Dynasty Buys ProNet

Dynasty Components Inc. announced that DCI has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of ProNet International LLC. The purchase price will be payable in cash and shares. The transaction is subject conditions including DCI Board of Directors and regulatory approvals.

ProNet, presently with operations in both the Boston and New York areas, provides e-commerce merchant accounts for the international marketplace. The services offered by ProNet provide customers with secure international shopping cart and e-payment solutions.

“We are continuing our growth strategy to strengthen DCI’s market position in the burgeoning e-commerce marketplace”, said Mr. Economo. “The acquisition of ProNet complements our e-business enabling service through DCIenable.com. We intend to be a leader in providing e-business solutions to companies in Canada and the United States.”

“We are very excited with the opportunity to join DCI,” comments ProNet President Mark Lachance, “The reputation and client base of DCI combined with our e-business expertise and technology will make DCIenable.com one of the major players in e-business services in North America.”

According to Forrester Research, annual B2B (business to business) e-commerce is projected to grow from $43 billion in 1998 to $1 trillion by 2003, while the B2C (business to consumer) market will swell from $7.8 billion to $108 billion in the same period.

“We are truly making international transactions seamless”, said Mr. Economo. “The merchant account and payment gateway will co-exist and as a result there will be no international compatibility issues, no charges from multiple banks, and no problems interacting with most major credit card networks”.

About ProNet International:

ProNet International is a digital commerce ASP (applications service provider) that provides secure hosting, sell-side shopping solutions including auction and reverse auction software, international e-payment solutions, shopping carts, e-business development/marketing tools and consultations, web buyer/merchant trust and dispute resolution. ProNet provides hosting solutions and consulting services to a wide range of merchants from SME (small-medium-enterprise) segments, B2B, B2C, Portals, ISP’s, CSP’s (content service providers) and vertically integrated portals (vortals).

About Dynasty Components Inc.:

Dynasty Components Inc. is an e-business infrastructure company and a leading supplier of high-technology products and services. DCI offers its e-business services through DCIenable.com and its marketing and distribution of high-technology products and services to design engineers and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) through four main business units. Founded in 1985 and based in Kanata, Ontario, DCI is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE:DCI).


AMEX Responds

A recent Forbes article questioning the appropriateness of some of American Express’ accounting practices provoked a response from the financial services giant late yesterday. Forbes said that AmEx began to capitalize the costs of developing software in 1999, but that other companies typically expense them. AmEx says this is wrong because new accounting rules that went into effect last year require all companies to capitalize the costs of developing internal-use software. Forbes also claimed that AmEx booked expected profits from loans it turns into securities and then sells. AmEx says the accounting rule Forbes referred to requires companies to treat securitized loans as if they were sold and no longer on the balance sheet. All companies that securitize card receivables are required to recognize the discounted expected future cash flows of those receivables. As a result, AmEx says it discloses the related gains. AmEx also responded to issues raised by Forbes surrounding the “papering over” of the cost of several recent Internet-related projects and “rosy assumptions” made concerning variable-annuity owners.


Korean E-Cards

Planet Payment and Korea’s largest trading company, Daewoo announced an exclusive agreement to offer one-stop e-commerce payment solutions and services to Korea’s business sector. Through this arrangement Korean merchants will go online to set up their e-business websites and accept online multi-currency credit card payments in real-time through Planet Payment’s multi-currency gateway. According to a survey conducted by the Korea Information Culture Center, 87% of Korean Internet users have visited Internet shopping malls, and 52% of those people have made purchases online. Last year e-commerce revenues in Korea reached $352 million, a 300% increase from $88 million in 1998.


Business Savings

MasterCard this morning introduced ‘Business Savings’, a new program for all ‘MasterCard BusinessCard’ cardholders. The program has more than 40 participating merchants, a record number for a business card-related program. ‘Business Savings’ partners include IBM, Airborne, Avis, Prudential and Penny-wise, and all offer exclusive deals to registered participants on a large menu of value-added goods and services. ‘Business Savings’ users can also visit the related Web site to register, find information on how to contact vendors, take advantage of monthly special offers, promotions and sweepstakes, find links to other partner sites and utilize the customizable options.


Arksys Gold-Net Fiji

Euronet Services Inc. , a global leader in electronic financial transaction solutions, announced an agreement with Westpac Banking Corporation to provide the bank’s Fiji offices with their EFT network solution, Arksys Gold-Net. This solution, which is part of Phase II in a series of recent Arksys software installations, will be used to drive the bank’s ATMs and POS systems, and will allow them to acquire Visa and MasterCard credit card transactions, as well as issue Visa debit cards.

Broadening an existing relationship between Westpac and Euronet, the implementation of Arksys Gold-Net represents another significant expansion in Westpac’s deployment of Arksys software solutions. In October 1999 Euronet completed installation of Westpac’s ATM, POS and Integrated Transaction Management (ITM) system, and in November Westpac became the first bank in their market to offer banking by telephone when they went live with the Arksys Telebanking system. This system allows Westpac’s customers to access deposit and loan balances, transfer funds between accounts, make loan payments, and obtain recent account history 24 hours a day, seven days a week from virtually any telephone.

“We have been extremely pleased with the implementation and installation process of the Arksys solutions,” stated Robb McWiggan, Chief Manager Technology, Westpac Pacific Regional Banking. “They understand our business completely. Plus, the fact that one company can provide all of the products we were looking for really made the conversion process very smooth.”

“Our relationship with Westpac is a great example of the value that an integrated system can bring to progressive banks,” said Ron Ferguson, President of the Arksys Software Division of Euronet Services. “By selecting Arksys ITM as the middle ware for their system, Westpac will be able to expand their offerings and introduce new services quickly and more efficiently. We are proud to be their solutions provider and look forward to helping them as they continue to set standards in their market.”

Arksys Gold-Net is a best of breed solution in network switch and management software, offering a variety of network configurations, and interfacing with more than 100 global EFT networks. It can support a small shared network jointly-owned by a few financial institutions offering ATM driving and settlement services, as well as a more complex shared network settling transactions among numerous institutions and external networks.

“Our customers want convenience and we believe the Arksys solutions will provide just that,” Mr. McWiggan added. “We’re very proud of the customer loyalty that we have and believe that the new solutions we are putting in place will greatly enhance it. We listen very closely to our customers and know that, because we have the Arksys ITM system, any products we add in the future will be done with relative ease.”

Westpac-Fiji operates 16 branches and service centres with more than $300 million in assets. Westpac concentrates its activities in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, and is ranked in the top 10 listed companies by market capitalization on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Founded in 1994, Euronet Services offers ATM network development and participation, outsourced management solutions, comprehensive Arksys software solutions, and professional and consulting services to retail banks and companies in more than 70 countries around the world. With offices in eight countries on two continents, Euronet Services operates a network of over 2,300 ATMs in Europe and the U.S.

The Arksys software brand is the leading ATM network software for the IBM AS/400 platform, the most widely used system among retail banks. Arksys software fully integrates all aspects of electronic financial transaction processing for retail banking, as well as non-bank institutions, including payment and transaction delivery for ATM systems, credit card and debit card management, POS transaction, comprehensive card and client management, and Internet banking. The core software solution is Arksys Integrated Transaction Management (ITM), a suite of payment and transaction functions designed to support virtually every aspect of retail financial delivery.


Dr. Frankel to e-Cash

Citing the heightened consumer awareness of the importance of online transaction security, eCash Technologies, Inc. has named Dr. Yair Frankel, an internationally recognized expert on cryptography, as its chief scientist. Dr. Frankel’s primary responsibility will be to advance the security of the world’s first online cash equivalent, eCash.

More than 44 percent of Internet users said fear of revealing their credit card number was the primary reason they refused to shop online, according to a recent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. In addition, a January report by the National Consumer League reported that one out of every five online buyers has been a victim of fraud. That same study also reported a 600 percent increase in Internet fraud between 1997 and 1998. With numbers like these scaring away an increasing number of potential online consumers, the need for a simple, safe and secure electronic currency has never been more evident.

“Dr. Frankel’s expansive experience in cryptography and security technologies to prevent fraud will enable eCash to further cement its position as the safest, most secure and easiest to use electronic payment currency,” said Drew Hyatt, CEO of eCash Technologies. “Since it can’t be counterfeited, eCash is actually safer than traditional cash. Plus, it’s exponentially safer and more private than using credit or debit cards across the Internet.”

Dr. Frankel is charged with overseeing the company’s continued refinement of the technology behind eCash, the world’s most secure electronic currency. The virtual equivalent of cash, eCash is issued by financial institutions and used by consumers and merchants to conduct transactions over the Internet. The technology behind eCash provides the only secure electronic payment method that mirrors traditional cash by enabling instantaneous online payments (including micropayments), real-world purchases through eCash-enabled wireless devices and person-to-person payments.

“The Internet environment is in a constant state of change,” Dr. Frankel said. “So we must continuously look forward to satisfy the needs of financial institutions, merchants and consumers.”

The eCash system employs the highest standard of encryption technology available to provide secure transactions. In addition, eCash’s patented blind signature(TM) encryption technology ensures the privacy of every eCash currency transaction. eCash currency has been in use for over five years through a global pilot program. Involving more than seven financial institutions and tens of thousands of consumer and merchant accounts, the pilot program recorded over $32 million in transactions with no security breaches.

eCash has been formally launched throughout Germany by Deutsche Bank 24, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank (OTC: DTBKY) in a partnership with the Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) Credit Card. This launch addresses the consumer desire for simple Internet payments that are truly secure.

“Security is always a moving target,” Dr. Frankel said. “Our highest priority is really very simple: Has anyone ever lost any money using eCash currency? The answer to that question is no. Now we will work not only to increase our security but also to enhance the breadth of our technology’s features.”

In addition to refining and maintaining eCash’s security technology, Dr. Frankel will be responsible for finding new ways to incorporate eCash currency into other technologies. Future enhancements, he said, will include making the currency faster or more efficient and integrating it into different platforms, such as wireless devices.

Dr. Frankel has 15 years of experience developing security technology to detect and prevent fraud. Prior to joining eCash, Dr. Frankel served as vice president of CertCo Incorporated. At CertCo, Dr. Frankel identified and guided the development of CertCo’s consulting business and led technology strategy and development for CertCo’s security products. He holds a doctorate degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in business from Western Illinois University.

About eCash Technologies, Inc.

Through a global community of partner financial institutions and merchants, eCash Technologies will be the first company to offer a global electronic currency that allows financial institutions, online merchants and consumers to conduct transactions on the Internet. eCash is the first online payment system that offers new revenue streams to financial institutions, reduced costs to merchants and unmatched fraud protection to consumers. With eCash, merchants and financial institutions are able to preserve one-on-one customer relationships and attract new customers. Consumers are able to rely completely on their trusted financial institutions for eCash account management, while enjoying eCash’s online convenience and ease of use. Visit [http://www.ecash.net][1] for more information on eCash Technologies. eCash is a registered trademark and the eCash logo is a trademark of eCash Technologies, Inc.

[1]: http://www.ecash.net/


E*Trade ATMs

E*TRADE Group announced Monday it has signed an agreement to acquire Card Capture Services. CCS is the largest independent network of centrally-managed ATMs in the U.S. CCS has 8,500 machines in 48 states and three countries. E*TRADE says it will integrate the ATM network with its newly acquired banking subsidiary, Telebank. Telebank is pure-play Internet bank. E*TRADE further plans to leverage these ATMs to create a network of ‘Financial Services Kiosks’ that would serve as a physical delivery mechanism for cross-selling the firm’s financial products and services. E*Trade says it will use its brand across the CCS ATM network. The acquisition will be accounted for as a purchase. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.


ATMs Sold

First American Payment Systems, Inc. announced Monday the purchase of 75 automatic teller machines from American Express.

The machines are located in major branded gas stations/convenience stores throughout the Chicago, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth areas. Terms for the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition of additional ATMs is part of First American’s goal to increase its presence as a national ATM provider. First American anticipates a gain in operating efficiencies and lower overall operational costs for the ATMs.

“This acquisition is the first of many that First American hopes to complete this year. We are actively seeking additional transactions,” said Neil L. Randel, president and chief executive officer. “Since we began operating in the ATM business in 1998, First American has actively pursued additional growth for our ATM division.”

About First American

First American Payment Systems, Inc., a privately owned corporation founded in 1990, provides full-service electronic credit card authorization and payment systems to retail, mail order, telephone order, Internet and home-based merchants throughout the United States. First American’s other divisions include national ATM deployment, Secur-Chex(TM) check guarantee, FirstPay.Net e-commerce payment gateway and Merimac Capital point of sale equipment and ATM leasing. For more information on First American Payment Systems, visit the company’s Web site at [www.first-american.net][1].

[1]: http://www.first-american.net/


Cap One Hires Davis

Eric Davis, formerly Senior Information Officer and Operating Executive at First USA Bank, joined Capital One as Vice President of IT Service Delivery. Davis will be responsible for managing Capital One’s computer infrastructure and telecommunications networks. Davis has over 15 years experience in the design, development and management of leading edge MIS/EIS, Internet, information management, networking, client/server, and telecommunications technologies at some of the country’s top companies.

Marge Connelly, Capital One’s Senior Vice President of Operations said, “Service Delivery forms the backbone of our organization. Everything we do today depends upon a solid technology infrastructure. It will be Eric’s job to lead Service Delivery to continue to achieve superior levels of excellence and add value to the organization as a whole. I am very excited about Eric joining us and have every confidence that with the knowledge and experience he brings to our fast-paced organization he will make a great impact.”

Capital One is ranked by Computerworld as the 13th best place to work in IT in the country. It is Capital One’s ability to remain at the cutting edge of technology through state of the art innovation, strong IT leadership, and partnership with the business that has enabled it to be a leading employer of IT talent.

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF) ([http://www.capitalone.com][1]) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products. Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 23.7 million accounts and $20.2 billion in managed loans outstanding as of December 31, 1999, and are among the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 Index. For the second consecutive year, Fortune magazine named Capital One to its list of the “Best Places to Work in the US.”

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


Keenan to go Public

Stuart Crutchfield, formerly First Vice President of Corporate and Strategic Planning at MBNA America, has been tapped as Chief Financial Officer for the De Novo Corporation. As De Novo’s new CFO, Crutchfield joins other senior executive members at De Novo Corporation’s Headquarters in Delaware, the company’s base of operations for the IPO launch. His experience with public companies and his familiarity with the financial community are expected to enhance De Novo’s growth strategy. De Novo Corporation anticipates an IPO launch in early 2002.

Stuart Crutchfield brings with him 14 years of working experience with large organizations, such as MBNA America, Providian Financial and NatWest Bank. During his tenure at MBNA America, he was a member of a task force responsible for budget management & analysis and bank-wide productivity & efficiency analysis. Prior to this position, Crutchfield was the Finance Director for MBNA’s mortgage business in charge of planning, reporting, pricing, profitability analysis and mergers & acquisitions.

“De Novo Corporation is fortunate to have access to the skills and experience that Stuart Crutchfield brings,” said William Keenan, President of De Novo Corporation. “His financial leadership, within several best-in-class public companies, will enhance De Novo Corporation’s executive team and our growth strategies for an IPO.”

Stuart Crutchfield received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Studies at New Hampshire College. In addition, he obtained his Master of Science in Financial Economics at Colorado State University and went on to earn his post-MBA degree in International Management at Thunderbird: American Graduate School of International Management.

About De Novo Corporation:

De Novo Corporation is an Online and Offline marketing communications holding company, consists of Creative Solutions International, an integrated direct response advertising agency; Convergence Group, an international management consultancy; Owen/Holloway Group, a brand development and corporation communications advertising agency; and Stratcom, a business and consumer intelligence company.

De Novo Corporation offers a broad range of integrated marketing communications services to Fortune 1000 companies throughout the world. It currently has offices in New York, Arizona, Georgia, Delaware and in Canada. Currently a private company, De Novo Corporation is intending to conduct an initial public offering in early 2002.


No Credit Deterioration

Despite higher credit card interest rates and concerns that the most leveraged consumers will become overburdened, there are no signs of any credit deterioration. The Fitch IBCA index of credit card-backed securities, for the Jan. collection period, shows consumers still repaying their credit card balances at or near record rates and card portfolios generating historically healthy levels of excess spread. Moreover, serious delinquencies are contracting further from their recent highs and personal bankruptcy filings are undercutting even the most aggressive predictions for the year. The latter pair of trends bode well for future chargeoffs, which fell slightly in the most recent period and should decline in the coming months. Fitch IBCA’s delinquency index, which measures outstanding balances greater than 60 days past due, registered its second consecutive decline, trimming 11 bps from the previous month to settle at 3.06%. The consecutive declines have all but erased the prior five-month run-up during which the index rose more than 10.5%. While the month-to-month decline was driven by fewer than 25% of master trusts tracked, the index remains well below its Feb. 1999 mark of 3.28%. Fitch IBCA’s chargeoff index declined eight basis points for the month to 5.45% while extending its string of year-over-year improvements to 19-consecutive months. The slight monthly improvement was influenced by the dearth of fourth-quarter personal bankruptcy filings helping to offset prior increases in late-stage delinquencies.



ACE Cash Express, Inc. signed a multi-year agreement with Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG). ONG customers who make service payments at ACE retail stores will have their accounts posted the same day utilizing ACE’s proprietary point-of- sale network.

“This agreement provides our customers with an additional convenient payment option at any of the 23 locations in the Ace network of stores across our state,” said Roy Clymer, ONG Vice President of Customer Service. “This gives our customers more choice in where and how their gas bill payments are made.”

“Building a relationship with a major utility like ONG is very exciting because everybody wins,” said Jay B. Shipowitz, President of ACE. “Customers now have a convenient place to make their monthly payment, ONG will get the information the same day for fast account posting and ACE has added another service for our customers.”

ACE Cash Express, Inc. is headquartered in Irving, Texas and traded on The Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol AACE. It is the largest owner, operator and franchiser of check-cashing stores in the United States. Founded in 1968, the company has a total network of more than 1000 stores, including over 854 Company-owned stores and 146 franchised stores in 30 states and Washington, D.C. ACE offers a broad range of financial services, which include check cashing, MoneyGram wire transfers, money orders, small consumer loans, bill payment services and telecommunication services, including prepaid long distance and local phone service. The ACE web site is found at [http://www.acecashexpress.com][1].

Oklahoma Natural Gas, a division of ONEOK, Inc. (NYSE: OKE), is the largest natural gas utility in Oklahoma, providing service to more than 750,000 customers. More information about the company is available on the ONG web site at [http://www.ong.com/>http://www.ong.com][2].

[1]: http://www.acecashexpress.com/
[2]: http://www.ong.com/