OPC Ad Campaign

Official Payments Corporation announced Thursday the company has launched a concentrated national consumer advertising campaign that will run in the weeks prior to the April 17 tax day, marketing to consumers the company’s 1-888-2PAY-TAX credit card tax payment service.

The seven-week campaign, which is budgeted for up to $5 Million, will run in national newspapers and on network and local radio. The theme of the campaign centers on the convenience, cash management and credit card rewards attributes of the company’s 1-888-2-PAY-TAX(SM) service.

Official Payments has contracts with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide a service that enables taxpayers to pay their 1999 balance due payments, 1999 tax year extension and estimated tax payments for tax year 2000 by credit card. This is the first full-blown year of the credit card payment program. The IRS and Official Payments, Corp. tested a pilot version of the program last year. In addition to the IRS, Official Payments has similar contracts with the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oklahoma

“The IRS, our partners at the credit card companies and Official Payments are all conducting an integrated consumer marketing effort to build awareness of the e-file and 1-888-2-PAY-TAX(SM) program,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and CEO of Official Payments Corporation. “We are being both strategic and tactical in our campaign by deploying our resources at the height of the tax-season. When you overlay Official Payments’ efforts with those of the IRS and the credit card companies, the combined targeting, frequency and reach represents a truly impressive awareness campaign,” Mr. Evans added.

During the seven-week campaign, Official Payments will run national ads in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The seven-week flight of radio spots will air on national radio networks, augmented by spot radio in major metropolitan areas in the states that accept credit card payment for state income taxes.

The IRS has included the 1-888-2-PAY-TAX(SM) credit card option in creative print executions and radio spots for its own e-file national advertising campaign and information on the 1-888-2-PAY-TAX(SM) was included in 140 million 1040 instructions provided by the IRS to taxpayers. Additionally the program is being supported by independent marketing efforts by American Express, MasterCard and Discover.

About Official Payments Corp.

Official Payments Corp. is a leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The Company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via the Internet or telephone, using their credit cards. The Company has partnered with the United States Internal Revenue Service, several state governments, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma, the District of Columbia and over 450 municipal and county entities, in which it collects property taxes, real estate taxes, traffic fines and other government fees by credit card over the Internet and the telephone. The Company does business in 23 states and is publicly listed on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.


Global Payment Solutions

Western Union International Commercial Services Division pinpointed a problem for international businesses: receiving payments from business partners and customers conveniently and on-time. In response to this need, ICS developed two Global Payment Solutions, Western Union Quick Pay and Quick Cash, which allow businesses to receive or send faster, easier and 100% secure international payments.

The Quick Pay service is free to businesses and enables their clients to go to any Western Union Agent location to make an easy payment in cash, paying a low fixed fee for the transaction. Quick Cash gives businesses the capability to send cash just about anywhere in the world at a low-cost per transaction from an office PC, with the funds available for pickup at any Western Union Agent location.

“Our Global Payment Solutions touched a nerve within the international business community,” said Frank Angrisani, Senior Vice President, Western Union, ICS. “It spurred us to find more ways to use the Western Union platform to enhance business funds transfers throughout the world.” Based on the success of Quick Pay and Quick Cash, he announced six additional services, including products for business-to-business transactions; government agency benefits payouts and cash disbursements by banks and other lending institutions. The following is a description of the division’s new Global Payment Solutions that will help revolutionize business payments in the Year 2000. More details are available on the Western Union International Commercial Services website at [www.payment-solutions.com][1] or email Fran Falino at ffalino@intl.westernunion.com.

— Western Union Direct Pay takes the hassle out of global commerce. Now companies can transfer payments directly to and from business partners internationally and much faster, safer and easier than conventional payment methods like bank wires or foreign checks. The sending company uses Western Union software installed on an office PC and pays a low, fixed fee per payment transaction. The company receiving the payment is notified electronically that the funds have been transferred to their designated bank account.

— Western Union Signature Services is customized for financial institutions, which can now disburse funds anywhere in the world. And, they may market the service by co-branding and leveraging Western Union’s worldwide name recognition. Financial institutions, insurance companies and businesses can now issue payouts or dividends to clients globally. It’s one of the fastest, safest ways to disburse funds, which may be picked up in cash at any of 80,000-plus Western Union Agent locations.

— Western Union Easy Loan makes it possible for any bank or other financial institution to reach their customers anywhere in the world. This remarkably fast, 100% secure service allows lenders to send funds of all types to recipients utilizing the Western Union platform. In addition, Western Union Easy Loan may be used to transfer credit card cash advances. The recipient may pick up the cash at any one of Western Union’s Agent locations worldwide or designate another recipient such as a friend or family member.

— Western Union Benefits Quick Cash enables government agencies to instantly issue benefits payments directly from the agency. Benefits, social security, civil service annuity and other cash payouts may be sent to recipients worldwide with a greater level of ease and secure. The recipient simply picks up the funds at any Western Union Agent location. Or, the recipient may choose Western Union Benefits Direct and have the funds direct-deposited into their designated bank account. Benefits Direct offers speed, convenience and the peace of mind of direct-deposit.

— Western Union Global Cash Management Services provide banks with an alternative for global cash management that enables them to disburse funds for corporate clients, using the 80,000-plus Western Union Agent locations worldwide. With Western Union Global Cash Management Services, banks have the ability to collect or distribute funds for corporate clients securely and easily.

[1]: http://www.payment-solutions.com/


Real Estate Card Ends

Bank Plus Corporation today reported that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB has taken the following actions with regards to its real estate secured credit card program with First Alliance Mortgage Company, a subsidiary of First Alliance Corporation:

Delivered to FAMCO formal notice that the agreements pertaining to the Program have expired and that Fidelity will not be extending the terms of these agreements. The notice also demands that FAMCO fulfill all of its obligations required under the agreements upon and after termination, including an obligation to purchase, or cause a designee to purchase, from Fidelity, at par, all of the outstanding accounts and related receivables generated under the program.

Delivered to FAMCO formal notice to terminate the agreement under which FAMCO services the accounts under the Program. The termination of servicing pursuant to this notice will be effective in 180 days. Because FAMCO refused to permit Fidelity to inspect FAMCO’s books and records as required under the Program servicing agreement, Fidelity also delivered to FAMCO formal notice of a breach of the agreement and notice that unless the breach is cured within 30 days, Fidelity may terminate the agreement for cause.

Filed with the American Arbitration Association and delivered to FAMCO a formal demand for arbitration seeking declaratory relief as to the rights and duties of Fidelity and FAMCO under certain terms of the expired agreements pertaining to the Program. The demand for arbitration alleges that a dispute exists between the parties, because FAMCO contends that it has no obligation to purchase, or cause a designee to purchase from Fidelity, at par, all of the outstanding accounts and related receivables generated under the program.

In February 2000, FAMCO filed a complaint against Fidelity along with an application for a temporary restraining order in the Superior Court in Orange County, California under which FAMCO sought a court order to restrain Fidelity from converting funds held by Fidelity in a cash collateral account and a court order compelling Fidelity to release the cash collateral funds to FAMCO. The court, after argument, denied FAMCO’s application.

Fidelity entered into the Program agreements with FAMCO in February 1997. Under the agreements, Fidelity served as issuer and owner of the Program accounts and is responsible for the risk management associated with the extension of credit. FAMCO is responsible for marketing and processing applications and servicing the accounts originated under the Program. FAMCO also provides credit enhancements to guarantee full repayment of the Program receivables in the event of cardholder defaults and, in exchange, has the right to purchase the outstanding receivables at par and receives all revenues, net of expenses and funding costs paid to Fidelity, from the program. FAMCO is required to fund a cash collateral account as part of the credit enhancement. As of January 31, 2000, total receivables outstanding under the Program totaled $17.3 million and the balance of the cash collateral account was $2.7 million.

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 36 full-service branches, 35 of which are located in Southern California, principally in Los Angeles and Orange counties.


Visa Board

VISA USA named three new members to its Board of Directors and also named a new EVP of emerging markets and technology. James Dixon, BankofAmerica.com Executive at Bank of America; G. Kennedy Thompson, President of First Union; and, G. Joseph Prendergast, President and COO of Wachovia were added to the VISA Board. Yesterday’s board appointments are effective immediately, and bring the total number of VISA U.S.A. directors to 13. VISA USA also named Paul Vessey as EVP of emerging markets and technology. Vessey joins VISA from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, where he was a senior EVP overseeing card products, payment products and insurance.Vessey is also the former chairman of the Visa Canada Association and the former vice chairman of VISA International.


Citgo Deal Completed

Associates First Capital completed its agreement to acquire and manage the proprietary credit card program of CITGO. The Associates has acquired $130 million in receivables and approximately 1.2 million active consumer accounts. The acquisition does not affect CITGO’s commercial or fleet credit card accounts. Associates says it will employ 112 additional customer service and collections people in its Des Moines, IA credit card facility to manage the new accounts. The Associates and CITGO began their relationship in 1986 when they launched a co-branded bank credit card program. With the acquisition, The Associates becomes the largest provider of oil private label credit cards to the US oil industry with $2.2 billion in receivables and 11 million active accounts. In 1999, The Associates handled 423 million transactions for oil card customers, supporting $7.7 billion in sales for the oil companies.


Watson Terminal

Diebold unveiled a self-service concept that allows access to real-time, Internet-based information and services on a terminal that adapts to the physical needs of the user. ‘Watson’ utilizes biometric technology to identify consumers as they approach the terminal. Accessing pre-registered data, the terminal automatically adjusts to the user’s physical needs. For example, for an exceptionally tall user, the interface raises and the monitor tilts back for easier viewing. For shorter users or even those in a wheel chair, the interface lowers and the monitor tilts forward to become nearly vertical. Using Diebold’s ‘OPTinet’ software, the interface provides Internet access to allow the user to retrieve real-time personalized information from any on-line agency or financial service provider. A built-in color laser printer enables the printing of items such as financial statements, local information or event tickets. The card dispenser allows other items of value to be dispensed such as phone cards, transit cards and smart cards.


Data Sales Stopped

Trans Union was ordered yesterday by the FTC to stop selling sensitive consumer data on 160 million Americans to target marketers. The FTC charged that Trans Union violated the FCRA. The FTC says selling consumer information to target marketers who lack one of the “permissible purposes” enumerated under the Act is illegal. The action applies to a number of Trans Union’s target marketing list products including its ‘Master File/Selects’ products, its modeled products, and its ‘TransLink’ /reverse append products. In reaching its decision that Trans Union’s sale of target marketing lists violated the FCRA, the Commission applied a two-pronged analysis. It determined: Trans Union’s target marketing lists qualify as consumer reports if they communicate information that: (1) bears on a consumer’s ‘credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living and (2); is ‘used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part’ to serve as a factor in determining credit eligibility. Because the Court of Appeals had already determined that “tradeline” information contained in Trans Union’s lists met the first prong of the definition, the Commission focused on the second prong and “reviewed record evidence detailing the various factors lenders use in evaluating and scoring credit eligibility. Trans Union argued the sections of the FCRA involved were unconstitutional and enforcing it violated the First Amendment.


Integrion Breakup

Integrion Financial Network, a consortium established by the country’s largest banks and IBM in 1996, announced that its founding mission to develop and provide member financial institutions with a bank-centric operating platform for Internet-based financial services is complete. The organization will begin to transition the responsibility of managing the processing services related to the Interactive Financial Services platform to each member bank.

The IFS platform serves one of the largest online banking user bases in the world — six major financial institutions representing more than 1.7 million subscribers. This subscriber base continues to grow at more than 140,000 new users per month. Integrion, along with its technology partners IBM and CheckFree, was responsible for developing and implementing the first fully integrated Internet banking, bill payment and bill delivery system in the country. Additionally, Integrion took the lead to ensure early on that the banking industry was involved intimately in setting the message standards for electronic financial services through the creation of the GOLD standard and ultimately its participation in the development of Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX).

As a result of having achieved a critical mass of customers, Integrion’s banks are now well positioned to independently address their Internet banking needs. As the landscape of the Internet and electronic financial services continues to change, each of the Integrion banks will be able to pursue strategies that fit with its overall strategic plans, and they will have a more direct role in their relationships with their Internet service partners.

Kenneth T. Stevens, Chairman of the Bank One Retail Group, said, “In the early stages of Internet banking, no one bank was in a position to buy or build the operating platform necessary for a robust, scaleable online presence. Integrion made it possible. Now, at Bank One, we have a leading Internet capability and the ability to manage our platform distinctly and independently.”

“Integrion served the interests of the Bank of America and the interests of the financial institution industry very well at a time when shared resources were greatly needed,” said James D. Dixon, Group Executive for Bank of America.com at Bank of America. “Today, there are different challenges that require different approaches. We, the owners of Integrion, remain steadfastly committed to maintaining a leadership role for the banking industry in electronic financial services and intend to remain a strong presence in the world of Internet commerce.”

While there will be some near-term staff reductions at Integrion, the majority of the Integrion team, including its managing director and chief operating officer, will remain in place.

“This consortium took on an initial task of building an online banking system for financial institutions at a time when Internet financial services was in its infancy. Integrion overcame many obstacles to develop a platform that would scale to today’s overwhelming metrics,” said Maurice St. Jean, Managing Director of Integrion. “We fully expect the individual financial institutions to continue to build upon the work that Integrion has completed.”

In addition to the Integrion Board of Managers (consisting of Bank of America, Bank One, Washington Mutual and Visa USA), PNC Bank, ABN AMRO and Michigan National also use the IFS platform to accommodate their interactive banking customers. All customer banks will be working closely with Integrion and IBM to determine their optimal transition plans that range from an internally run model to an alternative outsourcing scenario.

“We are focusing on ensuring a seamless transition of platform oversight to our member banks and anticipate zero disruption to customers,” said Christopher F. Schellhorn, Integrion Chief Operating Officer. “The IFS platform will continue to perform as it has in the past — handling a critical base of users that is growing exponentially.”

“In the four years since Integrion was formed, we have seen tremendous innovation and creative work by the member banks on behalf of their customers,” said Paul Loftus, General Manager, Solutions and Integration, IBM Software Group. “IBM is proud to have been involved in the creation of an Internet banking platform, IFS, which now supports nearly 2 million consumers. Going forward, IBM will work directly with each of the member banks to determine how to best support their ongoing needs in the ever changing consumer market.”

Additionally, financial institutions using the IFS/CheckFree banking, bill payment and presentment platform will establish and maintain direct relationships with CheckFree for their services.

“Over the last three years, Integrion clearly has accelerated the adoption of on-line financial services for the US banking industry,” said Pete Sinisgalli, President and Chief Operating Officer. “CheckFree applauds the accomplishments of Integrion and will be fully committed to serving our mutual customers through the transition of the IFS platform to the individual financial institutions.”

The Visa Interactive banking and bill payment platform, which was acquired by Integrion in August 1997 and currently serves approximately a half-million subscribers, was scheduled to “sunset” in mid-2000 as users move to other platforms. That schedule remains in place and on target.

About Integrion

Integrion Financial Network is a leading provider of interactive banking and electronic commerce services to US financial institutions. Through the Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform, Integrion offers financial institutions a network through which electronic transactions flow from multiple consumer access points to a bank’s host system and/or processor. Technology partnerships with IBM and CheckFree Corporation allow for the delivery of flexible, high-utility applications that can be employed at a financial institution for the benefit of end customers.

Integrion’s operating philosophy allows banks to determine the manner and format in which home banking and electronic commerce services are offered, ensuring consistency with the bank’s full range of services, effective branding by the bank and maximum customer benefit. For more information, visit the Integrion web site at [http://www.integrion.net][1].

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


Deluxe CFO

Deluxe Corporation announced that Paul H. Bristow, 57, will join eFunds Corporation as its chief financial officer.

Bristow’s most recent position was with Galileo International, Inc., where he was executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. Galileo, headquartered in Rosemont, Ill. is one of the world’s leading providers of electronic global distribution services for the travel industry. Bristow, a Canadian and British national, has previously held executive positions with Apax Partners, London International Group plc, ITT-Europe, ITT-Canada, Philip Morris, Inc. and Arthur Andersen & Company, during his 34-year career.

“We are very happy to fill this key management position with a person who has the industry experience and business leadership that Paul brings,” said J. A. Blanchard, chairman and chief executive officer of Deluxe Corporation. “Paul is a proven CFO with extensive international experience. We are pleased to have him join the eFunds team.”

In a related announcement, Deluxe’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, Thomas W. VanHimbergen, 51, has decided to leave the company as of April 30. “Tom has been a tremendous asset to the shareholders of Deluxe since he joined the company in 1997,” said Blanchard. “He was instrumental in the divestiture of more than 15 non-strategic businesses, was the driving force in installing financial discipline, and helped us formalize our strategic planning process. We are grateful for his leadership during Deluxe’s restructuring, and we are a significantly stronger business for his contributions.”

Deluxe also announced that Lois Martin, 37, currently vice president and corporate controller, will serve as interim senior vice president and chief financial officer following Mr. VanHimbergen’s departure. Ms. Martin joined Deluxe in 1993 and has served as vice president and controller since 1997.


OPC Update

Official Payments Corporation announced the appointment of Mitchell Gordon as Vice President & General Counsel. Mr. Gordon fills a new position at the firm and reports directly to Official Payments Chairman & CEO, Thomas R. Evans. His responsibilities will include managing the firm’s internal legal staff and various outside legal counsels.

“We conducted an extensive search to fill this key position on our management team,” said Mr. Evans. “Mitchell Gordon’s impressive business background, proven legal acumen and strong character make for a great addition to our team,” Mr. Evans said.

Mr. Gordon comes to Official Payments Corp. after a distinguished tenure as a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, and Meagher & Flom LLP, concentrating in mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. He has been involved in a number of complex, high-profile transactions, including representing Salomon Smith Barney in its pending acquisition of the investment banking business of Schroders PLC; Cendant Corporation in the recent sale of its software business to Havas S.A.; Travelers Group Inc. in its acquisition of Salomon Inc.; Paymentech Inc. in the joint acquisition of the company by Bank One Corporation and First Data Corporation; International Paper Company in its acquisition of The Weston Paper and Manufacturing Co.; and First Interstate Bancorp in its merger with Wells Fargo Company. Earlier in his career, Mr. Gordon held positions at M&T Bank and IBM Corporation.

Mr. Gordon graduated with honors from The University of Michigan Law School and received both his Masters in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts degrees with distinction from Cornell University. Among Mr. Gordon’s community activities, he is a sponsor in the Student/Sponsor Partnership, a tax-exempt program that helps disadvantaged youths to earn their high school diplomas through a combination of personal and financial support.

Official Payments Expands New Jersey Contract

Official Payments Corporation ([www.officialpayments.com][1]) (Nasdaq: OPAY) announced it has been awarded new business with the State of New Jersey, which is incremental to the firm’s existing contracts with the state. The Internet firm’s previous agreements gave New Jersey taxpayers the ability to pay their individual return balance-due, extensions, and estimated tax payments by credit card over the telephone. The new award adds an Internet payment option to the existing contract and two new tax payment categories: New Jersey Monthly and/or Quarterly Business Sales Tax and Deficiency tax payments. Official Payments Corp. also has contracts with the United States Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, and Oklahoma and over 450 counties and municipalities in 23 states to collect taxes fees and fines by credit card.

“It’s highly gratifying when an existing client affirms your relationship by significantly increasing the scope of your business,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and CEO of Official Payments. “Our earlier contracts offered toll-free telephone tax payments channels. The new award expands our offering with the Internet payment option and two additional tax payment categories,” Mr. Evans added. Official Payments, Corp made a similar announcement in January when the state of California awarded the firm incremental business.

“We are pleased to offer the credit card payment option on business sales tax as a convenient option to New Jersey’s business community,” Patricia Chiacchio, Director of the Division of Revenue said.

New Jersey Tax Statistics by Category:

Individual Taxpayers in New Jersey 4,000,000

Projected 1999 (tax year) Balance Due and Extension Payments Collected $6.7 Billion

Projected year 2000 Estimated Payments $1.6 Billion

Number of Projected FY2000 Business

Sales Tax Revenue $5.5 Billion

Official Payments Corp. charges taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. All of the aforementioned payments can be made by calling 1-888-2-PAY-TAXSM. The New Jersey Internet payment channel is expected to go live in March. The fee schedule can be found on the Internet at [www.officialpayments.com][2]. For example, a taxpayer who owed the government $990.00 and charged their taxes would find a total of $1015.00 on their credit card statement: $990.00 for the tax bill and $25.00 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 Corp.

Official Payments Corp. is a leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The Company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via the Internet or telephone (1-888-2-PAY-TAXSM), using their credit cards. The Company has partnered with the United States Internal Revenue Service, several state governments, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oklahoma, the District of Columbia and over 450 municipal and county entities, in which it collects property taxes, real estate taxes, traffic fines and other government fees by credit card over the Internet and the telephone. The Company does business in 23 states and is publicly listed on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.

[1]: http://www.officialpayments.com/
[2]: http://www.officialpayments.com/


Club-Charlie Card

Clubcharlie.com and CyberMark have teamed up to provide Clubcharlie members with a multi application smart card to be used both on-line and at merchant locations. Using the ‘Clubcharlie’ smart card, members will be able to use the card for banking, debit card functionality, calling card/telephony electronic cash, ID functions and many other features that can be added from the clubcharlie.com web site. Clubcharlie.com is an independent multimedia marketing company integrating e-commerce database development and loyalty marketing with motion picture and television production designed and tailored to meet the needs of “TWEENS” and their families.