Reform Barometer

As bankruptcy reform is more or less a done deal, the majority of Americans believe, that given the funky economy and rising unemployment, this is not the time to make personal bankruptcy laws more restrictive. However the majority also feel that bankrupt consumers should be forced to repay a portion of their debts if they have income that exceeds reasonable living expenses. Nearly two out of three respondents to a homepage poll say this is not the time to reform bankruptcy laws. However more than six out of ten believe bankrupt consumers should be forced to pony up for some of their debts if they have a good income. In response to the question: “Should there be a limit on the amount of home equity a bankrupt consumer can exempt in a bankruptcy filing?’, 55% said yes. Nearly three out of four consumers believe banks will not pass on the savings realized from bankruptcy reform to consumers by means of lower rates or fees.


TrackPower Deploys First ATM

TrackPower, Inc. announced Friday that the company has signed a three year contract with Elmira Raceway of Elmira, Ontario, for the deployment of its first ATM. Elmira’s ATM has been installed and is being operated by TrackPower’s partner, 4Cash ATM Services Canada Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Wireless Ventures, Inc. as part of an exclusive global agreement between 4Cash and Trackpower.

Mr. Hardave Gill, President of TrackPower, stated, “This is an exciting opportunity for TrackPower. We look forward to building upon this initial contract and aggressively growing the revenues of the company.” He added, “We are very excited to be working with Elmira, as it is a popular track and is open year round for simulcasting. As Elmira is expected to move to a new facility in Elora, Ontario, with 199 slot machines, we realize the potential of this contract and are working to capitalize on the opportunity to place our information kiosks and additional ATMs.”

Elmira Raceway is a half-mile harness track located in Elmira, Ontario, which is approximately one hour west of Toronto, Canada. The track operates live racing from April through October, and offers simulcasting year-round. The track is home to the Battle of Waterloo two-year old stake race and numerous Ontario Sires Stakes events.

TrackPower, Inc. maintains an Exclusive Worldwide Distribution Agreement with Post Time Technologies, Inc. for their RaceVision(TM) Kiosk product when combined with an ATM. Through this Agreement, TrackPower combines leading-edge kiosk technology with ATM’s to effectively deploy turn-key integrated information services at racetracks, OTB’s, and other gaming facilities. The RaceVision(TM) kiosk and ATM systems combine to deliver information, cash, advertising content, loyalty programs, integrated race information, entries and results, live and archived video, e-commerce and other future applications. TrackPower’s ATM’s are supplied and operated by 4Cash ATM Services Canada Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Wireless Ventures, Inc. (OTCBB: WLSV) as part of an exclusive global agreement between 4Cash and Trackpower.


Rewards Card Study

What reward programs do consumers really value? What can you do to boost returns from your reward program investments? These questions will be the focal point of a new Dove Consulting study-the most comprehensive research on card-based reward and loyalty programs ever to be conducted-with findings to be released in the late fall.

“In today’s challenging economy, it’s important for the return on loyalty programs to deliver strong results,” says Dove director Ann Schmitt, who is leading the study. “It’s a hot topic for companies throughout the financial services, retail, and advertising industries. Companies are scrutinizing their programs more heavily because of difficult economic conditions.”

“Our goal is to find out what consumers really value, and what will drive card sign up and use,” says Schmitt. Sponsors of the research will receive Dove’s analysis and a CD of the primary data findings, enabling them to benchmark their programs against changing consumer preferences as well as competitive offerings. A partial list of questions to be answered by the study include:

* What card rewards do consumer value most?

* How do these rewards compare to the value consumers place on other card features?

* Where do card fees and interest rates fit in?

* What card rewards drive penetration, activation and usage?

* How do consumers hear about reward programs and what claims do they find the most believable?

Findings on these and other questions will be of particular value to the financial services, retail, and advertising industries.


ABNH 2Q/01

American Bank Note Holographics, Inc., a world leader in the origination, production and marketing of holograms for security applications, today announced financial results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2001.

Revenues for the second quarter of 2001 increased 12% to $5.1 million, compared with $4.6 million for the second quarter of 2000. Net income for the second quarter of 2001 was $0.2 million, or $0.01 per share, compared with net income of $0.1 million, or $0.01 per share for the second quarter of 2000. Revenues for the first six months of 2001 increased 7% to $10.3 million, from $9.6 million for the comparable period in 2000. Net income for the first six months of 2001 was $0.5 million, or $0.03 per share, compared with net income of $0.4 million, or $0.03 per share, for the first six months of 2000.

Kenneth H. Traub, president and CEO of ABNH, commented, “We are pleased to report continued improvement in our financial performance particularly as we continued to invest in new product development and marketing for each of our target markets during the second quarter. We believe these investments will stimulate our long term revenue and profit growth as we address the increasing demand for effective security solutions for the manufacturers and issuers of transaction cards, valuable documents, ID cards, pharmaceuticals and branded goods.”

About American Bank Note Holographics, Inc.

American Bank Note Holographics is a world leader in the origination, production, and marketing of holograms. The Company’s products are used primarily for security applications such as counterfeiting protection and authentication of transaction cards, identification cards, documents of value, consumer and industrial products as well as for packaging and design applications. ABNH is headquartered in Elmsford, NY. For more information, visit [][1]



Canadian Tire MasterCard Drives Growth

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited reported second quarter consolidated net earnings of $53.4 million, compared to the $49.0 million recorded in 2000, an 8.9 per cent increase. Earnings before interest expense, income tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also rose 8.9 per cent to $142.8 million from $131.1 million in the second quarter last year. Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.67, up 8.5 per cent from the $0.62 per share recorded in 2000.

“I am pleased to report that Canadian Tire Retail experienced exceptionally strong comparable store sales in a very challenging economic environment. During the quarter we also achieved double digit growth in total retail sales. These results reflect not only very strong seasonal sales, but also healthy increases across all of our key merchandising categories. In particular, we experienced very strong sales of non-promotional merchandise. Our results also reflect significant achievements in our focus on improving productivity and implementing strategic initiatives,” said Wayne Sales, president and chief executive officer. “All of our businesses contributed to our earnings performance during the quarter, including Retail, Financial Services and Petroleum,” Sales added.

Canadian Tire Associate Dealers reported strong second quarter retail sales up 12.9 per cent, a testament to customer acceptance of CTR’s product offering and a return to normal summer weather conditions compared to the same period last year. Comparable store sales increased by 7.0 per cent, the strongest quarterly increase in over seven years.

Major factors contributing to improvements in consolidated pre-tax earnings included a 12.0 per cent increase in pre-tax earnings in Financial Services reflecting cost reductions and productivity improvements, and a significant increase in pre-tax earnings in Petroleum. Increased shipments and revenues in Canadian Tire Retail helped offset the significant investments in growth initiatives. Increased expenses associated with these initiatives reduced pre-tax earnings during the quarter by $4 million for the continued development of CTR’s e-Commerce offering and $2 million for PartSource. The net result was a 1.9 per cent pre-tax earnings increase in CTR.

Canadian Tire finished the first six months with consolidated net earnings of $82.1 million, up 12.2 per cent from a year earlier. Earnings per share were $1.04, an 11.7 per cent increase over the first half of 2000. First half results reflect increased earnings in all businesses as well as the $8 million first quarter pre-tax gain on the sale of the third-party credit card receivables business in Financial Services.

Consolidated gross operating revenue for the second quarter was $1,499.3 million, up 7.2 per cent from the $1,398.2 million recorded in 2000. Major factors included strong retail sales contributing to a 7.3 per cent increase in shipments at Canadian Tire Retail, complemented by a 10.4 per cent increase in gross operating revenue in Petroleum. Revenues in Financial Services for the quarter were down 1.8 per cent, reflecting reduced revenue contributions due to the sale in the first quarter of the third-party receivables business. Consolidated gross operating revenue for the first half of 2001 was $2,634.6 million, an increase of 5.3 per cent over the $2,502.5 million recorded in the same period last year.


– Construction of the new Calgary Distribution Centre building has been substantially completed and handed off to Canadian Tire and GENCO, the third-party operator of this facility. Integration and system testing is underway and the Distribution facility will be fully operational commencing in the first quarter of 2002. This represents a key milestone in the development of the Corporation’s more cost-effective regional replenishment and multi-channel distribution system.

– Vendor supply chain service levels to the Corporation reached a record high during the second quarter. Service levels from the distribution centres to Canadian Tire Associate Stores were up 103 basis points over the same period last year.

– As part of the Customer Values initiative, web-based learning technology has been introduced in more than 90 per cent of Canadian Tire stores, with more than 100 learning modules in production delivering product knowledge and customer service training for store staff.

– Consumer traffic to, including unique visitors, continues to be very strong and Canadian Tire’s web store is one of the top ten e-Commerce sites in Canada.

– 12 new-format stores were opened during the quarter, bringing to 249 the total number of new-format stores that have been opened since the rebuilding program was initiated in 1994.

– PartSource completed the conversion and integration of Auto Village/Drivers stores to the PartSource format and banner.

– Financial Services made significant progress in its continued expansion of the Options MasterCard portfolio and average balances and ancillary credit products benefited during the quarter as a result.

“Canadian Tire’s quarterly results indicate that our aggressive approach to growing our business and reducing costs is paying off, and at the same time we are putting in place a strong foundation for our future growth and shareholder returns,” noted Sales.


Canadian Tire is committed to continually improving near-term earnings and performance by continuing to invest in existing programs which are designed to increase total and comparable store sales and to significantly reduce costs. At the same time, Canadian Tire is in the process of undertaking a comprehensive strategic review of the Corporation’s businesses and opportunities for long-term growth. The Corporation plans to communicate the direction of its Strategic Plan in late September.


The Corporation reaffirms its outlook for an increase in gross operating revenues in the range of six to eight per cent in 2001 and to increase consolidated net earnings in the range of seven to nine per cent. This excludes any gain from the securitization of credit charge receivables. Effective July 1, 2001, the Corporation adopted the new recommendations issued by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Accounting Guideline 12 “Transfers of Receivables”. As a result of the adoption of the new accounting rules, the Corporation will realize a gain of approximately $8 million to $9 million before taxes in the third quarter of 2001.


On August 2, 2001 the Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per share on each Common and Class A Non-Voting share. The dividend is payable on December 1, 2001 to holders of record on October 31, 2001.

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (TSE: CTR.a, CTR) – the country’s most shopped retailer – offers a unique mix of products and services through three distinct, yet inter-related businesses. Canadian Tire Retail and the Associate Dealers together form one of Canada’s best-known and most successful retailers, offering customers the convenience and leadership of three specialty stores under one roof – Automotive, Sports and Leisure, and Home Products. Canadian Tire Retail recently launched, offering Canadians a brand new way for customers to shop online for automotive, sports, leisure and home products. Canadian Tire Financial Services manages related financial products and services for retail and petroleum customers, and also markets other value-added products to our customers. Canadian Tire Petroleum is one of the country’s largest independent retailers of gasoline, with 203 outlets. With 443 Canadian Tire Associate Stores serving communities nationwide, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited and the Associate Dealers together employ more than 38,000 Canadians.



Bank of Korea reported the number of credit cards has surpassed 42 million and merchant acceptance locations have topped 5.2 million. The central bank also reported the daily average of credit card purchases exceeded 711 billion won in the first six months of this year, an increase of 93%. Cash advances doubled during the same period, with roughly 467 billion won being conducted every day. Last year the average was 223 billion won. The use of ATMs for bill payments grew 25% with 144 billion transactions. Last year, there were 115 billion transactions.



Electronic commerce and payments leader First Data Corp. announced its card issuing services subsidiary has signed an agreement with Orbiscom, Inc., the leading provider of controlled, secure payment technology, to offer its Controlled Payment Number technology to First Data issuing clients.

First Data’s 1,400 credit and debit card issuing clients will have access to the state-of-the-art technology that allows issuers to provide cardholders with an authenticated, unique card number for each payment or merchant instead of transmitting the cardholder’s actual card number. The numbers are specific to each transaction and issuers can provide their customers with the ability to select the dollar limit, expiration date and specific merchant site for use. Invalid after subsequent usage, the substitute numbers help issuers drive increased card usage while minimizing fraud and the costs associated with it.

“Through this partnership, First Data underscores its commitment to providing issuers with state-of-the-art technology to ensure cardholders feel confident and secure when making purchases online,” said Henry Tsuei, senior vice president of ventures and emerging technologies for First Data Resources. “We are very pleased to offer this new solution to our issuing clients and view it as another opportunity for them to build revenue as a result of increased card usage and improved customer retention.”

Issuers who have already adopted Orbiscom’s solution have experienced a minimum of 30 percent growth in the average ticket size of their online transactions. Sixty-two percent of Controlled Payment Number users become repeat customers. Additionally, Orbiscom’s solution offers issuers an option to promote and sell services personalized to each cardholder using a branded footprint located on the cardholders’ desktop as well as mobile devices.

“Orbiscom further strengthens its industry leadership position by acquiring a distribution point through which to market and license Controlled Payment Number technology directly to First Data’s card issuing base,” said George Jathas, executive vice president of business development, Orbiscom, Inc. “We are pleased to bring the benefits of our patented technology and live implementation experience to their issuers.”

Through its relationships with Discover, MBNA and Allied Irish Bank, Orbiscom is currently the only provider of Controlled Payment Number Technology with live implementations in the U.S. and Europe and has a potential customer base today of 100 million cardholders. Orbiscom’s technology is compatible with other security technologies such as smart cards, as well as all industry standard Association initiatives.

About First Data

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 27,000 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, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 109,000 locations in more than 186 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [][1].

About Orbiscom

Orbiscom is the creator of Controlled Payment Number Technology for online and real world card payment applications. Orbiscom’s flagship technology O-power (TM) enables card issuers, e-merchants, consumers and businesses to utilize online and wireless devices for controlled and secure debit and credit payments. Founded in early 1998 by professionals from the financial services, software and Internet industries, Orbiscom has operations in New York, Dublin, London, Brussels, Toronto and Sydney. The company has a highly experienced team of experts in software development, Internet banking systems, card processing systems and product marketing. Orbiscom has been granted patents on Controlled Payment Technology in the US, Europe and other countries worldwide. For more information about Orbiscom, go to: [][2].



Diners Group Event

Diners Club has launched the ‘Group Event System’ corporate card to enable companies to manage meeting and event-related expenses, combined with the advantages of a centrally-billed payment system with the convenience of individually-issued cards. The card also offers a 60 day grace period. Diners Club offers ‘Global Vision’, a Windows based MIS reporting tool, to maximize the value of a ‘Group Event System’ program by providing a means of identifying and analyzing all transactions. ‘GV’ offers 50 preformatted report templates and an infinite number of customized report variations.


July Retail Sales

Same-store retail sales grew 2.5 percent in July over the same period last year despite there being one less weekend shopping day and analysts’ reports of declining consumer confidence, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. The Southeast region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, the Northeast and the West. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 272,000 subscribing locations. Compiled on a calendar basis, TeleCheck’s index is based on a broad cross-section of retailers nationwide. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Denver-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC).

“Consumer spending is sustaining the moderate pace of our nation’s economic growth, indicated by July’s 2.5 percent increase in same-store retail sales,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Adviser. “Extreme temperatures in certain regions of the country could be encouraging consumers to flock to air-conditioned shopping malls. And slightly stronger sales in Houston suggest that many residents are purchasing items lost during June’s tragic flooding.” Sales rose 3.1 percent in the Southeast region. Sales climbed 4.2 percent in Louisiana, 4.0 percent in The Carolinas, 3.6 percent in Florida, 2.2 percent in Tennessee and 2.0 percent in Georgia. Sales increased 4.4 percent in New Orleans, 3.8 percent in Tampa, 3.6 percent in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, 3.2 percent in Orlando, 2.4 percent in Memphis, 2.3 percent in Atlanta and 2.0 percent in Nashville. The Southwest region’s sales increased 3.0 percent, with Oklahoma’s sales up 3.2 percent, Texas’ sales up 2.9 percent and Missouri’s sales up 2.1 percent. Houston saw sales jump 3.5 percent, Oklahoma City’s sales grew 3.4 percent, Tulsa saw sales rise 3.0 percent, Austin’s sales climbed 2.8 percent and San Antonio’s sales were up 2.7 percent. Sales jumped 2.5 percent in Dallas / Ft. Worth, 2.3 percent in St. Louis and 2.0 percent in Kansas City. In the Mid-Atlantic region, sales climbed 2.9 percent. New Jersey’s sales climbed 4.0 percent, Pennsylvania’s sales increased 3.1 percent, Maryland’s sales grew 2.0 percent and Virginia’s sales were up 1.8 percent. Philadelphia saw sales climb 3.3 percent, Pittsburgh’s sales grew 2.9 percent, Baltimore saw sales rise 1.6 percent and the District of Columbia’s sales rose 1.5 percent. In the Midwest, sales grew 2.5 percent. Ohio’s sales were up 3.4 percent, Wisconsin’s sales rose 2.5 percent, sales grew 2.3 percent in both Minnesota and Michigan, and Illinois’ sales rose 2.1 percent. Sales grew by 3.1 percent in Cleveland, 2.8 percent in Detroit, 2.7 percent in both Milwaukee and Minneapolis, and 2.0 percent in Chicago. The Northeast region’s sales grew 2.1 percent. Sales rose 2.3 percent in Massachusetts and 2.1 percent in New York State. New York City’s sales were up 2.4 percent and Boston’s sales increased 1.7 percent. Sales in the West grew 2.0 percent. Sales increased 3.4 percent in Hawaii, 2.5 percent in Colorado, 2.2 percent in California, 1.8 percent in Arizona, 1.2 percent in Oregon and 1.1 percent in Washington. Sales rose 2.4 percent in Los Angeles, 2.2 percent in San Diego, 2.1 percent in Denver, 1.8 percent in Portland, 1.6 percent in the Bay Area, 1.4 percent in Phoenix and 1.3 percent in Seattle. In 2000, TeleCheck authorized more than $163 billion in checks, representing 3.2 billion transactions. For more information about TeleCheck, visit the Internet site at [][1].




Fincentric Corporation, a global provider of web-
enabled financial services software, announced today that it has signed a
licensing and servicing agreement to implement its i-Wealthview Banking
for American Express Bank, the international banking subsidiary of American
Company. The software is being implemented in six countries.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with American Express Bank on its
international e-banking initiative,” commented Mike Cardiff, President and
Executive Officer of Fincentric. “Our software is designed to provide customer-
centricity and Customer Value Management capabilities that support
strategies for
increasing customer acquisition, retention and profitability.”

About Fincentric

Fincentric is a developer of software solutions for the global financial
services industry.
Fincentric, formerly Prologic Corporation, has more than 300 customers
Fincentric software products enable financial institutions to quickly
deploy solutions for
their converging financial service offerings, while also supporting
capabilities for
increasing customer profitability, customer acquisition, and retention. Through
strategic alliances with Microsoft, Compaq, and other international
partners, Fincentric
delivers complete, end-to-end, multi-channel wealth management solutions to
global financial institutions.

The i-Wealthview wealth management software system allows institutions to
their customers with a financial portal for managing their banking,
investments and
financial planning. Through personalized web pages, customers can view
account balances, pay bills, place stock trades, purchase insurance and
view their consolidated networth statements, regardless of where the
financial data originates. i-Wealthview’s Customer Value Management(tm)
capabilities enable the institution to recognize and maximize the value of
each customer, and facilitate strategies for increasing profitability
across their customer-base.


Unbanked Households

The Fannie Mae Foundation released a report this week that found the 12 million U.S. households with a banking relationship are turning more and more to fringe lenders to meet their basic financial services needs. Check cashers, payday lenders, pawnshops, rent-to-own stores, and related institutions now engage annually in at least 280 million transactions, generating $78 billion in gross revenue and $5.5 billion in fees. The report found that the number of check-cashing outlets has doubled in the past five years 11,000 outlets annually processing more than 180 million checks, worth roughly $60 billion. There are now 12,000 to 14,000 pawnshops operating and payday lenders have grown from 300 stores seven years ago to more than 8,000 in 1999.