Bankrate Sells Pivot

Ilife.com announced the sale of its online insurance business, Professional Direct Agency, Inc. “Pivot”, to a financial services institution for $4.35 million in cash.

“We are on the steady path to profitability,” explained Elisabeth DeMarse, President and CEO of ilife.com. “The sale of Pivot is yet another milestone in our progress. We are devoted to returning to our core competency, which is bankrate.com, the leading online resource for banking and credit products. This sale dramatically moves us forward toward our goal of rebuilding our balance sheet, controlling our expenses, and ultimately increasing shareholder value.” “Part of our strategy in achieving profitability is a divestiture of our non-core sites,” continued DeMarse. “The sale of Pivot combined with the recent sale of our college site, CPNet to Colleges.com, and the pending sale of our Spanish language site, Consejero.com, will bring phase one to a successful completion. These divestitures are additive to recent cost control and expense reduction efforts. Now we are refocused on our core product and flagship site, bankrate.com. Bankrate is indispensable to consumers seeking the best banking programs for their individual needs. With over 20 successful years in business, this return to our roots will enhance our path to profitability.”

About ilife.com

Ilife.com (Nasdaq:ILIF) is the Internet’s leading consumer banking marketplace, with over 1.3 million unique visitors per month connecting with over 4,000 financial institutions in 126 markets in 50 states. Ilife.com operates a portfolio of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes and small business finance. Its flagship site, bankrate.com, is the leading aggregator of over 100 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CD’s, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Ilife.com provides financial applications and information to a network of over 120 partners including SNAP (Nasdaq:NBCI), Yahoo! (Nasdaq:YHOO), America Online (NYSE:AOL), CNN and Smart Money. The company’s information is also distributed through more than 120 national and state publications.

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Associated Update

Associated Banc-Corp today reported second quarter earnings of 63 cents per diluted share, an increase of 10.5 percent over the second quarter of 1999. Net income for the second quarter was $43.7 million, up 9.6 percent from the year-earlier period.

For the first half of the year, diluted earnings per share were $1.25, up 11.6 percent over the first half of 1999. Net income through the first six months of 2000 was $86.8 million, up 10.1 percent from net income in the first half of 1999. Return on average assets remained a strong 1.39 percent for the second quarter, and return on average equity was 19.06 percent. Comparable ratios in the year-earlier quarter were 1.40 percent and 17.64 percent, respectively. Book value increased to $13.57, compared to $12.89 in the year-earlier quarter. Loans grew to $8.7 billion at the end of the second quarter, up 13.9 percent from the same time in 1999, while deposits increased 8.9 percent from the year-earlier period to $9.25 billion.

The company completed the sale of its credit card portfolio to Citibank USA in the second quarter, resulting in a $13 million gain. The sale was part of a long-term agency agreement that is expected to provide future revenue to Associated. The gain was partially offset by $5.5 million in realized losses on the sale of investment securities, the proceeds of which were reinvested in higher yielding securities.

The sale of the company’s credit card portfolio in the second quarter reduced net interest income by $1.7 million. However, net interest income for the second quarter declined only $1.2 million, to $96.4 million, because of strong loan growth. Average loan growth in the second quarter, excluding the credit card sale, was 12.6 percent on an annualized basis. Associated President and CEO Robert Gallagher said the quarter’s results are consistent with the company’s plan.

“Rising interest rates in the quarter continued to put pressure on our net interest margin, as we anticipated. We mitigated the impact of this pressure with solid loan growth and growth in several key areas of non-interest income. Meanwhile, expenses remain well-controlled,” he said.

Also in the second quarter, the company repurchased 600,250 shares as part of a share buyback program initiated on March 9, 2000. Share repurchases under that authorization totaled 930,250 as of the end of the second quarter. The program authorizes the company to repurchase a total of approximately 3.5 million shares. (All share and per share financial information in this news release has been restated to reflect the 10 percent stock dividend paid on June 15.)

Associated Banc-Corp, headquartered in Green Bay, is a diversified multibank holding company with approximately 4,000 employees and total assets of $13 billion. Associated has more than 200 banking offices serving more than 150 communities in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. The company offers a full range of traditional banking services and a variety of financially-related products and services through other Associated affiliates. More information about Associated Banc-Corp is available at [www.AssociatedBank.com][1].

For more information visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

[1]: http://www.associatedbank.com/
[2]: http://www.carddata.com/

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Equifax 2Q/00

Equifax reported Thursday that its Payment Services unit, comprising the operations of Card Solutions and Check Solutions worldwide, increased revenue 17.8% to $192.7 million in the second quarter 2000 versus second quarter 1999. The revenue increase for Payment Services was driven primarily by merchant and card processing in U.S. Card Solutions, the new card processing operations in the United Kingdom, and Brazilian card operations. Check Solutions was also a significant contributor with a revenue increase of 11.5%. Card services in Brazil achieved revenue growth of 15.9% in U.S. dollars despite a 5% decline in the average currency exchange rate during the quarter. During the second quarter Payment Services announced a five-year card processing contract worth over $100 million with National Australia Bank. For complete details on Equifax’s second quarter visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com/

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Secured Canadian Card

Home Capital Group Inc. today reported record second quarter and half-yearly earnings for the period ended June 30, 2000. These results were achieved through the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Home Trust Company.

Three Months Ended % Six Months Ended %
June 30 change June 30 change

2000 1999 2000 1999

Net
Income $2,485,178 $1,958,393 26.9% $4,806,990 $3,844,523 25.0%
Earnings
per
share
(basic) $0.17 $0.13 30.8% $0.33 $0.26 26.9%
Return on
equity 22.9% 21.7% 22.6% 21.8%
Revenue $16,824,847 $12,509,508 34.5% $32,529,047 $24,452,824 33.0%
Assets $791,613,273 $604,213,038 31.0% $791,613,273 $604,213,038 31.0%
Total No.
shares
outstan-
ding 14,749,695 14,811,195 14,749,695 14,811,195

– This represents the 20th consecutive quarter in which earnings
before unusual items exceeded those of the previous quarter.

– The Company recently announced a 33% increase in the dividend,
to $0.08 per share.

– The Hon. William G. Davis, P.C., C.C., Q.C., has been elected
Chairman of the wholly-owned subsidiary, Home Trust Company.

– Home Trust Company has joined the VISA Canada Association,
becoming only the 11th General Member financial institution
authorized to offer VISA cards in Canada.

– Home Trust Company will launch a secured VISA credit card
starting September, 2000 to assist consumers in establishing
or re-establishing their credit worthiness.

– The Company is on track to meet or exceed its stated goals
for the current year.

Home Capital Group Inc.
To Our Shareholders

Home Capital Group Inc. is pleased to announce record 2nd quarter earnings of $0.17 per share, or $2,485,178, versus earnings of $0.13 per share, or $1,958,393, for the comparable period in the previous year, an increase of 26.9%. Total assets grew from $604,213,038 to $791,613,273, or 31.0% and our annualized return on equity was 22.9%, compared to 21.7% on a year over year basis. Our results reflect the power of our strategy to pursue market leadership with customers who are underserved by traditional lenders.

This represents the 20th consecutive quarter, a full five years, in which earnings before unusual items exceeded those of the previous quarter.

For the first six months of the year the Company reported net income of $4,806,990, an increase of 25.0% over the $3,844,523 recorded through the first half of 1999. Earnings per share rose from $0.26 to $0.33 and annualized return on shareholders equity stood at 22.6% compared to 21.8% for the same period in 1999.

In addition, our credit quality remains excellent. Mortgage charge-offs continue to decline and our non-performing loans represented 0.36% at June 30, compared to 0.30% one year ago. In keeping with the safety and soundness with which the Company has operated, we have moved our general reserve to 0.78% of assets on a risk-weighted basis as of June 30, 2000, which is slightly higher than the average of the general reserves for the five leading banks in Canada. All other performance indicators also reflected positive results during the period under review. In short, we are on track to report a record year.

These and other achievements are the signs of a stable and profitable core business and a Company that is “coming of age.” Your Board of Directors further validated this fact by announcing a 33% increase in the dividend paid on the outstanding convertible Class A shares and Class B subordinated voting shares. This step, equating to an effective increase from $0.06 to $0.08 per share on an annualized basis, reflects our strong cash flow from operations, our financial strength, and the quality of our balance sheet. It also represents further tangible indication of our commitment to the creation of value for all our shareholders. The first quarterly dividend at the increased amount will be payable on August 10, 2000 to shareholders of record at the close of business on July 13, 2000.

I am pleased to report that the transition of Home Savings & Loan Corporation into Home Trust Company proceeded smoothly during the second quarter. Other significant steps will ensure that we are well positioned to grow and to profit from this change in the years ahead.

The Honourable William Davis, P.C., C.C., Q.C., who is already a Director of Home Capital Group, has kindly agreed to serve as Chairman of Home Trust Company. His experience, particularly with broadly based and accomplished financial institutions, and wise counsel will be of great assistance to your Company.

During the second quarter we also announced that Home Trust Company had been approved for membership in the VISA Canada Association. We are only the eleventh General Member financial institution authorized to offer VISA payment cards in Canada.

We also announced that Home Trust Company will launch a secured VISA credit card starting in September of this year. This card is designed to assist consumers to establish or re-establish their credit worthiness. These customer segments have been served effectively and profitably in the United States by several issuers. We believe that we can serve this niche in a manner that is socially responsible for consumers, and low risk yet profitable for your Company.

The economic outlook for Canada and your Company remains positive. Our core business continues to grow in an innovative and dynamic way and we are confident about the market acceptance of our new secured VISA credit card. This combination of factors makes your Company very optimistic about its future prospects.

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Re-Pricing

CT-based People’s Bank reported an earnings decline for the second quarter primarily due to continued pressure in its U.S. credit card business. People’s said it is taking steps to improve the profitability of its card business, including additional repricings. The repricings will reflect the substantial increase in market interest rates. People’s also plans to reprice a portion of its portfolio based on risk characteristics. People’s expects the managed credit card yield to increase by more than 125 basis points by 4Q00. However the card issuer noted that even though the current yield on its card portfolio has lagged the movement in market interest rates and higher charge-offs, credit card services operated at breakeven levels for the first half of this year. People’s also noted that its U.K. credit card operation continues to post strong results as receivables grew by $132 million or 50% in the second quarter. For complete current and historical data on People’s Bank credit card portfolio visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

People’s Bank Card Portfolio Snapshot
2Q/00 1Q/00 4Q/00
Receivables $3.7b $4.0b $4.2b
Chargeoffs 5.18% 4.51% 4.24%
Delinquency 3.20% 3.04% 2.84%

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Payseal

ICICI Limited of India launched Payseal, a payment gateway, which ensures safety and security of online transactions. Payseal interfaces between the Internet shopper, web merchant and banking systems in a secured environment to facilitate online payments.

With the launch of Payseal, online shoppers can transact safely on the Internet by using their credit cards. ICICI has already signed up with over 15 leading web merchants, where all online transactions will soon take place on the Payseal gateway. In the coming months, the gateway will be available on more than 50 sites.

Payseal is already operational on magiccart.com, and is in the process of online testing with the other sites. Six other sites would be operational within the next 10 days.

In an online transaction, when transaction information travels over the Internet, it remains vulnerable to unauthorized access. Further, the consumer may not be comfortable leaving his credit card details with a net merchant especially as the transaction cannot be validated by the customer’s signature. In this environment, the consumer needs the assurance that his credit card details cannot be misused.

With Payseal, an online shopper will be able to give his card details and payment instructions directly to payment gateway in a secure session. Payseal removes any human interface both at the point of a customer’s transaction with the web merchant and subsequently during the settlement of the transaction with banking systems. This has been achieved by using the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology, which helps encrypt transaction data using 280 bit RSA and 128 bit encryption.

The Payment Gateway servers are hosted at ICICI’s state of the art data center, secured by sophisticated firewalls and other network security infrastructure. The gateway would employ both software and hardware encryption to ensure the highest level of security.

Payseal routes the encrypted transaction data directly for online authorization, authenticates the parties involved in the transaction and ensures integrity and privacy of all messages. By addressing the critical aspect of security in on-line transactions, ICICI believes that many more merchants, consumers and businesses will be encouraged to transact freely and securely on the Internet.

The gateway has been implemented by Compaq India for the server technologies and QSI Payment Technologies (QSI), Australia for the software solutions. QSI is a leading e-commerce payment solution provider with several successful installations across the globe.

The gateway will initially accept credit card payments with ICICI Bank as the acquiring bank. Soon, Payseal will also be able to handle a variety of other payment modes such as debit & smart cards and direct bank debits. The gateway also proposes to tie up with other banks to enable B2B payments.

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Antonini Globeset CEO

Globeset, the leading global supplier of secure ePayments infrastructure services and products, announced it has named Jack M. Antonini as chairman and chief executive officer.

“Globeset has experienced dramatic growth and changes over the last couple of years,” said William Archibald, Globeset’s chief technology officer and founder. “We have grown from a single product, single channel company to a company with multiple service and product lines sold through multiple channels around the world.”

“Today’s announcement culminates a thorough search for a new leader to take us to the next level, and Jack has exactly the right combination of background, skills and management style to lead us there,” said Virginia Gambale, the director of Globeset who headed the board’s recruiting efforts. She serves as the managing director and group head of Deutsche Bank Strategic Ventures and is the former chief information officer of BT Alex. Brown.

Antonini worked previously at First Union Corporation, a $250 billion financial services company, where he served as executive vice president responsible for Internet development as well as its Consumer Banking Group. >From 1995 to 1997, he served as vice chairman and chief financial officer of First USA, one of the largest credit card companies in the United States. He also held various senior executive positions at USAA over an 11-year period, pioneering the concept of a nationwide, efficient, branchless bank. He was promoted to vice chairman, president and chief executive officer of the USAA Federal Savings Bank in 1991, responsible for all aspects of USAA’s banking business which was recognized by Money magazine in 1995 as the “Best Bank in America.”

“Jack’s large-company experience in the financial services arena and in leading public companies will be a great asset to us as we continue our path of rapid growth and solution development,” said Archibald.

Antonini adds, “I am thrilled to join Globeset which is poised for incredible growth as we work together to steer the future of payments via the Internet. I believe we have all the right tools to make a significant impact in this global space.”

“I have great confidence in Jack’s abilities, because of the results I’ve seen him accomplish at First Union and USAA,” said Jerry Peterson, a director of Globeset and retired vice president of Compaq. “Jack can help Globeset make the transition from a startup to the dominant global provider of ePayment infrastructure services and products.”

Another Globeset director, Anne Busquet, president, Interactive and Information Services, American Express, echoed his comments, saying, “The board believes we have the right combination of services, products, management and vision to build upon the company’s history of success.”

Antonini received a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting with high distinction from Ferris State University in northern Michigan in 1974 and earned his CPA in 1977.

Michael Cation, former chairman and chief executive officer, will continue with Globeset as an adviser.

About Globeset

Globeset is the leading global supplier of secure ePayments infrastructure services and products for buyers, sellers and financial-service providers. Globeset’s ePayments infrastructure provides a globally consistent and secure connection — anytime, anywhere — among financial-service providers, electronic exchanges, buyers and sellers. This infrastructure simplifies process flows and reduces costs associated with ePayments.

Globeset delivers services and products directly and through resellers and system integration partners that supply financial-service providers, corporations and electronic marketplaces. Partners and customers are supported with application hosting services, consulting, education, customization, maintenance and support. The company’s products and services include personal and enterprise commerce agents, banking applications and corporate applications, such as industry-leading enterprise reconciliation and research solution software. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at: .

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Up-Grading

Providian’s net income for the second quarter dropped to $63 million compared to $127 million for 2Q/99. The decline was largely due to a $273 million legal settlement over its past credit card practices. Nevertheless Providian’s total managed credit card loans increased by $1.8 billion during 2Q/00 due to its customer upgrading initiatives. Providian added 850,000 net new accounts during the second quarter to bring total customer accounts, which includes non-card loans, to 13.9 million. Providian says its E-commerce and UK credit card divisions posted strong gains. Also new card programs such as ‘Gold Premier’, Providian’s account upgrade vehicle, significantly drove the growth in accounts and receivables for the second half of the year. Providian’s E-commerce division includes Aria, GetSmart, and WebCard. For complete current and historical data on Providian’s credit card portfolio visit CardData (www.carddata.com).

Providian’s Bank Card Portfolio Snapshot
2Q/00 1Q/00 4Q/00
Receivables $21.8b $20.1b $19.0b
Chargeoffs 7.42% 7.18% 6.78%
Delinquency 6.48% 5.72% 5.66%

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Japan’s I-Credit Bureau

Japan’s Fujitsu FIP Corp. and Fair, Isaac announced this week they have agreed to launch Japan’s first web-based credit decisioning service. The new service will target the country’s 800+ banks and other credit grantors. In the partnership, Fair, Isaac will provide its ‘Decision System’ software and scoring models to deliver the decisioning within a new Web-based solution providing businesses in Japan with instant credit decision support. The Fair, Isaac components of the joint service will be marketed under Fair, Isaac’s ‘LiquidCredit’ brand and implemented into Fujitsu FIP’s application service provider server. Fujitsu FIP clients will have access to the service via the Internet to receive support in making decisions for credit card, retail card or installment loan portfolios. Fair Isaac says its plans to process over a million consumer applications in Japan over the next three years.

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TSA 2Q/00

Transaction Systems Architects reported yesterday it is beginning to see a return in spending in the banking sector, driven in part by continued growth in e-payment transaction volumes. TSA says it signed two dozen capacity upgrades with existing customers and added 11 significant new name customers during the quarter ending June 30. TSA also notes that its investment in smart card technology, including the acquisition of the ‘Chipper’ business during the quarter, is beginning to pay off. TSA signed nine smart card-related deals, including four ‘EMV FastStart’ deals in Europe and a significant win in the U.S. at Bank of America. Total quarterly revenue of $78.9 million included $46.5 million of software license fees, of which $14.3 million were recurring monthly fees. Non-recurring license fees consisted of $11.2 million of guaranteed term license fees and $21.0 million of paid upfront license fees. For complete details on TSA’s second quarter visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.carddata.com/

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Cheaper Than Cable

The majority of bank customers say they pay $3.00 or less each month for all banking services according to a survey released today by the American Bankers Association. Approximately 1,000 consumers were asked to estimate how much they spend on fees for banking services at their institution each month, such as fees for checking account maintenance and ATM use. Nearly half reported that they pay no fees at all. The ABA says that even at $3.00 a month, the typical bank customer would pay less than $40 per year, substantially less than the going rate for basic cable service. The survey was conducted by telephone on June 16-18 by Angus Reid Group.

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Aspire CPO

CompuCredit Corporation announced that it has named Mark Lawrence to the newly created position of Chief Privacy Officer. This position will be responsible for overseeing corporate-wide compliance with policies and procedures governing the security, confidentiality and quality of consumer information, as well as reviewing and updating operations and business practices to champion the cause of consumer privacy within the company. In addition, Mr. Lawrence will ensure that CompuCredit’s privacy policies and practices continue to be fully compliant with all federal and state regulations pertaining to the protection of our consumers’ personal information. Mr. Lawrence joined CompuCredit as Director of Information Technology, in March 1999, bringing over 15 years of experience in information technology in both the private and public sectors. Immediately prior to joining CompuCredit, he was Director of I.T. Operations for The Grizzard Agency, an Atlanta-based direct marketing firm. From 1995 to 1997, he was a Principal Consultant at XLConnect, an information technology services company. This position marked his return to the private sector after serving in various technical and management positions with the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Air Force beginning in 1985. From 1981 to 1985, he worked for General Electric Medical Systems as a Service Engineer. Mr. Lawrence received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Georgia where he also served as a Staff Instructor during post-graduate studies.

![][1] Lawrence said that much of his existing responsibilities relate to implementing safeguards on the company’s information, including protecting highly sensitive data on CompuCredit’s consumers. “As a natural extension of that I will formalize measures to ensure that our privacy policies continue to meet or exceed the requirements of the evolving new privacy regulations under consideration across the country and in Congress.” Lawrence will report directly to Rick Gilbert, CompuCredit’s Chief Operating Officer. Gilbert said, “Since the company was founded, we have always maintained a high degree of integrity in regards to consumer information. The appointment of a Chief Privacy Officer and the selection of Mr. Lawrence for this role simply reinforce our ongoing commitment to be a leader in this arena.

CompuCredit is a technology company, so it is most appropriate that our data is watched over by our technology experts.” CompuCredit also recently announced that it had retained the expertise of Dr. Alan Westin and his firm, Privacy Consulting Group, to provide ongoing counsel on consumer privacy issues. And, as a matter of policy CompuCredit annually provides its customers certain options regarding how information can or cannot be used.

CompuCredit Corporation is a credit card company that uses analytical techniques, including sophisticated computer models, to identify consumers who it believes are credit-worthy and are overlooked by more traditional consumer credit providers. CompuCredit markets unsecured Aspire(R) Visa(R) credit cards through direct mail, telemarketing and the Internet. In July 1999, CompuCredit launched its consumer web site, [www.aspirecard.com][2], through its Internet marketing services subsidiary AspireCard.com, Inc. Consumers can apply online and receive a credit decision within seconds. CompuCredit also markets credit life insurance, card registration, buying club memberships and travel services to its cardholders. Aspire Visa cards are issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Company under an agreement with CompuCredit. CompuCredit completed its initial public offering in April of 1999 and was included in the Russell 2000(R) Index in July 1999 and the NASDAQ FIN-100 Index in May 2000.

[1]: /graphic/aspire/aspire.gif
[2]: http://www.aspirecard.com/

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