InCharge Dumps Genus

InCharge Institute of America, Inc., the nation’s leading non-profit provider of credit counseling and financial education services, announced that it is divesting itself of Genus Credit Management. American Financial Solutions, a Seattle-based non-profit affiliated with the Seattle Community College Foundation, has assumed the Genus portfolio. This is the next step for InCharge Institute in its role as a consumer credit counseling industry leader.

This action marks the completion of a transition begun by InCharge(R) Institute in January 2000. At that time, InCharge(R) Institute decided to focus even more resources on its mission of championing financial responsibility and enabling personal financial wellness.

“The divestiture of the Genus portfolio is another important milestone for us as InCharge(R) Institute continues its leadership role within the credit counseling industry,” said David C. Jones, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of InCharge(R) Institute. “This transaction allows us to focus even more clearly on our core mission of providing personalized debt solutions and credit education to consumers in financial distress. It also allows us the opportunity to fully prepare to assist in implementing the new counseling and education requirements that are called for in the pending bankruptcy legislation.” Bankruptcy reform legislation, currently before Congress, mandates credit counseling for all bankruptcy petitioners and also creates a debtor education pilot program. These counseling and education services will be provided through Bankruptcy Credit Counseling & CertificationSM (BCCC), a member of the InCharge(R) Institute family of non-profit financial wellness companies.

“These types of requirements are going to place a large demand on the credit counseling industry,” said Jones. “InCharge(R) Institute is committed to providing consumers and bankruptcy professionals with the financial tools and counseling they need to successfully meet these new requirements if they become law.”

InCharge Sees Little Impact on Genus Clients

According to InCharge(R) Institute, the transaction will have little, if any, impact on Genus clients. Debt Management Program payments will continue to be processed by Amerix, which has been providing back office support for the portfolio for many years and is the only vendor with the capability to handle the large and complex Genus portfolio. To further ensure a smooth transition, InCharge(R) Institute will continue to provide client services until AFS is operating at full capacity. “We agreed to this transaction only after being assured that Genus clients would continue to receive the same high quality service to which they are accustomed,” Jones said. “We are confident that American Financial Solutions shares our values, our commitment to Genus clients and to our education mission.” The InCharge(R) Institute of America and its family of financial wellness providers was established to provide consumers with broader, more customized financial education and counseling. The InCharge Institute family includes Profina(SM) Debt Solutions, Concord(SM) Credit, Bankruptcy Credit Counseling & Certification(SM) (BCCC), and Accredited Bankruptcy Services(SM) (ABS). InCharge(R)Institute of America, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. Consumers can access InCharge Institute financial wellness services and information by calling 1-800-565-8953 or online at [][1].




Shared Technologies Cellular, Inc. announced that it will provide the activation, redemption and customer services for the new prepaid cellular program that rolled out on June 18th to more than 4,100 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide. U.S. South Communications, Inc., a subsidiary of InComm, an Atlanta-Based Telecommunications Provider and STC marketing partner, will provide the FastCard point of sale activation system for the cellular airtime cards. The new prepaid cellular program will be supported by special advertisements in CVS/pharmacy circulars that reach more than 35 million households each week. The first ad is scheduled to run on July 1, 2001.

Prepaid cellular services deliver the advantages of traditional cellular communications without the hassles. There are no contract requirements, no credit check, no security deposit and no sales assistance required. The customer simply purchases the prepaid cellular phone that includes 10 free minutes, calls the toll-free number, and follows the simple instructions to activate the phone. Customers then purchase ongoing usage at CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide (available in four convenient dollar amounts), to keep talking.

“Prepaid wireless provides communications without limits, and gives consumers a reliable alternative to traditional cellular,” said Anthony D. Autorino, chairman and chief executive officer of STC. “Innovative retailers such as CVS/pharmacy, see the potential for prepaid services that require little or no assistance from store personnel, yet bring customers coming back to their stores to purchase ongoing airtime. By eliminating the hassles of traditional cellular, prepaid wireless can be sold in virtually any retail environment.”

U.S. South/InComm is a leader in the telecommunications industry dedicated to providing tailored, full-service telecom solutions to the industry and to the customer. U.S. South/InComm’s superior switching and platform capabilities provide dependable and flexible networking to the industry’s leaders and affordable, easy calling solutions to the consumer. U.S. South/InComm products and services include full-service switching solutions, the FastCard POS and Veriphone POS activation systems, dedicated networks, IP telephony gateway services, and proprietary IVR platform for prepaid, promotional and private label.

STC is a nationwide Integrated Communications Provider that provides cellular coverage to more than 98% of the U.S. population. STC also markets other prepaid communication services include digital wireless, paging, long distance, Internet access and appliances, and local telephone access. Other STC business lines include cellular phone rental services and national activation services. STC sells direct to retail and in conjunction with various marketing partners.


Global Axcess Acquisitions

Global Axcess Corp. announced it has completed the acquisition of the Nationwide Money Services subsidiary of Cardservice International, a global provider of financial transaction services. Under terms of the transaction, Global Axcess also acquired EFT Integration (EFTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of NMS that specializes in ATM transaction processing and other services. Terms of the stock transaction were not disclosed.

Nationwide, based in Ponte Verda Beach, Florida, had approximately $9.2 million in annual revenues in 2000. The company is an independent provider of automatic teller machine (ATM) services in shopping centers and other locations and for small banks. It currently has more than 1,000 ATMs in operation, primarily in the Southeastern United States.

Michael Dodak, currently president and chief executive officer of Nationwide, joins Global Axcess in the newly created position of president – ATM services. He also becomes a member of the Global Axcess board of directors.

“In addition to expanding Global Axcess’ nationwide ATM network, the acquisition of Nationwide and EFTI adds significant technical experience and a full range of ATM network services and software product offerings to Global Axcess. This transaction is a critical milestone in our strategic plan to build and deliver a complete range of value-added financial services to consumers via interactive terminals,” said David Fann, chairman and chief executive officer of Global Axcess.

Nationwide is the developer and distributor of CashManager, WorkOrderManager and a suite of automated software products that enable ATM network providers to efficiently process financial transactions and maximize profitability. The company currently operates ATM networks for 18 banks in the Southeastern United States.

EFT Integration, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nationwide, provides switching and transaction process for ATMs and interactive kiosks. The company hosts a state-of-the-art Web-based transactional site for its customers. Various products under development include on-site delivery of full motion advertising, interactive advertising, and other financial services that are designed to increase the revenue derived from each ATM.

Dodak joined Nationwide in 1996 as controller and was promoted to chief executive officer in June 1997. Under Dodak’s guidance, Nationwide created a suite of automated software products and services that enable ATM network operators to achieve enhanced profitability. Prior to joining Nationwide, Dodak founded and served as chief financial officer to several companies. Earlier, he was a senior financial analyst for Litton Industries and served as regional controller for Damon Corporation, a large provider of clinical lab services Dodak has an MBA from the University of California Los Angeles.

Global Axcess, a recently formed company, plans to expand its network of ATMs nationwide and add related consumer financial services.



National Processing Company and ABN AMRO North America have formed a new joint venture involving ABN AMRO Merchant Services. ABN AMRO formed AAMS when it combined the merchant credit card processing businesses of its Michigan-based affiliate Michigan National Bank and Chicago’s LaSalle Bank. AAMS processed for over 34,000 merchants, generating approximately 115 million transactions and $7.0 billion in credit card sales in 2000. Under the terms of today’s agreement, NPC will provide AAMS with all merchant-processing services including both authorization and settlement of all card-based transactions. In addition, NPC has acquired a 70 percent interest in AAMS for $48.5 million with ABN AMRO North America, through its subsidiaries, owning the remaining shares. In North America, ABN AMRO is headquartered in Chicago and has subsidiaries that include LaSalle Bank in Chicago, Michigan National Bank and Standard Federal Bank in Michigan and EAB in New York. In February, ABN AMRO Bank reached an agreement to sell EAB to Citibank.


LML Revenues

LML Payment Systems Inc. filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001 with the Securities and Exchange Commission with respect to results for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2001. For more information regarding LML’s results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001, please see the Form 10-K as filed with the SEC.

LML is pleased to announce record fourth quarter revenues of approximately $2.9 million, an increase of approximately 10% or $267,342 from the fourth quarter last year and an increase of 12% from revenue of $2.6 million from the third quarter. LML had earlier reported first and second quarter revenues of $2.1 million and $2.5 million respectively.

Earnings before income taxes, interest expense, depreciation and amortization for the fourth quarter was a loss of ($1.3 million) or ($0.07) per share. Net loss for the fourth quarter was ($2.5 million) or ($0.15) per share which includes $1.2 million in non-cash amortization and depreciation expenses primarily associated with recent corporate acquisitions.

For the year ended March 31, 2001, LML earned record revenues of approximately $10.1 million, an increase of approximately 237% or $7.1 million from last year. Earnings before income taxes, interest expense, depreciation and amortization for the year was a loss of ($1.9 million) or ($0.11) per share. Net loss was ($5.2 million) or ($0.34) per share which includes $3.1 million in non-cash amortization and depreciation expenses primarily associated with recent corporate acquisitions.


— LML reports three consecutive quarters of revenue growth for the fiscal year 2001.

— LML reports record revenue of $2.9 million for the fourth quarter

— LML reports record revenue of $10.1 million for the year

The Corporation, through its subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp., is a financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including Electronic Check Conversion (whereby paper checks are converted into electronic transactions), electronic check verification, electronic check re-presentment (whereby returned paper checks are re-presented for payment electronically), and primary and secondary check collection to supermarkets, grocery stores, multilane retailers, convenience stores and other national, regional and local retailers. We also specialize in providing selective routing, including real-time monitoring of check, debit, credit and EBT transactions for authorization and settlement through our flagship transaction processing product REPS (Retail Electronic Payment System). The Corporation’s intellectual property estate, owned by subsidiary LML Patent Corp, includes new U.S. Patent No. 6,164,528 regarding Internet checking transactions, in addition to U.S. Patent No. 5,484,988 which describes a “Checkwriting point of sale system,” which, through a centralized database and authorization system, is capable of providing and administering various electronic payment services for customers and businesses. Also included in our intellectual property estate is a recently received Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a new patent based upon United States Patent Application Serial No. 09/562,303. The new patent describes corporate checks and electronic fund transfers (EFT) and relates to existing U.S. Patent No. 6,164,528 and U.S. Patent No. 5,484,988 (described above).



The first TV business news show devoted to the payment card industry was launched this morning. The half-hour length, digitally produced ‘CardWebTV’ program, can be viewed as an on-line or off-line multimedia stream or via a standard VHS tape. The June 2001 edition of the new, monthly payment card video magazine, covers more than 35 significant news stories, showcasing several new products unveiled at the CTST convention in Las Vegas during May. Among the new products with featured video demos in the first edition of ‘CardWebTV’: Thales ‘P3-Server’; Wearlogic ‘SmartWear e-Wallet’; Schlumberger ‘e-gate’; NavyCash smart card; Giesecke & Devrient ‘Foil Card’; American Banknote Holographics ‘Holocard’; Cubic ‘Nextfare’; SCM Microsystems ‘E-25’ reader; Comsense ‘ComDot Cards’ and Mist ‘Freedom’ terminals. The new multimedia business news show is produced by, Inc in association with San Francisco-based BlueJag Corporation. The program is hosted by Robert McKinley, CEO of Future editions of CardWebTV ([][1]) will feature on-location interviews with top executives as well as roundtable discussions with industry leaders. will release a DVD version of the program by the end of the summer and is currently reviewing proposals for cable broadcasting distribution. Viewing ‘CardWebTV’ online requires broadband Internet access and either ‘Quicktime’, ‘Windows Media’, or ‘Real Player’ software. A program trailer, available to view at lower speed connections, will be available later this week.



BofA Desoer

Bank of America Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis announced that Amy W. Brinkley has been named chairman, Credit Policy, with responsibility for credit and market risk management activities across all business lines. At the same time, Lewis announced that Barbara J. Desoer has been named Consumer Products executive, succeeding Brinkley with responsibility for managing several of the company’s major product lines and channels that serve customer needs.

Brinkley, who will also carry the title of deputy Corporate Risk Management executive, will report to F. William Vandiver Jr., Corporate Risk Management executive. “I am very excited about Amy assuming this new role,” Vandiver said, “and look forward to working closely with her in building the premier risk management practice in the industry.”

Brinkley will also serve on the corporation’s Risk & Capital committee, which is comprised of the eight top executives in the company.

“Amy Brinkley and Bill Vandiver form a strong team that will take risk management to the next level for the company,” Lewis said. “Amy combines a strong knowledge of credit risk management gained earlier in her career with a demonstrated track record of successfully managing large business portfolios that encompass a variety of consumer and commercial credit risk. Her broad business skills also will play a big role in influencing how we manage risk holistically.”

Desoer has been the company’s Marketing director since 1999. She takes on responsibility for delivery of the full range of product-related businesses, including the card services, real estate, community development and consumer finance activities that make up the Consumer Products organization.

Reporting to Lewis, she also will oversee rapidly expanding Bank of America self-service delivery capabilities for customers seeking the convenience of doing business over the telephone and Internet. Like Brinkley, Desoer will serve on the Risk & Capital Committee. She also will continue to oversee the company’s Marketing activities until her successor can be identified. An external search is now under way.

The two executives each have more than 20 years of increasingly responsible leadership experience with the company. Prior to her six years as Marketing director, Brinkley headed the Consumer Credit Policy area for six years after establishing that function in 1987. Prior to her service as Marketing director, Desoer’s experience includes heading the Northern California banking group, and before that, a wide variety of commercial lending and credit administration assignments.

About Bank of America

One of the world’s leading financial services companies, Bank of America is committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and the ingenuity of its people, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives. The company enables customers to do their banking and investing whenever, wherever and however they choose through the nation’s largest financial services network, including approximately 4,400 domestic offices and 13,000 ATMs, as well as 38 international offices serving clients in 190 countries, and an Internet Web site that provides online access for more than 3 million customers, more than any other bank. Bank of America stock (ticker: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges. The company’s Web site is [][1]. News, speeches and other corporate information may be found at [][2].




AT&T Canada Inc.,
Canada’s largest national competitive broadband business services provider and
competitive local exchange carrier and a leader in Internet and eBusiness
services, today announced an agreement with Amex Bank of Canada to provide
savings on communications services to small business merchants that welcome
the American Express Card in their business.

For a limited time, independent businesses who accept the American
Express card will receive preferential rates for local, long distance, calling
card and Internet services through AT&T Canada. The offer is in addition to
AT&T Canada’s current relationship with American Express, signed in March
2001, through which holders of the American Express Corporate Card for Small
Business and the American Express Costco Corporate Card for Small Business
receive ongoing savings on an array of communications services.

“Our many small business Cardmembers are enjoying considerable
convenience and savings on their telecommunications needs through this
partnership, and we’re very pleased to bring similar benefits to our network
of credit card merchants,” says Trevor Van Nest, Director of Small Business
Services for Amex Bank of Canada. “These merchants, typically restaurants and
shops not affiliated with a national organization, are seeking ways to access
high quality telecom and Internet services at affordable rates. With AT&T
Canada, they can benefit from the value usually reserved for large companies.”
“This market segment has distinct communications needs and we’ve
developed considerable expertise bringing our industry-leading services to
this important market,” says Stuart Cordrey, Vice-President, Small Business,
AT&T Canada. “We’re proud to offer these services to Amex’s customers and
small business partners so they can compete and succeed.”

About AT&T Canada AT&T Canada is the country’s largest competitive
national broadband business services provider and competitive local exchange
carrier and a leading provider of Internet and eBusiness services. With over
18,500 route kilometres of local and long haul broadband fiber optic network
and world class data, Internet, web hosting and eBusiness enabling
capabilities, AT&T Canada provides a full range of integrated communications
products and services to help Canadian businesses communicate and compete
locally, nationally and globally. AT&T Canada Inc. is a public company with
its stock traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol TEL.B and on
the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol ATTC. Visit AT&T Canada’s
web site,, for more information about the company.

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex
Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American
Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of
the American Express Company, which provides a range of financial and travel
related services for consumers and companies. Amex Bank of Canada is the
issuer of American Express Cards in Canada. Amex Canada Inc. operates the
Travel Service Network, Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheque divisions in
Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in
1853 and now employs over 3,000 Canadians coast to coast.



VISA International announced this morning it is teaming with the GCPS (Global Commercial Payment Solutions) network to help multinational corporations and governmental organizations seamlessly manage employee expenses, procurement, and purchasing data on a global basis. The GCPS partnership includes Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, BNP Paribas, Barclays Plc, and Santander Direkt. GCPS offers the global ability to issue VISA corporate and purchasing payment services, with a single point of contact and pricing, integrated with commercial banking services, across borders and continents. GCPS also enables multinational clients to enjoy a single contract, improved market coverage, global data management services, and consistent service levels. The program has coverage in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Austria, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. By the end of 2001, the program plans to expand to Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy.



American Express and HSBC Argentina announced the launch of the HSBC American Express Card. Under the agreement between the two institutions, HSBC Argentina will issue American Express-branded credit cards denominated in Argentinean Pesos and U.S. Dollars. The new Cards are accepted on American Express’ global merchant network.

The agreement represents a unique opportunity for HSBC and American Express to reinforce their existing alliance in Latin America, a cooperation that includes a similar card-issuing Partnership with HSBC Brasil.

“The launch of HSBC Argentina American Express Cards marks yet another important step for American Express in its commitment to the Argentinean market,” said Gonzalo G. Ruiz, Vice President and General Manager, American Express Global Network Services, Latin America and the Caribbean. “In just one year American Express has built a network of five issuers in the country. As a result, American Express is in its strongest position ever to provide a far greater group of customers in Argentina with the opportunity to experience and benefit from the service of an American Express Card. I am confident this new partnership will combine American Express’ global strength and the expertise of HSBC Argentina to bring superior value to Argentinean customers.”

The HSBC Argentina American Express Card, which carries the American Express Blue Box logo at the bottom right corner, is designed, issued and serviced by HSBC Argentina. Cardmembers will enjoy a broad spectrum of distinctively value-added benefits, including

· 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week customer service;

· Travel assistance at more than 1,700 American Express Travel Service Offices in 130 countries;

· Cash access at more than 500,000 ATMs in American Express’ global network;

· Medical and legal assistance;

· Travel accident insurance;

· Purchase protection;

· Direct debit of monthly balance from HSBC Argentina checking or saving account;

· Year-end summary for HSBC American Express Gold Cardmembers;

· Card loss/theft insurance; and

· Special access to HSBC Argentina banking services.

Under the agreement, HSBC Argentina is responsible for all operations supporting the new Cards including billing and payment systems, accounting, customer servicing, credit management and charge authorizations, as well as marketing the Cards in Argentina.

American Express is aggressively pursuing a strategy of opening its merchant network and card product portfolio to other card issuers around the world, as a major growth initiative for the company. By leveraging its global infrastructure and the powerful appeal of the American Express brand, the company aims to become the premier global network and gain wider reach to customers worldwide. In the last several years it has developed 76 card-issuing relationships in more than 70 countries. In Latin America alone, American Express has established 23 such alliances in 16 markets, allowing the company successfully to build its business in the region.

HSBC Argentina belongs to the HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services institutions. Headquartered in London, the HSBC Group has more than 6,500 offices in 79 countries. HSBC Argentina is one of the most important financial institutions in Argentina, with 160 network branches throughout the country. Its services range from consumer and commercial banking to general, health and life insurance.

Founded in 1850, American Express Company is a diversified worldwide financial, network and travel services provider. Its presence in Argentina dates back to 1918. Today, American Express is a global leader in charge and credit cards, travelers cheques, financial planning, travel, investment products, insurance and international banking.


SchlumbergerSema Falcon

HNC Software and SchlumbergerSema announced this morning a partnership agreement to integrate HNC’s ‘Falcon’ payment card fraud detection system, as part of its SS’s ‘Essentis’ new card management system. The first ‘Falcon’ implementation within ‘Essentis’ is planned to take place at UBS Card Center, the card issuing organization of UBS, one of Europe’s largest banks. The HNC/SchlumbergerSema alliance will significantly expand Falcon’s availability to a broad array of card issuers in Europe and Asia. ‘Essentis’ is a solution that offers the capability to manage a variety of payment card products and operate with multiple currencies and languages. ‘Essentis’ exploits the latest technological advances to deliver competitive advantage to card issuers by offering speed to market of new products, customer focus, the ability to process chip cards, and to utilize new delivery channels such as the Internet and wireless devices.



A number of leading global banks including Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Barclays Plc, Santander Direkt, and U.S. Bancorp have launched a new joint partnership–GCPS, L.L.C.–to provide corporate and purchasing products to multinational clients worldwide. GCPS is teaming with Visa International to deliver new solutions to help multinational corporations and governmental organisations seamlessly manage employee expenses, procurement, and purchasing data on a global basis.

Today’s multinational clients–including large corporations and government agencies that operate across several countries–spend the equivalent of trillions of pounds around the world for procurement of goods and services as well as employee expenses for travel, entertainment, and supplies. Spending can involve thousands of employees in hundreds of different offices. Such multinational clients require increasingly innovative and flexible commercial products and services. Yet few financial institutions today have global capabilities to issue and service payment products, relying rather on local partners in other countries to handle issuing, processing and service functions on behalf of their multinational customers.

As an unprecedented consortium of leading commercial lenders, GCPS brings a new level of service and convenience to the world’s largest organisations by offering the global ability to issue Visa corporate and purchasing payment services, with a single point of contact and pricing, integrated with commercial banking services, across borders and continents. GCPS also enables multinational clients to enjoy a single contract, improved market coverage, global data management services, and consistent service levels.

“GCPS provides its partnership network with the expanded global capability necessary to thrive in today’s global economy,” said Jeff Rankin, chairman of GCPS and senior vice president, Commercial Card Services, Bank of America. “While we all have our own company and business unit priorities, this alliance, built in the spirit of co-operation and flexibility, will allow each of us to provide a broader range of products and services to our individual clients.”

“Visa is keen to help our Member financial institutions give their multinational customers the most effective payment solutions, with the best data management, and the flexibility to use point-of-sale, telephone, wireless, Internet, and other payment modes any time, any where, any way,” said Roger Swales of Visa International. “We are pleased to be helping GCPS bring to its multinational customers the value of our premier brand, acceptance at more than 22 million locations worldwide, and our global network’s unmatched reliability and capacity.”

Note To Editors

About GCPS, L.L.C.

GCPS, a global commercial payment solution, is a for-profit, limited liability company formed in May 2001. Through its founding partners, which include Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Barclays Plc, Santander Direkt, U.S. Bancorp, and Visa International, the GCPS goal is to deliver global solutions for issuing commercial products and services to multinational clients.

About Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria

BBVA is a leading financial group in Spain and Latin America. With a market value of over 50 billion euros, it is the second largest group in market capitalisation in the euro area. Established in 37 countries, it has the largest branch network under a single brand in the world, with nearly 9,000 branches and more than 11,000 ATMs worldwide. The BBVA Group employs more than 100,000 people, and has a market share of about 20 per cent in Spain and 10 per cent in Latin America, where it is a leader in the banking, private pension funds and e-banking markets. Finally, it is the largest Visa issuer in the Latin America Region.

About Bank of America

One of the world’s leading financial services companies, Bank of America is committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and the ingenuity of its people, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives. The company enables customers to do their banking and investing whenever, wherever and however they choose through the nation’s largest financial services network, including approximately 4,400 domestic offices and 13,000 ATMs, as well as 38 international offices serving clients in 190 countries, and an Internet Web site that provides online access for more than 3 million customers, more than any other bank. Bank of America stock (ticker BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges, and the company’s Web site is

About Barclays Plc

Barclays PLC is one of the largest financial services groups in the United Kingdom and is a leading provider of co-ordinated global services to multinational corporations and financial institutions in the world’s main financial centres. Barclays, through subsidiary Company Barclaycard, is also the UK’s leading issuer of corporate charge cards. A member of Visa, Company Barclaycard is welcomed at more than 613,000 places in the UK and over 22 million worldwide. No other charge card is accepted in more places.

About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas is the leading banking group listed in France. It is number one in France in corporate credit cards with 100,000 units currently issued. It is ranked number two in the euro area in terms of earnings (EUR4.124 billion in 2000). BNP Paribas employs 80,000 people worldwide and has one of the world’s largest international networks, extending across 85 countries. BNP Paribas is a major player in retail banking, corporate and investment banking, private banking, asset management, securities services, insurance and private equity. Eighty of the world’s top one hundred companies have chosen BNP Paribas as their banker.

About Santander Direkt

Santander Direkt Bank AG was established in 1994 as the legal successor to Banco Santander S.A. VISA Card Services, and is now an affiliated company within the Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH) group. BSCH is one of the top 10 banks in Europe. With around 726,000 customer relationships in the credit card, financial investment and loans segments, Frankfurt-based Santander Direkt Bank is one of the largest German direct banks. It regards itself as an innovative provider of financial services for specialised card and bank products.

About U.S. Bancorp

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, with assets in excess of US$160 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,231 banking offices and 5,208 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of Firstar Banks and U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at and Firstar Bank at

About Visa International

Visa is one of the world’s leading payments brands and the largest payments system worldwide. Visa-branded cards generate almost US$2 trillion in annual volume and are accepted at over 22 million locations around the world. The Visa organisation plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet-based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce–the ability to conduct commerce anytime, anywhere, over any type of device.