporations in India. American Express Card products available in India include the Green and Gold Charge Cards, Green and Gold Credit Cards, the Corporate Card, and the recently launched expense management solution, the Corporate Purchasing Card.American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.