CIBC announced a new co-branded VISA card
to coincide with the launch of Hudson’s Bay Company’s new loyalty rewards
program, HBC Rewards.
The new credit card – the CIBC HBC Rewards VISA card – will expand and
enhance CIBC’s popular existing Club Z VISA card by offering cardholders the
opportunity to collect HBC Rewards points while shopping at over 20 million
merchants worldwide.

Effective May 2, 2001, the CIBC Club Z VISA card will automatically act
as the CIBC HBC Rewards VISA card which will offer cardholders all of the
existing benefits of the Zellers’ Club Z loyalty program as well as the
expanded benefits of the new HBC Rewards Program. In the coming months, new
cards featuring the CIBC HBC Rewards VISA name will be issued to new
cardholders, and as existing CIBC Club Z VISA cards naturally expire.
Earning HBC Rewards points is easy. The new CIBC HBC Rewards VISA will
reward cardholders with fifteen points for every dollar spent on the card at
more than 20 million merchants worldwide.

As an exclusive benefit, CIBC Club Z/HBC Rewards VISA cardholders will
automatically receive HBC Rewards Gold status. This means that cardholders
will earn double the points for their purchases at any of the Hudson’s Bay
Company family of stores – the Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters and – for
a total of 50 base points plus 50 bonus points. HBC Rewards Gold members will
also receive up to 20 per cent off the regular number of HBC Rewards points
required for reward redemption in the catalogue.

“Today’s announcement is exciting and great news for CIBC Club Z VISA
cardholders,” said Ernie Johannson, vice president of marketing and business
development, CIBC card products division. “This new VISA card program enables
our customers to earn more HBC Rewards points faster, and adds more value to
their shopping experience at all of the HBC family of stores.”

“The CIBC HBC Rewards VISA card is a critical component to the new HBC
Rewards program,” added George Heller, president and CEO, Hudson’s Bay
Company. “This enhanced relationship between HBC, Canada’s largest department
store retailer, and CIBC, the Canadian leader in the co-branded credit card
industry, builds on our past success to extend the reach of Canada’s biggest
rewards program.”

The Zellers Club Z program was launched in 1986 and the CIBC Club Z VISA
card was introduced in 1995 by CIBC. CIBC currently has over 500,000 CIBC Club
Z VISA cardholders.

About Hudson’s Bay Company

Hudson’s Bay Company, established in 1670, is Canada’s largest department
store retailer and oldest corporation. The Company provides Canadians with the
widest selection of goods and services available through numerous retail
channels including more than 500 stores led by the Bay and Zellers chains.
Hudson’s Bay Company is Canada’s fifth largest employer with 70,000 associates
and has operations in every province in Canada.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution offering more than
eight million personal banking and business customers a full range of products
and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches
and offices across Canada, in the United States and around the world. CIBC is
also Canada’s number one credit card issuer, offering the most successful co-
branded and loyalty concept cards in the country. To find other news releases
and information about CIBC, visit our Media Centre at


Accesspoint Expansion

Accesspoint Corp. announced a major expansion of their check services platform, including access to a fraud prevention “check verification” database to assist merchants in determining whether or not to accept a check or ACH transaction, and the immediate cash conversion of checks for the company’s merchant clients.

The market opportunities in check processing are almost three times larger then the size of the credit and debit market with an estimated 68 billion checks written annually by Americans. The majority of these drafts are processed through labor intensive and costly methods.

Accesspoint’s services will now provide merchants the same fraud security they enjoy in accepting credit cards, with the ability to immediately turn their checks into cash. It will also help them to avoid the unnecessary fees associated with the receipt of bad checks, which continues to be a material cost and drain upon merchants.

“Security and cash flow are two of the prime concerns for our merchant customers,” said Tom Djokovich, CEO of Accesspoint. “These Accesspoint solutions serve as another logical step in the expansion of our mainstream business services. The integration of Internet payment technologies with retail payment solutions is the cornerstone of our business model.

“The addition of these services serves our brand well at establishing Accesspoint as a market leader in the payment processing industry.” This new function will pass data through a database of more than 10 million records to make acceptance recommendations based upon a consumer’s check writing history, check return rates, and velocity scoring (determining if a transaction is likely to be fraudulent based upon existing open transactions). Access to the fraud prevention database will be made available through the use of Accesspoint’s Transaction Manager and Merchant Manager Enterprise products for MO/TO (mail order/telephone order) and Internet merchants, as well as through the use of electronic check readers at retail locations and should be available within one to two weeks.

In addition to Accesspoint’s current credit card and other non-cash processing services, is Accesspoint’s new check conversion/truncation service. This service will allow a merchant to take a paper check at retail or any off-line business location, and have it converted into an electronic draft instantly. This reduces merchant processing costs, decreases processing times, and improves clients’ cash flows. Check readers and terminals will dial into Accesspoint’s processing center and submit the check for electronic settlement from the point of sale.

This transaction can then be tracked from within Accesspoint’s Transaction Manager online interface making the management of all non-cash transactions more efficient and less costly for the merchant.

About Accesspoint

Accesspoint has been serving thousands of merchants nationwide since 1995 and has combined its mature Application Services technology platform with its unique relationships with Chase Merchant Services LLC and First National Bank of Omaha to provide bundled payment acceptance and business management services. These programs provide customers with multiple payment acceptance capabilities including credit card and check transaction, a fully operational e-commerce and business management Web site, and a central Web-based management system for servicing both the brick-and-mortar and Web-based sides to each business.



Scotiabank and Citibank Canada announced that they have joined forces to offer
businesses the convenience of one-window
access to Visa and MasterCard clearing. This new service will enable Citibank
and Scotiabank merchants to process both MasterCard and Visa credit card
charges through a single bank account.

“At Scotiabank, we are always looking for ways to make it easier for our
business customers to do business,” said Albert Wahbe, Chairman and CEO of e-
Scotia and Scotiabank’s Executive Vice-President Electronic Banking. “This new
service offers the convenience and simplicity of one stop shopping for
merchants to process both MasterCard and Visa credit cards with just one bank

Scotiabank and Citibank Canada will provide a simplified financial
settlement service to enable all Visa and MasterCard funds to be delivered
into merchants’ Scotiabank deposit accounts. Scotiabank Visa merchants who
also wish to obtain MasterCard status will further benefit by receiving fast
tracked approvals and favourable rates from Citibank Canada.

“This program is another example of Citibank’s commitment to offering new
and innovative products to our customers,” said Tom Jones, President, Citibank
Canada Bankcards. “By making the clearing process easier for merchants, we’re
helping Canadian businesses save time so that they can focus more on doing

Today’s announcement also included the sale of Citibank’s merchant Visa
portfolio to Scotiabank. Citibank was required to divest its Visa portfolio
due to last year’s acquisition of Canada Trust’s MasterCard credit portfolio.
It will remain business as usual for the Citibank Visa merchants being
transferred to Scotiabank.

Scotiabank (TSEBNS) is one of North America’s premier financial
institutions, with more than $273 billion in assets and approximately 52,000
employees world-wide, including affiliates. It is also Canada’s most
international bank with more than 2,000 branches and offices in over 50
countries. Scotiabank is on the World Wide Web at

Citibank Canada is Canada’s second largest Schedule II bank and is part
of Citigroup (NYSE C), the premier global financial services company.
Citigroup provides some 100 million consumers, corporations, governments and
institutions in 100 countries with a broad range of financial products and
services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment
banking, insurance, securities brokerage and asset management. The 1998 merger
of Citicorp and Travelers Group brought together such brand names as Citibank,
Travelers, Salomon Smith Barney, CitiFinancial and Primerica under Citigroup’s
trademark red umbrella. Additional information about Citigroup can be found at



Home Capital Group Inc. announced results for the first quarter. These
were generated by the
Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Home Trust Company.

Home Capital Group’s strong earnings momentum continued in the first
quarter of 2001 with exceptional growth in earnings, earnings per share and
total assets. This represents the 23rd consecutive quarter in which earnings
exceeded those of the previous three months. These results were generated by
the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Home Trust Company.
For the period ended March 31, 2001, net earnings rose 38.6% to
$3,218,215. Earnings per share were $0.22, a substantial growth of 37.5% over
the first quarter of 2000. Return on equity climbed to 25.3% in the first
quarter, up from 22.4% recorded last year. Total assets were $947,698,088, an
increase of 26.6%.

Net impaired mortgage loans as at March 31, 2001 represented 0.48%
compared to 0.39% at December 31, 2000 and 0.26% at March 31, 2000. Although
there has been an increase in impaired loans, actual charge-offs during the
first quarter of 2001 were $41,000 compared to $135,000 at March 31, 2000. We
have increased the General Reserve from $3,249,000 at March 31, 2000 to
$4,530,000 at the end of the first quarter 2001.
Each element of the Company’s business has performed very well during the
period under review. Expense control was a key factor in the quarter, as our
productivity ratio was an extraordinary 40.3%.
Our core residential first mortgage business recorded strong and steady
growth. The demand for housing remained strong, and our interest rate spreads

Shareholder value was further enhanced during the first quarter by the
issuance of our second Mortgage-Backed Security in the amount of $14.5
million. Securitization provides a capital-efficient means of increasing our
mortgage lending activity and generating additional earnings.
Subsequent to the end of the first quarter the number of Home Trust VISA
accounts passed the 10,000 mark. In March 2001, Home Trust entered into a
credit card referral agreement with the Royal Bank of Canada whereby certain
applicants declined for a Royal Bank VISA will be offered a Home Trust VISA
product. We expect that this arrangement will assist the Company in continuing
the growth of our credit card portfolio.

The Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.02 per share
payable on May 10, 2001 to shareholders of record at the close of business on
April 13, 2001.

Canada is experiencing somewhat softer economic conditions and we are
managing our business with this in mind. However, we have not seen any
negative effects on the growth or profitability of the Company to date. We
remain vigilant and are confident that our well regarded underwriting
techniques and risk management procedures will serve us well in any downturn.

We expect our robust earnings momentum in the first quarter to continue
throughout the balance of 2001. It is clear that there is a strong demand in
the marketplace for a national alternative to traditional financial
institutions and our continued success reflects this marketplace need. We are
on track to meet or exceed our stated goals for the year.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to invite all
shareholders to attend the Company’s Annual General Meeting to be held at the
Design Exchange, Trading Floor, Second Floor, 234 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario
on Wednesday, June 6, 2001 at 1100 a.m. local time. Shareholders and guests
are also invited to join Directors and Management for lunch and refreshments


H&S Promotes Meyer

Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd., an industry leading software solutions company for Internet financial services, announced today its appointment of Steven Meyer as Senior Vice President.

Mr. Meyer has been serving as Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd.’s vice president of online banking since 1998. As senior vice president, he will direct the operational and administrative aspects of Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd.’s online banking system as well as its mobile finance and electronic commerce.

Prior to joining Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd., he directed software development programs for Boeing, CAP Gemini and bioMerieux. Before his technological career, Mr. Meyer served as an officer and fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

“Steve in an integral part of the executive management team,” said Rick Hamilton, chief executive officer of Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd. “His broad experience in the technology sector enables Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd. to continue providing functional, secure and quality products to customers.”

Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd. delivers solid business features and functionality to support web-enabled and wireless applications for Internet financial services. Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd. is the only company in the market to offer both a native OFX online banking system for the retail, corporate and small business markets and a companion product, a comprehensive account analysis billing system, which provides commercial customers with detailed analysis statements delivered by traditional printed statements or via the Internet. Founded in 1985, Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd. is headquartered in St. Louis, MO.

To learn more about Hamilton and Sullivan, Ltd., visit our Web site at [][1].




First Card cardholders can now look at their transactions and print out
invoices, bills and the like by themselves.
Resco has created a self-service solution which consists of a website and an
interactive voice response function, both with direct links to First Card’s
critical business systems. Travel expense accounts can now be put together
in a
much more flexible way.

First Card is a product of Nordbanken Finans. The bank has now raised the
of service for its card customers by launching a self-service solution. The
solution is both an office on the Internet (the First Card Internet office) as
well as an interactive voice response function with services and information.
The purpose of the solution is to simplify everyday business for First Card
customers. Many of them travel a lot with their jobs and need to be able to be
in contact by accessing information about their card and its transactions
around the clock. The next step will be in June when the website is expanded
with a travel bookings function.
“We were keen to create a solution that gives the greatest possible benefit to
First Card’s customers, but also a solution that is simple and cost-effective
for Nordbanken Finans themselves to develop further,” says Jan-Olof Engstrom,
the Nordbanken Finans Account Manager at Resco.

The solution that Resco has put together consists of application logic as well
as links from the web interface and interactive voice response system to First
Card’s critical business systems. Resco has constructed the web interface to
the Internet office and Telia is responsible for the interface to the
interactive voice response system. Resco is also behind the work that went
the concept now expressed by this self-service solution, where BEA Systems
products have been featured.

From you can go into the Internet
office where cardholders can get a summary of their card purchases, can
find the services they want to use and can get some tips about what First Card
can offer. The possibility of checking transactions back in time, sorting card
purchases by type of purchase, getting details about each purchase and
out bills are examples of the functions available. Instead of calling customer
service the First Card cardholder gets his or her tasks performed directly.
Encryption is taken care of when you first log in.

About Resco AB

RESCO is an ideas company based on a coming together of the most experienced
people from several lines of business. We offer technology, which integrates
business systems and the web, and communication, which strengthens
relationships and builds up brand names. What all the people who work at Resco
have in common is that they are committed to what they are doing and would
to challenge their clients to go down new paths. We are specialists with a
special feeling for context. This means that we can see the big picture. We
have long experience. Resco started in 1982 and is currently listed on the
Stockholm Stock Exchange. We have offices in Sweden, Finland and Germany. With
550 specialists in business development, business systems, web technology,
design, architecture and market communications we occupy a unique position in
the market. We want to contribute towards lifting business to a higher plane,
making all business into business for people. Visit our website at



Axiomatique International, Maxxus International, SoftCARD Systems
and Welcome Real-time announced an agreement to adopt a common
interoperable smart transaction platform. Smart transactions are traditional
credit or debit card transactions enhanced with chip based revenue boosting
services such as loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, gift
certificates, tickets and cash back.

In the same way that interoperability is achieved via payment acceptance
symbols (such as Visa or MasterCard) and ATM acceptance symbols (such as Plus
or Cirrus), interoperability for chip based value added transactions is
achieved if card issuers use a common smart card data and protocol format.
Axiomatique International, Maxxus International, SoftCARD Systems and Welcome
Real-time will adapt their loyalty and couponing applications to function with
the same XLSmart card applet and will promote XLSmart as the preferred
acceptance symbol for smart transactions. The companies will continue to offer
competing software for terminals and other card reader devices, and competing
technical and marketing services.

Tai-Toon Lim, President and CEO of Axiomatique International said Thanks to
this initiative, retailers, card issuers and loyalty operators will be able to
design their rewards programs without worrying about the underlying technology
and without being locked into specific suppliers systems.

Barbara Anderson, President and CEO of Maxxus International said When
upgrade their point of sale equipment to accept smart cards, they want to be
certain that the new equipment will work with cards issued by many different
banks, not only for payment but also for their loyalty and frequent buyer
programs. Interoperability provides that assurance.

Ken Powell, President and CEO of SoftCARD Systems said This initiative is
to delivering the smart card s promise of greater convenience. Customers can
use their smart cards for multiple applications and other value added services
at a large number of retail establishments .

Aneace Haddad, President and CEO of Welcome Real-time said Interoperability
between our companies systems will significantly reduce risks for our
and make it easier for card issuers and merchants to move forward, expanding
the market for all participants.

The XLSmart applet allows card issuers to issue multi-application smart cards
without worrying about which application providers will use them later.
Likewise, merchants will be able to run their programs on XLSmart cards issued
by many different card issuers. The XLSmart card applet provides services
enabling multiple application providers to each have the ability to manage

easily and securely their own data in the card s memory. The applet
provides a
standardized way to securely store the application providers data in a
dedicated part of the card s memory. Each application provider is free to
define the format of his data, so providers may develop and offer very
different features and functions.

The companies will establish an interoperability committee consisting of
representatives of each company as well as users such as card issuers,
merchants and loyalty operators. The interoperability committee will provide a
forum for definition of issues such as shared data format standards, applet
enhancements, etc.

About Axiomatique International

Axiomatique s ( loyalty
management system powers virtually all of the multi-function smart card
programs deployed in Asia. Axiomatique s system is used with smart cards
by banks, such as Standard Chartered, Chase Manhattan, Sumitomo Credit
and others, in addition to cards issued by a variety of retail consortiums and
loyalty operators. Axiomatique International, headquartered in Singapore, was
founded in 1997.

About Maxxus International

Maxxus International s ( smart
card applications have been installed in over 1,500 resorts, amusement parks,
malls and retail outlets across the United States. The Company provides
solutions for cash replacement, ticketing, admissions, gift certificates,
loyalty and frequent buyer programs. Maxxus International is headquartered in
Jacksonville, Florida, where it has provided a variety of card-related
since 1995.

About SoftCARD Systems

SoftCARD Systems, Inc. was established to revolutionize the electronic coupon
and promotion industry. The company is partially backed by News America
Marketing, a division of News Corporation. SoftCARD has developed numerous
coupon and promotion distribution techniques including distribution by the
Rewards Machine, over the Internet into a consumer’s home or retail outlet,
through kiosks, and via other innovative distribution means. For more
information on SoftCARD Systems, please contact John Daniel, vice president,
strategic business development and general counsel, at (706) 769-7000 or visit

About Welcome Real-time

Welcome Real-time s ( smart
transaction platform enhances payment transactions with revenue boosting
services such as instantly awarded loyalty points, coupons, punch cards,
vouchers, tickets, cash back & all in a single convenient payment process.
Company’s patents provide broad protection in Europe, North America and Asia.
Over 17 patent applications cover the ability to dynamically manage services
relating to entries, visits or cumulative spending at designated merchants,
ability to add and redeem e-coupons from a smart card, or the use of mobile
phones and hand held devices to perform smart transactions. Welcome Real-time
is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, France, with offices in Philadelphia.



Euronet Worldwide (NasdaqEEFT), a leading provider of secure electronic
financial transaction solutions, announced revenues of $14.82 million for the
first quarter of 2001, an increase of 24% over first-quarter 2000 revenues of
$11.94 million.

Euronet’s first-quarter revenues also represent an increase of 7%, or $0.96
million, over fourth-quarter 2000 revenues of $13.86 million.
EBITDA improved by 67%, from negative $4.47 million in the first quarter 2000
to negative $1.47 million for the first quarter 2001. The Company also showed
improvement in its operating results. The operating loss was reduced from
million in the first quarter 2000 to $3.65 million in the first quarter 2001.
The Company’s net loss was $0.99 million for first quarter 2001 compared with
$11.29 million for the same period last year.
Euronet’s revenues, EBITDA and operating results exceeded all published
analysts’ expectations for the first quarter 2001.

“We are pleased to report strong financial results for the first quarter,”
Michael J. Brown, Euronet’s Chairman and CEO. “We are firmly committed to
becoming EBITDA positive for the second quarter.”
The Network Services Division posted a strong performance with first-quarter
revenues of $10.85 million, up 31% over revenues of $8.26 million for the same
period of 2000. This represents a 7% increase over fourth-quarter 2000
of $10.14 million and is the 24th consecutive quarter of revenue growth for
this division.
The Software Division revenues increased by 8% compared to the first
quarter of
2000, to $3.98 million in first quarter 2001, up from $3.68 million in first
quarter 2000. This division’s revenues also increased 7% compared to
fourth-quarter 2000 revenues of $3.72 million. The Company expects to see a
continued improvement in operating costs during second quarter 2001 due to the
restructuring efforts undertaken in fourth quarter 2000 and first quarter

“We believe that the accelerating and recurring revenues of our ATM network,
our wireless banking and mobile recharge solutions will contribute to further
improvements in our EBITDA and operating results,” said Brown. “We are also
pleased with the performance of our software division this past quarter. We
believe the demand for our transaction software solutions combined with cost
reduction actions we have taken over the past several months will provide
improved and continued positive EBITDA. This division is an integral part of
our strategy for developing our secure electronic transaction payment

The Company’s ATM, POS, debit card, switching and transaction management
software (ITM) continues to be the preferred EFT solution for the IBM AS/400
platform worldwide. Implementation of Euronet’s integrated software solutions
during the past several months have included

— Arab / African International Bank-Egypt, ITM, ATM driving

— Arab Bank-Egypt, Wireless Banking

— Banco de Oro-Philippines, ITM, Internet Banking and Telephone

— Bank International Mozambique, Integrated Credit Card System

— Bank of Maldives, POS, IMS, TB, Telephone Banking

— Bank of Seylan, Visa Electron Issuing & Acquiring, Internet

— Century Bank-Zimbabwe, complete ITM solutions

— Egyptian Gulf Bank-Egypt, Internet Banking

— Maduro and Curiel Bank-Curacao, ATM ReCharge

— National Bank of Kuwait-Lebanon, Wireless Banking

— Old National BankCorp-USA, Debit Card Processing

The number of ATMs owned or operated by Euronet Worldwide increased by 12%
first quarter 2000 from 2,383 ATMs to 2,661 ATMs at the end of this quarter.
Quarterly transactions on the network increased by 35%, from 11.0 million in
first quarter 2000 to 14.9 million in first quarter 2001. Euronet owns and/or
operates ATMs in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Croatia, the Czech Republic,
the Middle East, the U.K., Greece and the U.S.


The following are highlights of business developments at Euronet Worldwide
during the first quarter

— Euronet Worldwide and Sila Communications signed a strategic alliance
whereby Sila Communications will market and deliver Euronet Worldwide’s suite
of wireless banking solutions to its customer base across Europe and Asia.
Targeting financial institutions such as banks, brokerage firms and credit
unions, Sila Communications will offer Euronet’s Account Access and Event
Messaging as a wireless ASP solution (Application Service Provider) in Europe
and throughout Asia / Pacific.

— Euronet Worldwide and Gemplus, the world’s number one provider of smart
card-based solutions, announced the signature of a strategic alliance whereby
Gemplus will market and deliver Euronet Worldwide’s expanding suite of
payment solutions to GSM mobile operators around the world.
— Euronet Worldwide and National Telecommunications Company (NTC), a
technology-based holding company in Egypt and the Middle East, announced today
the forming of Cashnet, a branded Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) network.
Cashnet is a joint venture between Euronet, NTC and Quantum Fund, a member of
the George Soros group of funds.

— Euronet was selected to provide ATMs and other value-added ATM services for
Alldays convenience store locations in the United Kingdom. Euronet is the
independent ATM operator selected by Alldays and will provide Alldays with ATM
site identification, installation, monitoring, dispatch, maintenance,
telecommunications, cash delivery, authorization and customer support.
headquartered in Eastleigh, England, is considered one of the most dynamic
convenience store groups in the UK.

— Euronet Worldwide was selected to provide its mobile phone recharge
by Polkomtel S.A. which operates its consumer brand as Plus GSM. Plus
can now purchase prepaid mobile phone vouchers at approximately 420 Euronet
ATMs in Poland. Plus GSM is the second-largest mobile phone operator in Poland
with more than 2.5 million customers, 34% being prepaid, and has the largest
base of corporate customers. With this agreement, Euronet now provides this
service to all three GSM mobile operators in Poland.

— Euronet Worldwide was selected by retailer Saks Incorporated to provide
outsource services for automatic teller machines (ATMs) via Euronet
DASH Network. Euronet is deploying ATMs for five Saks’ Department Store Group
divisions with locations in Alabama, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Michigan,
Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana and Tennessee.

— Euronet Worldwide and Greek mobile operator Stet Hellas Telecommunications
S.A. signed an agreement to jointly offer mobile banking solutions to
institutions in Greece. Targeting financial institutions such as banks, credit
unions, brokerages and mutual fund companies, Stet Hellas and Euronet will
offer Short Message System (SMS)- and Wireless Access Protocol (WAP)-based
account access and event messaging services.

— Euronet Worldwide was selected to provide its wireless banking solution for
the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) allowing the banks’ customers access to
personal financial information. NBK-L, an affiliate of one of the largest
in the Middle East, the National Bank of Kuwait, is the first bank in Lebanon
to offer this new wireless banking system, which has been deployed in
conjunction with GSM operator, Libancell.

— Euronet Worldwide announced it installed its Integrated Debit Card System
(IDCS) for Fortis Bank SA in Poland. The bank will employ Euronet’s IDCS to
issue and manage Visa Electron debit cards for its customers. This technology
allows the bank to issue charge and debit cards enabling the authorization of
on-line transactions. The new debit card product will be targeted to both
individual and institutional customers and is one of the most comprehensive in
the Polish market.

— Euronet Worldwide announced it was selected to operate Bank Austria
Creditanstalt’s ATM network in the Czech Republic. This agreement provides
complete outsourcing services including ATM installation, monitoring,
maintenance, telecommunications, cash delivery, authorization, and customer
support. Additionally, Bank Austria Creditanstalt will be one of the first
banks to offer the sale of pre-paid GSM airtime through ATMs in the Czech

About Euronet Worldwide

Euronet Worldwide is an industry leader in providing secure electronic
financial transaction solutions. The company offers financial payment
middleware, financial network gateways, outsourcing and consulting services to
financial institutions and mobile operators. These solutions enable their
customers to access personal financial information and perform secure
transactions — any time, any place. The company has processing centers
in the United States, Europe and Asia, including owning and operating the
largest independent ATM network in Europe. Euronet was recently ranked number
two on the Deloitte & Touche Technical Fast 500, a ranking of the
fastest-growing technology companies in North America. With corporate
headquarters in Leawood, Kansas, USA, and European headquarters in Budapest,
Hungary, Euronet serves more than 200 clients in 60 countries. Visit our web
site at

Any statements contained in this news release which concern the company’s or
management’s intentions, expectations, or are predictions of future
performance, are forward-looking statements. Euronet’s actual results may vary
materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a
result of a number of factors, including technological developments affecting
the market for the company’s products and services; foreign exchange
fluctuations; and changes in laws and regulations affecting the company’s
business. These risks and other risks are described in the company’s periodic
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not
to, Euronet’s Forms 10-Q for the periods ended March 31, 2000, June 30, 2000,
and September 30, 2000, and its Form 10-K for the period ended December 31,
2000. Copies of these filings may be obtained by contacting the company or the
SEC. -0-


April Retail Sales

Same-store retail sales for April rose 3.1 percent over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. Although some sectors of the economy are reporting sluggish growth, retail sales remain moderately strong. The Southeast region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, the West and the Northeast. 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 Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC).

“The Easter holiday fell two weeks earlier during April this year and consumers also had one less weekend day to shop. Nevertheless, same-store retail sales are surprisingly high despite this unfavorable calendar shift,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Adviser. “Even with widespread flooding in the Midwest, retail sales were moderately strong across the country and consistent with recent reports that the economy continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace.”

Sales rose a strong 4.5 percent in the Southeast. In Louisiana, sales grew 5.4 percent and in Georgia sales increased 5.2 percent. Sales were up 4.4 percent in The Carolinas, 4.2 percent in Florida and 4.0 percent in Tennessee. Sales increased 5.2 percent in New Orleans, 4.9 percent in Atlanta, 4.7 percent in Orlando, 4.2 percent in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, 4.1 percent in Memphis, 3.8 percent in Nashville and 3.6 percent in Tampa.

In the Southwest, sales rose 3.9 percent. Texas’ sales rose 4.4 percent, Oklahoma’s sales jumped 3.6 percent and Missouri’s grew 3.0 percent. Sales in Houston climbed 5.1 percent, sales in Dallas/Ft. Worth rose 4.2 percent, sales in both Austin and Oklahoma City grew 3.8 percent and sales in San Antonio were up 3.5 percent. Tulsa’s sales increased 3.4 percent, Kansas City’s sales rose 3.3 percent and sales in St. Louis climbed 2.7 percent.

The Mid-Atlantic’s sales increased 2.9 percent. Pennsylvania’s sales were up 3.8 percent, New Jersey’s sales increased 3.3 percent, Virginia’s sales rose 2.6 percent and Maryland’s sales grew 2.1 percent. Pittsburgh saw sales jump 4.1 percent, Philadelphia’s sales grew 3.6 percent, the District of Columbia saw sales rise 2.6 percent and Baltimore’s sales climbed 2.4 percent.

Sales in the Midwest climbed 2.7 percent, with Michigan up 3.6 percent, Wisconsin up 3.5 percent, Minnesota up 3.0 percent, Illinois up 2.4 percent and Ohio up 2.3 percent. Sales grew by 3.4 percent in Milwaukee, 3.3 percent in Detroit, 3.2 percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 2.8 percent in Chicago and 2.1 percent in Cleveland.

The West was up 2.6 percent, with sales increasing 4.5 percent in Hawaii, 2.7 percent in Colorado, 2.5 percent in Oregon, 2.3 percent in Arizona, and 2.2 percent in both California and Washington. Sales rose 2.5 percent in the Bay Area, 2.3 percent in both San Diego and Denver, 2.0 percent in Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, and 1.7 percent in Phoenix.

The Northeast region’s sales grew 1.5 percent. Sales rose 1.7 percent in Massachusetts and 1.5 percent in New York. Boston’s sales increased by 2.1 percent and New York City’s sales were up by 2.0 percent.

TeleCheck’s index is compiled on a calendar basis and is based on the total sales volume of check-writing consumers at a broad cross-section of retailers. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for approximately one-third of retail spending. 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].

Note: The TeleCheck logo and retail sales figures can be downloaded from the TeleCheck press center at [ leCheck.html][2] or from PR Newswire and NewsCom.

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. powers the global economy. Serving nearly 2.5 million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [][3].

Dr. William Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his career he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served on former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s Federal Open Market Committee.

Retail Sales
(Period: 04/01/01 – 04/30/01)
May 2, 2001


Florida 4.2% Arizona 2.3% Illinois 2.4%
Lauderdale 4.2% Phoenix 1.7% Chicago 2.8%
Orlando 4.7% California 2.2% Michigan 3.6%
Tampa 3.6% Bay Area 2.5% Detroit 3.3%
Louisiana 5.4% Los Angeles 2.0% Minnesota 3.0%
New Orleans 5.2% San Diego 2.3% Minneapolis/
St. Paul 3.2%
Georgia 5.2% Oregon 2.5% Wisconsin 3.5%
Atlanta 4.9% Portland 2.0% Milwaukee 3.4%
Tennessee 4.0% Washington 2.2% Ohio 2.3%
Memphis 4.1% Seattle 2.0% Cleveland 2.1%
Nashville 3.8% Colorado 2.7%
The Carolinas 4.4% Denver 2.3% MID-ATLANTIC 2.9%
Hawaii 4.5% District of
Columbia 2.6%
SOUTHWEST 3.9% Pennsylvania 3.8%
Texas 4.4% NORTHEAST 1.5% Philadelphia 3.6%
Austin 3.8% Massachusetts 1.7% Pittsburgh 4.1%
Worth 4.2% Boston 2.1% New Jersey 3.3%
Houston 5.1% New York 1.5% Virginia 2.6%
San Antonio 3.5% New York City 2.0% Maryland 2.1%
Missouri 3.0% Baltimore 2.4%
Kansas City 3.3%
St. Louis 2.7%
Oklahoma 3.6%
Oklahoma City 3.8%
Tulsa 3.4%



Online Ads

Providian and NextCard continue to dominate the online credit card ads war. According to the latest Nielsen//NetRatings audience measurement survey, Providian purchased 504 million ad impressions during March while NextCard purchased 163 million. Overall, nearly $280 million was spent on online advertising in March . Nielsen noted that traditional companies spent an estimated $123.3 million or 44% of the total dollar spent on Web campaigns. The company says traditional offline companies have caused a seismic shift in the sheer number of companies opting to do online campaigns and the amount of money they spend, signaling a healthy forecast for the industry as the year progresses. Recent online campaign announcements from Pepsi, Diet Coke and Ford suggests renewed interest in the medium by traditional advertisers and agencies.

Top Five Traditional Online Advertising Spenders
Company Impressions
1. Equifax Inc. 636,045,000
2. Providian Bank Corp. 503,597,000
3. E*Trade Group Inc. 253,667,000
4. JP Morgan Chase & Company 200,532,000
5. Nextcard Inc. 163,097,000


Wachovia Deal

There is speculation this morning that the Bank One/First USA acquisition of Wachovia’s card portfolio will come apart. The trouble is centered on the agent relationship for future credit card accounts. Wachovia agreed to sell its $8 billion credit card portfolio to Bank One/First USA on April 9 and enter into a long-term agent bank relationship. One week later Wachovia announced plans to merge with First Union. On August 14, First Union agreed to sell its remaining credit card portfolio to MBNA and signed a long-term agent bank relationship. Therefore the question remains as to who will issue cards to the merged bank. Wachovia indicates it is seeking a solution but analysts see a real tug-of-war between MBNA and Bank One/First USA over the deal. One possibility is that Bank One/First USA could acquire the Wachovia portfolio but relinquish its right to issue future cards under the agent relationship. The MBNA/First Union deal in August involved a consumer revolving credit portfolio of $5.3 billion in loans and more than 3 million accounts, and a commercial credit card portfolio of $215 million in loans and approximately 300,000 accounts. At the end of the first quarter, Wachovia had $7,657,390,682 in receivables and 2,483,924 active accounts, according to CardData ([][1]). (CF Library 8/15/00; 4/19/01)