The U.S. House passed the bankruptcy reform bill yesterday and the U.S. Senate is likely to take its vote on the same bill next week. President Clinton immediately threatened to veto the 420-page bill. The White House says Clinton has problems with two provisions, one that permits wealthy bankruptcy filers to keep their homes and another that allows violent demonstrators at abortion clinics to use the bankruptcy laws to discharge fines and damages. In general, the bill makes it harder for consumers to file for Chapter 7 when there is some ability to repay debts. Many consumers will be forced into a Chapter 13 debt repayment plan. The bankruptcy reform bill has slowly made its way through the reconciling process after the House and Senate passed different versions of the bill early this year. The delay has been attributed to the inclusion of consumer-protection provisions such as the requirement that lenders disclose how long it will take to pay off a credit card, if only the minimum payment is made. Despite intense lobbying by the credit card industry, the bill passed yesterday does require card issuers to include on billing statements a chart that shows the costs associated with making minimum payments. (See CF Library 5/8/00)Details
Paris-based NetValue released August Internet results for the US, the UK, France, Germany and Mexico this morning. The US remains way ahead in terms of Internet penetration with over 52 million households connected. The UK has 7.3 million connected households. Germany tops the European list with 8.8 million households. France has 4.2 million households online. Users across measured countries are connected an average of 9.9 days to the Internet per month, somewhat less than the average U.S. user, who is connected an average of 12.2 days. Internet usage by age, particularly in the 35-64 age bracket, varies only slightly in each country. In the U.S., Internet users who are 15 or under account for 8.1% of users; however, in Germany, this age group accounts for a mere 2.7% of Internet users. Interestingly, Internet users who are 65+ are far more advanced in the U.S (where they represent 5.5% of users), compared with Germany, where they account for less than 2%. In the UK, by contrast, ‘silver surfers’ are increasingly logging on to the Internet, and are rapidly catching up with younger users. Across all markets, the 35-49 age bracket makes up the majority of Internet usage, accounting for 29.8% of users in the UK. Internet users in Mexico tend to be much younger. 37% of Internet users are aged between 15-24, with 67% of all users aged 34 and under.Details
Online buying continues to increase as the number of people coming onto the Internet grows. A new study by Harris Interactive shows there were 45.1 million browsers (online information gatherers and offline buyers) during the second quarter and 30.3 million online buyers. For 3Q/99 there were 48.5 million browsers and only 19.4 million buyers. Harris says more and more online shoppers are choosing to stay online to make a purchase rather than browsing online and going offline to a bricks & mortar store to buy. Consistent with this trend, Harris Interactive data also show that the ratio of online to offline spending is also decreasing over time. In 10 of 12 vertical markets tracked by Harris Interactive e.commercePulse, fewer dollars were spent offline (as a result of online shopping) per one dollar spent online. Using Harris Interactive’s Web-based technology, the survey for the second quarter of 2000 was conducted online with 97,633 adult online users at three different periods over the course of the quarter. The survey covered 266 e-commerce Web sites in 13 vertical markets.Details
Official Payments Corporation announced the company has reached an agreement with the State of Kansas to collect retailer’s sales tax and individual income tax payments.
Taxpayers in Kansas will be able to make these payments with their credit cards on the Internet by visiting [www.officialpayments.com]. The new payment service for tax year 2000 is expected to launch early next year. Official Payments provides a variety of tax payment services to the Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Washington.
“We are pleased to announce an agreement with Kansas, our fourteenth state client,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Official Payments. “The Kansas Department of Revenue is renowned for innovation. With this new Internet payment system, Kansas taxpayers will have another convenient, safe, and reliable option for paying their taxes,” Mr. Evans added.
“For tax year 2000, anyone with an Internet connection will be able to conveniently make his or her tax payments, 24 hours a day, from either home or business,” said Karla J. Pierce, Kansas Secretary of Revenue. “The Internet payment service will be available to taxpayers who file either paper or electronic tax returns. The service is part of our sustained effort to provide the highest level of service to our citizens, while engaging in safe and sound financial practices,” Pierce added.
Last year, more than 600,000 taxpayers in Kansas made balance-due income tax payments with an average obligation of $890 to the state treasury. Nearly 460,000 quarterly estimated payments were made, representing $219 million. The Kansas Department of Revenue collects nearly $5.2 billion for the state.
Official Payments will charge Kansas taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found at [www.officialpayments.com]. For example, a taxpayer who owed Kansas $900.00 would find a total of $922.50 on his or her credit card statement: $900.00 for the tax bill and $22.50 for the convenience fee. American Express, Discover Card, and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.
About Official Payments Corporation.
Official Payments Corporation is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via telephone or the Internet, using their credit cards. The company has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service; several state governments, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma Washington state; and over 550 municipal and county entities, in which it collects income taxes, property taxes, real estate taxes, parking fines, sales and use taxes and other government fees by credit card over the telephone and the Internet. In the 1999 tax year, Official Payments collected and processed over $575 million in federal income tax payments on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. The company is publicly traded on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.
Bank of America lifted the curtain Wednesday on the ‘Bank of America VISA Commercial Card’, the first card designed specifically for mid-size companies. The new card allows companies to streamline payment processes and reduce costs by combining multiple card functions into one program that integrates Internet reporting, automated card maintenance, multiple spending control options, security and expandability. The Internet reporting system allows companies to review employee expenditures and provides the means to manage the information via a basic output file that easily can be converted to merge into an existing accounting system. Cardholders can also have Web-based access to view their ‘Commercial Card’ accounts and, if authorized, to reallocate transactions. Cardholders can use the ‘Plan A Trip’ feature to shop for the best airfare, hotel and car rental rates, create their own itinerary and directly book their travel to the ‘Bank of America Commercial Card’ account. To view BofA’s new commercial card visit CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com]).
GE achieved record results for the third quarter of 2000 with broad-based strength across the company’s businesses, Chairman John F. Welch reported Wednesday.
Specific highlights include:
— Revenues for the third quarter increased to a record $32.0 billion, 18% above last year’s quarter, reflecting continued growth from globalization and product services.
— Third-quarter earnings per share increased 19% to $.32, up from last year’s $.27, and earnings increased 20% to $3.180 billion. Both earnings per share and earnings were records for the quarter.
— Excluding the effects of a third-quarter retirement benefit provision associated with the new labor agreement, GE’s third-quarter operating margin was 17.6% of sales, up from last year’s 16.7%, reflecting increasing benefits from GE’s focus on product services, Six Sigma quality and e-Business initiatives. GE’s reported third-quarter operating margin was 16.6%.
— GE’s industrial businesses achieved revenue growth of 18% above third quarter 1999. Operating profit for six of seven operating segments increased by double digits — led by Power Systems, Medical Systems, Plastics and Aircraft Engines.
— GE Capital Services’ third-quarter earnings rose to $1.478 billion, 17% above last year’s $1.262 billion. These record results reflect the globalization and diversity of GE Capital’s businesses, with strong double-digit increases in its Specialized Financing, Consumer Services, Equipment Management and Mid-Market Financing segments.
— Cash generated from GE’s operating activities during the first nine months was a record $9.9 billion, up 34% from last year’s $7.4 billion. As part of the $22 billion share repurchase program, GE purchased $495 million of its stock during the third quarter to reach $17.0 billion — 943 million shares–purchased since December 1994.
“In addition to delivering record third-quarter results, GE’s businesses made aggressive moves to position themselves for strong future growth”, Mr. Welch said.
Highlights of recent activities include:
GE Power Systems (GEPS) continued to experience strong demand for power generation equipment and services. Orders for the quarter were up 90% to $7.3 billion. Power Systems continued to win the majority of the orders for heavy-duty gas turbines in the United States with orders more than double the third quarter 1999 level. Demand for fully packaged 25-to-60 megawatt gas turbines at S&S Energy Products continued to build with orders up more than three-fold from the 1999 quarter. Power Systems added $1.2 billion in new long-term service agreements in the quarter bringing the total commitments for these long-term contracts to $12.2 billion. GEPS continued redefining the large portable power market with the first five TM2500 portable power plants launched this summer at Commonwealth Edison being shipped to Cork, Ireland, where they will supply up to 110 megawatts of temporary winter peaking capacity. GEPS acquired Smallworldwide, a UK-based developer of software solutions for spatial mapping of networks.
GE Aircraft Engines continued to win the majority of the world’s orders for airline jet engines, including more than $2 billion in commercial engine wins at the Farnborough Air Show and significant orders for the longer-range Boeing 777 aircraft from ILFC, ANA and Air France. Lockheed Martin selected GE engines for the U.S. Air Force C-5 modernization program with a potential value in excess of $2.5 billion. GE Engine Services reported nearly $1 billion in new multi-year service contracts with several airlines including Qantas, Ansett/Air New Zealand and Japan Air Lines.
GE Capital took broad-based actions to drive future growth. GE Americom launched its GE-7 satellite, reinforcing its position as the number one provider of satellite services in North America. Penske truck leasing and rental business acquired Rentway, Ltd., expanding Penske’s North American service network and positioning Penske as the leading Canadian truck leasing and rental business. GE Capital Aviation Services and GE Equity announced a strategic investment in Carmen Systems, a worldwide leader in developing solutions for airlines to optimize the use of aircraft and crews. GE Capital formed a joint venture, Japan Equity Capital Co. Ltd., with Sumitomo Corp. and Daiwa Securities to manage a private equity fund in Japan.
GE Medical Systems (GEMS) completed three acquisitions to enhance its technical position and growth. Magnex will expand GEMS performance in the fast-growth high-field MR market; MicroMedical increases GE’s presence in cardiovascular information systems; and Access Medical is the industry’s largest multi-vendor used equipment business. GEMS e-Business momentum continues to build with online orders surpassing $1 billion year-to-date, and more than 650 diagnostic units with Internet connectivity.
GE Transportation Systems (GETS) acquired Harmon Industries, Incorporated. Harmon’s wide range of railroad and transit signaling, wayside and control products and systems complement GETS service offerings. GETS was awarded a Canadian Pacific Railway contract to service more than 300 General Motors’ EMD locomotives. GETS received locomotive orders for 60 U.S. units from Amtrak and 10 units from Adtranz in Europe.
NBC garnered the most Emmy nominations and awards for the sixth consecutive year. The West Wing and Will & Grace won the best drama and comedy series, respectively. The West Wing broke the all-time record for Emmy wins by any series in a single season. NBC’s Today Show in Sydney had two of its top ten most watched weeks in the 49-year history of the show. NBC’s Today Show, Nightly News and Tonight Show With Jay Leno continue to win their time periods finishing the quarter #1. CNBC Business Day continued its strong ratings performance beating CNN for the fourth consecutive quarter. NBC’s Olympic success was broad-based with coverage on NBC reaching 185 million Americans during its 17 days of coverage and boosted ratings for the Today Show 25%, CNBC 88% and MSNBC 181%. NBC Olympics.com had 43 million page views averaging 23 minutes per visitor. NBC successfully negotiated long-term cable extension deals with the vast majority of U.S. cable system operators and now has agreements for CNBC and MSNBC Olympic cable distribution through 2008.
GE Plastics completed the acquisition of Cadillac Plastics, a global distributor of plastic shapes including sheet, film, tube, rod and fabricated parts. This addition expands its product offering and worldwide distribution network. Plastics also announced the opening of two new compounding plants in Shanghai, China, and Bangkok, Thailand, to serve its growing Asian customer base in the business equipment, automotive and optical media markets.
GE Appliances registered significant market share gains from product and distribution moves. New product introductions in the quarter were led by the successful launch of Wizard(TM), the electronically controlled clothes care system, the Advantium(TM) built-in wall oven, and the Aquarius(TM) front-loading automatic washing machine. In August, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, announced that it would begin selling a full line of GE-branded major appliances.
GE Industrial Systems continued to expand its portfolio of product offerings through the acquisitions of the German company Graesslin, specializing in time switches, and a majority interest in Instrument Transformers Inc., a leading manufacturer of indoor-type instrument transformers for the industrial market.
Mr. Welch concluded: “The record results for the third quarter once again demonstrate the ability of GE’s diverse mix of leading global businesses to deliver top-line growth, increased margins and strong cash generation. The combination of global growth, expansion of our product services activities, rapid introduction of new products, our Six Sigma quality initiative and our e-Business initiatives position GE to deliver another year of record performance in 2000. We are comfortable with the First Call analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.27 per share for 2000.”
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified services, technology and manufacturing company with a commitment to achieving customer success and worldwide leadership in each of its businesses. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.ge.com].
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY
All amounts except per-share earnings are in millions of U.S. dollars.
THIRD QUARTER NINE MONTHS ENDED
SEPTEMBER 30, 2000
2000 1999 V% 2000 1999 V%
Revenues $32,014 $27,200 18 $94,872 $78,775 20
Earnings $3,180 $ 2,653 20 $9,150 $7,628 20
– diluted $0.32 $0.27 19 $0.91 $0.76 20
– basic $0.32 $0.27 19 $0.93 $0.78 19
2000 1999 V% 2000 1999 V%
Engines $2,580 $2,659 (3) $7,770 $7,727 1
Appliances 1,495 1,449 3 4,451 4,126 8
NBC 1,895 1,076 76 5,244 4,038 30
and Systems 2,777 2,802 (1) 8,599 8,226 5
Plastics 1,970 1,690 17 5,845 5,046 16
Power Systems 3,521 2,464 43 10,469 6,507 61
and Services 1,902 1,601 19 5,556 4,721 18
Services 16,444 14,002 17 48,595 39,763 22
Aircraft Engines 614 536 15 1,781 1,527 17
Appliances 159 137 16 503 475 6
NBC 292 265 10 1,321 1,143 16
and Systems 497 491 1 1,614 1,424 13
Plastics 487 390 25 1,443 1,255 15
Power Systems 670 397 69 1,875 1,104 70
and Services 439 316 39 1,192 912 31
GE Capital Services
net earnings 1,478 1,262 17 3,965 3,386 17
Chase Manhattan Bank yesterday introduced ‘Gold’ and ‘Platinum’ versions of their MasterCard debit cards. The upgrade also applies to the ‘Chase/Continental Airlines Debit Card’, as well as Chase’s ‘Leisure Rewards’ loyalty program. Chase ‘Better Banking’ checking customers who maintain a checking account balance of only $1000 or a combined deposit balance of $2000 will automatically receive the new ‘Chase Gold Banking’ card. The new ‘Gold’ benefits include free purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and emergency roadside assistance. ‘Platinum’ benefits, also offered free of charge to Chase’s premier ‘Select Banking’ customers, include all ‘Gold’ benefits plus the opportunity to take advantage of a concierge service that makes hotel and restaurant recommendations. Customers with ‘Platinum’ cards also receive a free year-end spending summary statement. Additionally, ‘Select Banking’ customers may opt for the new ‘Chase/Continental Airlines Platinum Preferred Banking Card’, which offers one air mile for each dollar of debit card purchases. Chase has approximately three million debit cardholders. To view Chase’s new debit cards visit CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com]).
ClearCommerce Corp. and Incogno Corporation announced a joint development agreement to integrate Incogno SafeZone, the Web merchant’s solution to the problems of privacy and security in e-commerce, into the ClearCommerce Engine. Under the terms of the agreement, Incogno and ClearCommerce will offer SafeZone to merchants using the ClearCommerce Engine.
By enabling online businesses to automate the Internet sale through reliable and secure back-end transaction processing, the ClearCommerce Engine provides online merchants with availability and performance levels that help them achieve high levels of customer satisfaction. In addition, the software verifies customer credit limits, checks for potential credit card fraud and processes transactions in real-time.
SafeZone expands the ClearCommerce Engine’s security features by allowing customers to buy directly from a merchant’s site without revealing their names, addresses or credit card numbers to the merchant. The merchant never receives, stores or transmits the customer’s credit card information, and thus avoids the risk of credit card theft from insiders or hackers, significantly lowering costly charge backs that result from fraud.
“Integrating Incogno’s Web privacy features with the ClearCommerce Engine brings tremendous opportunity to our merchant customers by addressing the very real concerns of privacy-sensitive buyers,” said Rob Lynch, CEO of ClearCommerce. “The agreement illustrates our commitment to protect not only our merchant customers from the high costs of Internet fraud, but to offering those merchants additional ways to make consumers feel safer about shopping online.”
“Our relationship with ClearCommerce will allow many merchants to use Incogno SafeZone and enable their customers to conduct secure, anonymous transactions through the Internet,” said Sibley Reppert, CEO of Incogno. “We would not have been able to achieve this goal without ClearCommerce as a partner.”
Additional ClearCommerce Engine capabilities include: real-time transaction processing with the credit-card processors, fraud analysis and protection, business reports for merchants, storefront integration, APIs to businesses’ existing ERP or inventory systems, shipping and tax calculation and Electronic Softgoods Downloads.
ClearCommerce is a provider of e-commerce transaction software and services for enterprises and Commerce Service Providers, including Apple Computer, Harrods, Chase Merchant Services, cooking.com, PETsMART and EDS. ClearCommerce provides transaction management technology directly and indirectly through Commerce Service Providers for merchants worldwide. Features of ClearCommerce software include real-time credit card processing and Internet fraud protection, as well as online reports, storefront integration, back-end integration, shipping/tax calculation and delivery of digital merchandise. For more information, please visit .
About Incogno Corporation
Founded in 1999, Incogno seeks to solve infrastructure problems that hinder effective use of the Internet. The company’s first product, Incogno SafeZone, prevents the inappropriate disclosure of private information to Web merchants and is positioned to solve the problem of privacy in e-commerce. Incogno is headquartered in Newton, Mass. For more information, visit the company’s website at .Details
Capital One reported yesterday that net income between 3Q/99 and 3Q/00 increased 28.0%. For the third quarter, Cap One’s managed consumer loan balances increased by $2.3 billion to $24.2 billion. During the third quarter, Cap One added 2.3 million net new accounts, bringing total accounts to 29.4 million. On the Internet, online account originations and online account servicing increased to 760 thousand and 1.2 million, respectively, as of the end of the third quarter. Marketing expense rose to a record $233 million compared to $212 million in the second quarter of 2000 and $175 million in the comparable period of the prior year. The managed net charge-off ratio for 3Q/00 stood at 3.80% compared 3.97% one year ago. Delinquency (30+ days) edged slightly lower to 5.32% compared to 5.35% for 3Q/99. For complete 3Q/00 and prior quarters’ data for Cap One visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Price Chopper has selected Standard Register to deliver 500,000 gift cards which will replace the supermarket chain’s paper gift certificates. Standard Register will print and package the gift cards and provide Price Chopper with point-of-sale displays to enhance customer service and convenience.
“We’re pleased to assist Price Chopper with its transition to gift cards,” says Dave Fehrman, general manager, Imaging Services, Standard Register. “In addition to improving customer service and reducing paperwork throughout Price Chopper’s operations, the gift card program is an effective avenue to keep dollars in Price Chopper supermarkets. The cards will retain their value until the entire dollar amount is spent at Price Chopper.” Fehrman advises retailers interested in implementing card programs to consider some additional advantages. “Gift cards can prevent additional revenue loss which may otherwise occur through certificate counterfeiting,” states Fehrman. “They’re also an effective way for retailers to strengthen their brand and status among competitors through the use of creative card designs leveraged through card-carrying customers.” Joanne Gage, Price Chopper’s vice president of consumer and marketing services, anticipates the supermarket chain’s cards will make an outstanding gift choice for shoppers who prefer to leave merchandise selection to card users. “Gift cards are easy to use, conveniently accessible to customers, and they’re a terrific vehicle for establishing relationships with new customers,” states Gage. “It’s easy to see why they’re growing in popularity among retailers and card users.” Price Chopper is headquarter in New York’s capital region and operates 97 Supermarkets located throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. The supermarket chain will offer its gift cards in $10, $25 and $50 denominations with card and package designs featuring a produce-filled bag of groceries over a blue background. During the holiday season Price Chopper will offer gold gift cards featuring red bows.
About Standard Register:
Dayton, Ohio-based Standard Register (NYSE: SR) is a nationwide leader in delivering customized document management and workflow solutions to healthcare, financial and general business markets. Serving as a strategic partner under its Less Paper StrategyÂ®, Standard Register helps transaction-intensive businesses reduce costs and increase revenue. Offerings range from traditional forms manufacturing to commercial and digital on-demand printing; e-documents and related desktop printing and processing solutions; plastic card imaging, packaging and distribution; Internet and paper-based billing services; supply-chain and labeling solutions. Standard Register reported 1999 revenues of $1.327 billion. For more information, call 800/755-6405 or visit [www.standardregister.com].
Online retailing in Latin America will reach $580 million by the end of 2000. The Boston Consulting Group says Brazil continues to be the largest online market in Latin America, accounting for $300 million in revenues and just over half of the entire market. The Mexican and Argentinean markets, however, have grown out of their nascent stages and this year will generate $91 million and $82 million in sales, respectively. One of the surprising findings of the report is the weakness of U.S. English-language players in the region. Their market share is expected to drop from 32% of the market in 1999 to a mere 7%, or $40 million in sales, in 2000. For details on specific Latin American countries visit CardPlanet ([www.cardplanet.com]).
PocketCard Inc. announced the creation of its Delta Payment Systems division ( [http://www.deltapayment.com]) to process e-payments and stored-value programs for other issuers. The same patent-pending money transfer engine that powers the industry-pioneering teen and business PocketCard programs is now available for financial institutions and other businesses that want to provide their customers ability to instantly transfer stored purchasing power anytime, anyplace, to anyone.
The market leadership demonstrated by creating and issuing a stored-value teen card a year before competition followed suit will extend into the emerging e-payment industry. “The success of the PocketCard teen card and small business program demonstrates the appeal and utility of instantly moving value where it is needed,” said PocketCard Inc. founder and CEO William Scheurer. “Delta Payment Systems’ dynamic stored-value platform will change how businesses interact with their customers, employees and others, just as PocketCard is changing how families and small businesses spend and manage money.”
Bridging Mainstream Payment Processing Systems into the New Economy
PocketCard Inc. offers the only payment-processing platform built specifically to capitalize on the power and scope of advanced communications technologies. By integrating the existing payments industry infrastructure used to process magnetic-stripe transactions with consumer-accessible technologies like the Internet, touch-tone phones and emerging wireless capabilities, Delta Payment Systems enables customized ways to pay and transfer value for businesses, financial institutions and payment service providers.
The Delta Payment Systems platform’s unique ability to transfer, control and monitor value in real-time, ubiquitous merchant acceptance and ATM access has put PocketCard Inc. in a position to lead the stored-value product market, estimated to reach $1.3 trillion by 2003. Gift cards, employee retention and loyalty programs, corporate incentive, payroll and electronic benefit transfers are examples of the trend in a variety of industries away from cash and checks and towards card-based payment methods
Delta Payment Systems, however, offers more than technology. Delta Payment Systems offers complete solutions to manage all facets of card-based stored-value programs, including program consulting, card fulfillment, merchant purse programs, targeted ad delivery and a fully staffed and equipped customer care center.
PocketCard Is Changing How Families Spend Money
Incorporated in Sept. 1998 and issuing cards since May 1999, PocketCard Inc. invented the financial service product known as dynamic stored value cards: special purchasing cards for financial dependants — featuring instant funding, reporting and control. PocketCard Inc.’s patent-pending technology enables the instant transfer of money and information — anytime, anyplace and to anyone — in both the online and offline worlds.
PocketCard Inc. and its division Delta Payment Systems provide families, businesses and individuals with innovative e-finance and relationship marketing products and services. PocketCard works with leading card issuers, processors, retailers, media and others to deliver these programs.