Conseco Exits

Conseco, Inc. announced that its Conseco Finance Corp. subsidiary sold substantially all of its bankcard portfolio to Wells Fargo Financial Bank, the credit card subsidiary of Norwest Financial, part of Wells Fargo & Company.

The size of the portfolio sold was approximately $400 million. The sale of this noncore business provides additional liquidity to Conseco Finance and is not expected to result in a material gain or loss.

Conseco Finance, with nationwide operations and managed finance receivables of nearly $46 billion at December 31, 1999, is one of America’s largest of nearly $46 billion at December 31, 1999, is one of America’s largest consumer finance companies, with leading market positions in retail home equity mortgages, home improvement mortgages and consumer and floorplan loans for manufactured housing. Based in St. Paul, Minn., Conseco Finance had 9,600 employees at year-end 1999.

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TSYS 2Q Expectations

Total System Services, Inc. announced that it expects its 2000 net income to exceed its 1999 net income by 25%, outperforming its previous forecast and the current analysts consensus estimate of a 20% increase in 2000 over 1999. Earnings per share is expected to be $.44, outpacing the current analysts consensus estimate of $.42.

Chairman and CEO Richard W. Ussery said, “We are excited about our new higher earnings projections for 2000. Our strong net income increase is a direct result of the better than expected internal growth rate of our client base, expanded product offerings and the commitment of our team members to focus on expense controls. We anticipate that 2000 will be another record year.”

With more than 180 million accounts on file, TSYS facilitates the electronic payment link between buyers and sellers for more than 250 million consumers. TSYS and its family of companies offer a full range of turnkey cardholder processing services, from credit application to collections, allowing our clients to focus on building their brands and managing their portfolios. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([http://www.totalsystem.com][1]) is an 80.8-percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([http://www.synovus.com][2]).

[1]: http://www.totalsystem.com/
[2]: http://www.synovus.com/

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Azerbaijan ID Cards

Canadian Bank Note has signed a contract with the Government of Azerbaijan for approximately $10 million US for the supply of 13 million national ID cards. The system has the capacity to link all government document issuance, inspection and tracking systems to a centralized database. The ID cards and the system will be delivered and installed within the next 12 months by the CBN Identification Systems Group.

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ACS to Genpass

ACS signed a definitive agreement late last week to sell its ATM processing and maintenance business for $180 million. The business is being acquired by Genpass, Inc. a newly formed company funded by GTCR Golder Rauner. The acquisition marks a re-entry into the transaction processing industry for Bipin Shah, a driving force behind the MAC ATM network. Shah will head the newly acquired businesses. His business partner and co-founder of Genpass, Gregory Dillett, will serve as CFO. The ATM businesses acquired from ACS include its Electronic Commerce Group and its Service Solutions Group. The combined businesses support more than 16,000 ATMs in 49 states, process more than 220 million transactions annually for over 500 customers, and provide ATM maintenance to 350 clients including banks, credit unions, retailers and casinos. ACS was advised on the transaction by First Annapolis Capital, Inc.

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Wasserman to Maloney

The Maloney Group ([www.maloneygroup.com][1]), a New York-based strategic communications consulting firm, today announced that Gail Wasserman, 39, formerly Vice President of Public Affairs at American Express Company, has joined the firm as Managing Partner. In her new role Ms. Wasserman will help run the consultancy and counsel CEOs on management and marketing issues.

“Gail’s keen insight into how different audiences accept or reject corporate messages adds a new dimension to the Maloney Group’s ability build our clients’ businesses,” said Toni Maloney, the firm’s founder and CEO. “Her creative and strategic talents will help raise the visibility of new product launches, accelerate the growth of new-economy companies and increase the value of businesses’ intangible assets by improving employee loyalty.”

The Maloney Group is a nine-year-old business-to-business marketing innovator whose clients include big brand names like United Airlines, AT&T and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as those rooted in the newer economy, such as interactive marketing firm Modem Media.

The Maloney Group originated the Inside-out MarketingTM methodology that integrates employee communications and customer marketing efforts into one holistic process to achieve maximum revenue growth.

Prior to joining The Maloney Group, Ms. Wasserman set corporate communications strategy for American Express’s most visible businesses: the U.S. Consumer Card Services Group, the Establishment Services division and the Global Advertising and Sponsorship group. She helped launch Amex products with household names like Delta Airlines, Costco and Fidelity, and introduced Membership Rewards, now the world’s largest consumer loyalty program. A recent achievement was the launch of Blue, the most successful new product introduction in the company’s history. Ms. Wasserman also announced new celebrity endorsers, including Tiger Woods, and was the primary spokesperson on consumer issues such as privacy, security and customer service.

Prior to joining American Express, Ms. Wasserman served as Vice President of Public Relations at Ogilvy & Mather, and Publicity and Promotion Director for George Braziller, Inc., a publisher of fine art and fiction. She holds a B.S. in communications and art history from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.

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

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Bank Plus Settlements

Bank Plus Corporation reported that in June 2000 its wholly-owned subsidiary Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB completed the previously announced sales of the MMG Direct, Inc. credit card portfolio and the Bank’s credit card servicing center located in Beaverton, Oregon.  In conjunction with this sale, the buyer of the credit card servicing center is now servicing the Bank’s American Direct Credit, Inc. credit card portfolio and has an option to purchase the ADC portfolio.

The Bank also reported the completion of the sale of its Beverly Hills branch office with $82 million of deposits to First Bank of Beverly Hills, FSB.

The following updates the status of the previously announced resolution of the outstanding cardholder litigation in Alabama and Mississippi relating to the ADC credit card program.

     –  Definitive settlement agreements have been executed for all of the
         individual lawsuits filed in Alabama.
     –  The Company has negotiated agreements in principle to settle all of
         the lawsuits filed in Mississippi and is in the process of executing
         these agreements.
     –  A definitive settlement agreement has been executed and preliminarily
         approved by the court for the initial class action lawsuit filed in
         Alabama.  Notices will be mailed to all members of the class at the
         beginning of July.  The cutoff date for members of the class to opt
         out of the class is August 8, 2000.  The Company anticipates a final
         order from the Alabama court in early September.  Such an order will
         become final within 42 days of its issuance, unless appealed.  No
         assurances can be given that a final order will be entered or that
         such an order will not be appealed.  The second class action lawsuit
         filed in Alabama was settled as an individual action.

There have been no changes in the estimated settlement costs recorded in the first quarter 2000 as a result of the negotiation and execution of these agreements.

Bank Plus Corporation is the holding company for Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB, which offers a broad range of consumer financial services, including demand and time deposits and mortgage loans.  In addition, through its affiliate Gateway Investment Services, Inc., a NASD-registered broker/dealer, Fidelity provides customers of the Bank with investment products, including mutual funds, annuities and insurance.  Fidelity operates through 30 full-service branches, 29 of which are located in Los Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this release, including without limitation statements containing the words “believes”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “expects”, “contemplated” and words of similar import, constitute ” forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.  Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Bank Plus and Fidelity to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  Such factors are referred to in Bank Plus’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K as of December 31, 1999 and its most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q as of March 31, 2000.  A number of other factors may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial performance.  These factors include a national or regional economic slowdown or recession which increases the risk of defaults and credit losses; movements in market interest rates that reduce our margins or the fair value of the financial instruments we hold; restrictions imposed on the Bank’s operations by regulators such as a prohibition on the payment of dividends to Bank Plus; failure of the Bank and third parties to enter into written definitive agreements on significant transactions, including litigation settlement transactions, and to close such transactions; failure of regulatory authorities to issue approvals or non-objection to material transactions involving the Bank; actions by the Bank’s regulators that could adversely affect the Bank’s capital levels; an increase in the number of customers seeking protection under the bankruptcy laws which increases the amount of charge-offs; the effects of fraud or other contract breaches by third parties or customers; the effectiveness of the Company’s collection efforts and the outcome of pending and future litigation.  Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on such forward-looking statements.  Bank Plus disclaims any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements included herein to reflect future events or developments.

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Antitrust Bandwagon

Another purported non-partisan VISA and MC supporter has surfaced. The Washington, DC-based Small Business Survival Committee issued a press release late last week criticizing the government’s case as another attempt to impose government regulation on a competitive industry. The group says: “The case against Visa and MasterCard, like other recent antitrust actions, has nothing to do with helping consumers, and has everything to do with helping big companies like American Express achieve in the courtroom what they could not do in the marketplace. If American Express and their allies at the Department of Justice are successful in this case, it will be a disaster to small business owners. Increased government regulation in the credit card industry will undoubtedly mean higher costs for small businesses using credit cards. If companies like American Express are successful in these types of antitrust cases, no small business in America is safe. SBSC has about 50,000 members.

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Euronet Software

Euronet Services Inc. announces that it has signed a record level of new software sales contracts in the second quarter.  The total value of software sales contracts signed in this quarter was $5.3 million — a 65% increase over the first quarter signed software contracts of $3.2 million. The Q2 signed sales contract of $5.3 million is the highest value of signed software contracts for any quarter in the company’s history.

The $5.3 million figure represents the total license fees and other compensation that is provided in software contracts signed during the quarter. These amounts will be booked into software sales backlog as deposits are received under the contracts, and will generate revenues to Euronet as the company performs the contracts by installing the software purchased.  As performance generally occurs over a period of several months, revenues from these signed contracts will most likely be realized over the next several quarters.

“We are very pleased with our success in signing new software contracts in the second quarter,” commented Michael Brown, Chairman and CEO of Euronet Services.  “The investments we have made in new technologies and our efforts to increase customer satisfaction are starting to pay off.  We expect to see continued strong demand for our core products and services, as well as growing interest in our new credit card and wireless banking products.”

Euronet Services Inc. is a global leader in the rapidly evolving arena of electronic financial transactions.  The company provides banks and retailers with an advanced infrastructure for connectivity and transaction processing. The company’s Arksys Software Division offers a suite of integrated retail banking products that include ATM management, POS and merchant systems, credit and debit card systems, internet banking, telebanking, and wireless banking. Euronet operates the largest independent ATM network in Europe and is building a growing transaction processing capacity in the United States.  The company serves customers in more than 60 countries around the world.

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 limited to Euronet’s Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 1999, and Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2000.  Copies of these filings may be obtained by contacting the company or the SEC.

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Premium Uptick

R.K Hammer, Investment Bankers, has released their First-Half Year 2000 study results of performing credit card portfolios sold. The number, dollar value, and premium prices of recent industry deals have continued to rise from 1999 levels.

First-Half, 2000 Credit Card Portfolio Transactions

# of Card Deals Identified 19
Underlying Assets Sold $4.85 Billion
Average Size Deal $255 Million
Total Accounts Sold 4.86 Million
Average Accounts Sold 255,000
Average Premium above Par 16.97%
Range of Premiums 5.0%-25.3%
Ave. Cost/Acquired Acct. $158
Range of Cost/Acquired Acct. $51-$288
Average OROA Earnings 3.20%
Pre-tax Earnings Multiple 5.30x
%of Deals Done by Advisors 78%
%of Deals done “In-house” 22%

First-Half Notes

Average premiums were up 3.4% from 1999 year-end (16.97% vs. 16.42%). Rising transaction prices were again largely due to improved credit quality. Value of advisor-led deals: 53% greater average deal premium than for “In-house.” An additional $6.5 Billion in deals are also in the pipeline at the start of the 3Q.

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M-Commerce

Wireless data and electronic applications should become increasingly popular in the future according to a new report by Frost & Sullivan. The wireless Internet is following the same development pattern as wired internet. Advances in wireless communication technologies are basically extending the Net to a variety of portable devices and appliances such as cellular phones and pagers and palmtop computers. F&S says competition has resulted in the wireless infrastructure becoming cheaper. There are about 70 million cellular phones in the US alone. The cell phone total is in the same range as television subscribers, as well as personal computers. F&S says per-minute pricing has declined considerably over recent years. The average cost per minute has been estimated to range from $0.12 to $0.15, down from prices of more than $0.20 two years ago. Frost & Sullivan believes that the wireless revolution will be driven in the short term by the “anytime anywhere access”.

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Flooz

Flooz.com signed agreements last week to feature Toysrus.com. Flooz.com has pioneered a unique method of gift giving by combining e-mail and electronic greeting cards with a stored value platform. Parents or grandparents can purchase ‘Flooz’ with a credit card and then instantly send it by e-mail to their kids for redemption. Kids can then spend their ‘Flooz’ at Toysrus.com or reserve it in their personal Flooz account for use at a later time. Recipients can also spend ‘Flooz’, which is accepted as a branded form of payment, at more than 70 online stores including: Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Tower Records, Godiva Chocolatier, Art.com, mothernature.com and Fogdog.com.

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