Charge-Offs Edge Up

Charge-offs among credit card-backed securities slid upwards by 21 basis points last month. Delinquency also inched up by 7 basis points during December, according to data released this morning by Fitch IBCA. Charge-offs, among $211 billion in credit card-backed bonds, increased to 5.49% for the most recent collection period compared to 1999’s lowest level of 5.21%. However the figure is well below the 6.27% reported one year ago. Meanwhile 60+ day delinquency drifted upwards in December to 3.26%, exactly where it stood one year ago. Monthly payment rates continue to be well above 1998 levels.

CREDIT CARD SECURITIZATION PERFORMANCE
Period CO GY MP DL SP
Dec99 5.49% 19.17% 16.05% 3.26% 6.05%
Nov99 5.28% 19.63% 16.29% 3.19% 6.10%
Oct99 5.21% 18.78% 16.84% 3.10% 5.89%
Sep99 5.58% 19.62% 16.99% 3.00% 5.81%
Aug99 5.55% 19.04% 16.56% 2.96% 5.80%
Jul99 5.75% 18.86% 16.44% 2.95% 5.63%
Jun99 5.95% 19.71% 16.36% 3.03% 6.04%
May99 5.91% 18.65% 15.96% 3.02% 5.64%
Apr99 5.94% 20.24% 16.87% 3.14% 5.92%
Mar99 6.05% 19.49% 15.44% 3.25% 5.69%
Feb99 6.10% 19.23% 15.82% 3.28% 5.37%
Jan99 6.00% 19.57% 15.62% 3.15% 5.34%

CO-chargeoffs; GY-gross yield; MP-monthly payment rate; DL- 60+ day
delinquency rate; SP-3-month excess spread
Source: Fitch IBCA Credit Card Index

Details

VISA NFL Fans Named

Every year, 170 million NFL fans cheer on their favorite football teams. For the second consecutive year, Visa U.S.A. and the Pro Football Hall of Fame are recognizing 31 of these face-painting, costume-wearing, shrine-building, season ticket-holding NFL fans.

On January 18, 2000, these devoted fans will be honored in a special ceremony at the “Visa Hall of Fans”, a fan-only exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Visa Hall of Fans is the first and only exhibit in sports that recognizes and honors specific fans for their contributions and dedication to the sport they love — professional football. On hand for the fan ceremony in Canton will be Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL legend Roger Staubach, this year’s Visa Hall of Fans spokesperson and master of ceremonies.

“NFL teams and players rely and thrive on fan support,” said Roger Staubach, Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. “The avid fans we selected for the Visa Hall of Fans are dedicated to their teams and are integral to players’ morale. They are truly part of the `team family’. It’s wonderful that Visa and the Pro Football Hall of Fame created the Visa Hall of Fans program to recognize the contributions fans make to the sport.”

Visa and the Pro Football Hall of Fame conducted a nationwide search for the most dedicated fan from each of the 31 NFL teams. Selected by a panel of judges from the Hall of Fame, the NFL and Visa, these ultimate fans are among the most loyal, knowledgeable and enthusiastic in pro football.

The “Visa Hall of Fans” exhibit showcases the honorees through individual panels featuring the fans’ names, photographs and short testimonials. The exhibit also includes famous fan mementos, a plaque with the names of previous Visa Hall of Fans honorees and a film of the league’s most dedicated and sometimes outrageous fans.

“Every year thousands of pro football fans travel to Canton, Ohio to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame where the memories and achievements of the game’s heroes are preserved,” said John Bankert, the Hall’s executive director. “For our visitors, the Visa Hall of Fans exhibit creates a direct link to their experiences. Fans realize that their team dedication and enthusiasm could earn them recognition in the Hall of Fame, next their heroes. Together with Visa, we have created a home for the unsung heroes — the fans.”

“Visa Hall Of Fans” Honorees Score Big For Home Teams The “Visa Hall of Fans” honorees have spent decades following their favorite teams, resulting in some fascinating stories:

— Wayne “The Violator” Mabry has been following the Oakland Raiders since 1970. For the past nine seasons, “The Violator” has been attending home games and intimidating opposing teams and fans by dressing in full “warrior” gear, complete with spikes on his shoulder pads; dramatic, zebra-striped face paint; armored forearm bands; and a sword.

— Terry Musolf, an Indianapolis Colts fan for the past 42 years, has spent more than 10,000 hours of research keeping statistics on every Colts player since 1957. Terry works closely with the Colts organization to restore their statistical history records, and has a library of information so vast, he willed it to the team.

— Zema “Chief Zee” Williams has attended Washington Redskins games dressed in Indian garb since 1978. “Chief Zee” can be easily spotted getting the crowd excited, including bringing a hog to games in honor of the Redskins’ offensive line. During the past 21 seasons, “The Chief” has also donated time to charitable programs for children and the elderly, earning him the official “Chief Zee Day” on November 7, 1985 in Washington, D.C.

A complete list of the 1999-2000 “Visa Hall of Fans” honorees is featured at the end of this release.

The 1999-2000 Visa Hall of Fans honorees join the ranks of past honorees that include Tim “Barrelman” McKernan (Denver Broncos), Mike “Boss Hogette” Torbert (Washington Redskins) and Monte “Arrowman” Short (Kansas City Chiefs).

“The `Visa Hall of Fans’ exhibit brings the passion and excitement of the NFL closer to fans,” said George Perry, Director, Event and Sponsorship Marketing, Visa U.S.A. “The program best represents Visa’s efforts to reward NFL fans for their dedication to the sport. We applaud their loyalty to their teams and the NFL.”

The “Visa Hall of Fans” search is just one component of Visa’s integrated marketing program to support its NFL sponsorship. In its fifth year as the preferred payment card of the NFL, Visa is proving to fans that “It’s everywhere NFL fans want to be.” In addition to the fan search, Visa’s NFL program includes a title sponsorship of the nationally televised “Visa Halftime Report” on FOX; NFL-themed national advertising; Member-supported national consumer promotions; direct mail; retail and online marketing.

Established in 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the ultimate honoring place for the legends of the sport. From Sammy Baugh to Walter Payton, each inductee is synonymous with dedication, team leadership and athletic excellence. The “Visa Hall of Fans” exhibit brings the best players and fans together.

Visa is the leading card brand and the largest payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1.4 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year. Visa’s more than 600 million cards are accepted at more than 17 million worldwide locations, including more than 500,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com][1].

The 1999-2000 honorees for the “Visa Hall of Fans” are:

Arizona Cardinals Russell Boles (a.k.a. “EndZonie”)
Atlanta Falcons Cheryl Ballard
Baltimore Ravens Matt Andrews
Buffalo Bills Valerie Pawluk
Carolina Panthers Rhett Vandiver
Chicago Bears Rob Federighi
Cincinnati Bengals James Bruning
(a.k.a. “Bengal Jim”)
Cleveland Browns Ronald Tedeschi
Dallas Cowboys Marion Dillon
(a.k.a. “Cowboy Mom”)
Denver Broncos Ellen Lewine-Jones
Detroit Lions Peter Cucinella
Green Bay Packers John O’Neill (a.k.a. “St. Vince”)
Indianapolis Colts Terry Musolf
Jacksonville Jaguars David Kanaszka
Kansas City Chiefs Michael Rodriguez Jr.
Miami Dolphins John Mazzanoble (a.k.a. “FinHead”)
Minnesota Vikings John Velek
New England Patriots Mark Feigenbaum
New Orleans Saints Marie Knutson
New York Giants Jeffrey Borer
New York Jets Don Schaeffer
Oakland Raiders Wayne Mabry (a.k.a. “Violator”)
Philadelphia Eagles Richard Prinz
Pittsburgh Steelers Marky Billson
San Diego Chargers Joseph Parker
San Francisco 49ers Martin Jacobs
Seattle Seahawks Michael Houston
St. Louis Rams Lance Goldberg (a.k.a. “Big Seed”)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Melody Figurski
Tennessee Oilers Edward Gifford
Washington Redskins Zema Williams (a.k.a. “Chief Zee”)

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

Details

US Airways Card

US Airways announced this week that miles earned in its ‘Dividend Miles’ program will not expire so long as the cardmember has account activity during a 36-month period. Qualifying account activity includes miles earned for US Airways flights, miles earned by ‘Dividend Miles VISA’ card usage, mileage earned through any of US Airways’ partner or any miles redeemed through the program. US Airways also extended the ‘Preferred’ member benefit period from 12 months to 14 months. As of March 1, the program will have three frequent flyer levels with new names. ‘Silver Preferred’ for 25,000 mile flyers; ‘Gold Preferred’ for 50,000 miles flyers; and ‘Chairman’s Preferred’ for 100,000 mile flyers.

Details

Top E-Commerce Sites

Media Metrix, the leader and pioneer in Internet and Digital Media measurement worldwide, announced Monday that the number of visitors to e-commerce sites was highest the second week of December (week ending 12/12/99) and released the top 25 overall e-commerce sites for the five-week holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving to Christmas. E-commerce traffic increased 27 percent during Christmas week (week ending 12/26/99) compared to the same week last year (week ending12/27/98). Top unique visitor growth categories included greeting card and gaming sites which increased significantly during Christmas week, according to Media Metrix.

“The third week of the shopping season–the week ending Dec. 12–was the climax of the shopping season, when the largest increase in visitors to shopping sites occurred,” said Doug McFarland, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of Media Metrix. “All in all, 1999 was a banner year for holiday-related e-commerce. We consistently found major gains overall since last year on a week-to-week comparison. In terms of categories, toy and bricks and mortar sites appear to be the biggest success stories, with major gainers in both categories since last year and significant week-to-week increases this holiday season.”

———————————————————————-
Top 25 E-Commerce Sites for the 5 Week Holiday Shopping Season
November 14 through December 26, 1999

———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
Rank Site Avg. Unique Visitors in
000s for 5 weeks of
holiday shopping
season–11/22-12/26
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
1 Amazon.com 5,693
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
2 Ebay.com 4,073
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
3 Etoys.com 1,662
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
4 Barnesandnoble.com 1,522
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
5 Toysrus.com 1,486
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
6 Buy.com 1,427
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
7 Cdnow.com 1,416
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
8 Egreetings.com 1,116
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
9 Expedia 1,019

———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
10 Travelocity.com 934
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
11 Egghead.com sites 900
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
12 Kbkids.com 799
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
13 Bmgmusicservice.com 782
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
14 Bonzi.com 674
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
15 Americangreetings.com 638
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
16 Beyond.com 623
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
17 Shopnow.com sites 619
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
18 Ticketmaster 597
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
19 Jcpenney.com 594
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
20 Dell.com 582
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
21 Overstock.com 549
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
22 Compaq.com 522
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
23 Shopping.com 515
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
24 Columbiahouse.com 513
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
25 Priceline.com 500
———————————————————————-

Gainers during Christmas Week

While most e-shoppers completed their online shopping by
Christmas week, gains unique visitors were seen in several site
categories, including greeting card sites, with significant increases
during Christmas week compared to the three previous weeks:

———————————————————————-
Notable Greeting Card Gainers

———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
Site %Gain in week ending 12/26 compared Avg. Daily Unique

to avg. of 3 weeks prior (weeks Visitors in 000s
ending 12/5, 12/12, 12/19) for week ending
12/26

———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
123greetings.com 168% 153
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
Messagemates.com 86% 80
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
Bluemountainarts.com 82% 1,427
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
Americangreetings.com 59% 161
———————————————————————-
———————————————————————-
Egreetings.com 34% 254
———————————————————————-

Other notable gainers during Christmas week were:

— Hollywood Online, where users can look for information about new movie releases, (+64 percent with 69,000 avg. daily unique visitors for the week);

— Enews.com (+ 48 percent with 118,000 avg. daily unique visitors), a magazine subscription site;

— Claus.com (+38 percent with 55,000 avg. daily unique visitors), a site devoted to Christmas;

— Microsoft’s computing Web site, Computing Central (+35 percent with 96,000 avg. daily unique visitors);

— Bricks and mortar shopping sites Gap.com (+24 percent with 63,000 avg. daily unique visitors and Officemax.com (+23 percent with 65,000 avg. daily unique visitors).

Other shopping sites with gains in traffic during Christmas week were Mothernature.com (+23% with 59,000 avg. daily unique visitors); Ubid.com, a top advertiser last week according to AdRelevance (+14 percent with 75,000 avg. daily unique visitors); Carpoint.com (+13 percent with 71,000 avg. daily unique visitors); Artistdirect.com (+12 percent with 67,000 avg. daily unique visitors); Overstock.com (+11 percent with 151,000 unique visitors); CDW.com (+ 6 percent with 55,000); and UPS.com (+5 percent with 254,000 avg. daily unique visitors).

Gaming sites, including Gamecenter.com (+16% with 74,000 avg. daily unique visitors), Nintendo.com (+15 percent with 61,000 avg. daily unique visitors) and Zone.com (+14 percent with 168,000 avg. daily unique visitors), also experienced gains in visitors during the week of Christmas.

Definitions:

Average Daily Unique Visitors: the seven-day average number of different individuals that accessed a Web site.

E-Commerce site: a merchant or auction site, on which a monetary transaction can be conducted.

Unique Visitors: The actual number of total users who visited the reported Web site or online property at least once in the given month. All Unique Visitors are unduplicated (only counted once) and are in thousands.

About Media Metrix

Media Metrix, Inc., the leader and pioneer in Internet and Digital Media measurement, is the industry’s source for the most comprehensive, reliable, and timely audience ratings, E- commerce, advertising and technology measurement services. Through its acquisition of AdRelevance, an innovator in Internet advertising measurement, Media Metrix has expanded its product offering to include comprehensive data on where, when, how and how much Web marketers and their competition are advertising online.

Media Metrix provides leading advertising agencies, new and traditional media companies, E-commerce marketers, financial services companies and technology companies with comprehensive coverage of all Digital Media (including more than 21,000 Web sites and online properties). Media Metrix utilizes its patented metering methodology to measure actual Internet and Digital Media audience usage behavior in real-time – click by click, page by page, minute by minute. Media Metrix offers monthly, weekly, and daily data collection and reporting, and a sample of more than 50,000 people under measurement in the United States. Media Metrix has worldwide operations in the U.K, France, Germany and Australia. For more information about Media Metrix, please visit: [www.mediametrix.com][1]

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

Details

New ACE President

The ACE Cash Express, Inc. Board of Directors announced Monday the promotion of Jay B. Shipowitz to President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Shipowitz has also been elected to the Board of Directors of the nation’s largest check-cashing chain and a significant provider of retail financial services. Mr. Shipowitz had been Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since joining the company in May of 1997.

In related moves, R.E. “Ed” McCarty was promoted to Executive Vice President, Operations from Senior Vice President and will remain President of the ACE Franchise Group. Also promoted was Debra A. Bradford to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from Vice President, Finance. The promotions are effective immediately.

In making the announcement Donald H. Neustadt, Chief Executive Officer said, “Naming Jay, President and COO, is a great way for ACE to start the New Year. He has demonstrated the kind of innovation and leadership ACE will need to meet the challenges of a dynamic marketplace. Jay was instrumental in redefining the Company’s capital structure, securing long term agreements with several key vendors, expanding ACE’s service offerings and creating the loan program affiliation with a national bank using debit card technology.”

“ACE has established an outstanding record and I welcome the challenge to build on this legacy of success,” stated Mr. Shipowitz. “I am excited about the promotions of Ed McCarty and Debra Bradford that recognize their contributions to our enviable history of growth and I look forward to working with them and all of ACE’s associates, partners and franchise owners in executing the exciting initiatives already underway.”

ACE Cash Express, Inc. is headquartered in Irving, Texas and is the largest owner, operator and franchiser of check-cashing stores in the United States. Founded in 1968, the company currently has a network of 965 stores, consisting of 819 company owned stores and 146 franchised stores in 29 states and the District of Columbia. ACE offers a broad range of financial and check cashing services and is one of the largest providers of MoneyGram wire transfers. In addition, ACE offers money orders, small consumer loans, bill payment services, and prepaid local and long distance telecommunication services. The company’s website is found at [http://www.acecashexpress.com][1].

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

Details

Portfolio Premiums Rise

Average premiums paid to acquire bank credit card portfolios rose sharply last year, according to data released Monday by R.K. Hammer Investment Bankers. The average gross premium above book value for 1999 came in at 16.42% compared to 13.12% for 1998. However the range is fairly wide. Just before the holidays Wachovia acquired the $2 billion Partners First portfolio for a premium of 8.3% while Associates announced last week it is paying a 25% premium to acquire the $1.3 billion KeyCorp portfolio. Hammer says portfolio prices were lifted last year by improving credit quality. Indeed consumer bankruptcies and credit card chargeoffs declined during 1999 while delinquencies moderated. The portfolio study is based on 21 card transactions with $19.2 billion in receivables, and excludes small deals, sub-prime sales and mergers-of-equals. Hammer specializes in card portfolio valuations, fairness opinions and buy/sell/hold decisions.

PERFORMING PORTFOLIOS SALES

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Avg Weighted Premium: 20.7% 17.7% 13.2% 13.1% 16.4%
Avg Cost-Per-Acquired Acct: $207 $176 $133 $116 $152
Avg Earnings Multiple*: 5.7x 5.4x 5.1x 5.2x 5.3x

*premium divided by the operating return on assets
Source: RK Hammer Investment Bankers (Thousand Oaks, CA)

Details

Revised Online Sales Figures

Ernst & Young released results from its 1999 post-holiday online retailing survey, finding that 26 percent of those polled made a purchase online during the holidays. Additionally, the number of women who shopped online during the holiday season outpaced the men. Fifty-six percent of total respondents were women and 44 percent were men.

The survey, which polled 1,283 Internet users, also found that while the sites most-visited by Internet shoppers remain consistent with earlier findings, a slightly different set of winners is revealed when reviewing the average dollar amount spent at these sites. For example, Amazon.com was the #1 shopping destination for 42 percent of online shoppers this holiday season, followed by eToys (20 percent), Toys R Us (19 percent), Barnes&Noble.com (17 percent) and Buy.com (16 percent). However, the top five sites by average dollar amount spent are Best Buy ($233), Egghead.com ($217), 1800flowers.com ($173), Disney ($172) and Walmart ($167). (See chart.)

Percentage of respondents who shopped at a particular site and the average they spent:

% respondents Average Amt.
shopping online Spent at Site
that shopped at site
————————— ——————– —————
Amazon.com 42.1% $128
eToys 20.3% $127
Toys R Us 19.4% $134
Barnes&Noble.com 16.9% $63
Buy.com 16.1% $111
Cdnow 14.3% $69
KBToys 14.3% $89
eBay 12.5% $152
J.C.Penney 9.8% $151
Drugstore.com 7.2% $38
PlanetRX.com 5.4% $33
Land’s End 5.2% $133
Columbia House 4.9% $71
Petsmart 4.9% $38
Reel.com 4.9% $72
Disney 4.6% $172
Egghead.com 4.3% $217
Iqvc 4.1% $151
1800flowers.com 3.9% $173
Best Buy 3.7% $233
Borders 3.3% $69
LL Bean 3.3% $138
Walmart 2.9% $167

“Whenever we ask online shoppers where they make their purchases, Amazon.com comes up again and again as number-one,” said Stephanie Shern, Ernst & Young’s Global Director of Retail & Consumer Products. “This new data, however, reveals that online shoppers are spending their money across a variety of online retailers and categories. The purchases made online are broad-based and many Internet retailers are enjoying a successful season.”

Total Online Sales

The Ernst & Young survey found that, on average, online shoppers spent $1,225 on Internet purchases during the past 12 months, with 60 percent spending at least $500. Most (87 percent) said that the total dollar amount they spent increased over the previous 12 months, and almost all (91 percent) said that they would spend the same or more in the coming 12 months in online purchases.

“Given this new data, we are updating our estimate for online holiday sales in 1999 to $10 – 13 billion,” said Shern. “Considering the dramatic increase in the number of Internet sites and merchandise available, plus the broad-based success among these retailers, our estimate of total revenue for calendar year 1999 remains at $25 – $30 billion.”

Favorites and Disappointments

When Internet shoppers were asked to report on their favorite online retailers this holiday season, the top five sites listed as number-one were Amazon.com, eBay, Buy.com, eToys and Barnes&Noble. (See chart.)

Favorite shopping sites and reasons why?

———————————————————————
Total Top Reasons
1st mention
Favorite Site
———————————————————————
Amazon.com 32% good selection good prices easy to use site
48% 16% 14%
eBay 6% good selection Has items not good prices
56% available in 16%
stores
18%

Buy.com 5% good prices 48% good selection 35%

eToys 5% good selection good availability easy to use
44% of items 20% site 11%

Barnes&Noble.com 5% good selection easy to good availability
52% use site 9% of items 9%
Cdnow 4% good selection good prices 19% easy to use
50% site 14%

Toys R Us 2% good selection good availability good prices,
23% of items 18% ease of
ordering, 14%

Land’s End 2% good selection easy to use site offers brands
53% 16% I like
16%

Egghead.com 2% good selection good prices good availability
44% 31% 19%
JCPenney 2% good selection on-time delivery good prices
40% 20% 13%

Disney 2% good selection easy to use site
43% 14%

In addition, respondents were asked to report on sites that disappointed them this holiday season. The top sites that were mentioned as number-one were Toys R Us, Best Buy, Buy.com, eToys and Walmart. “Overall, the percentages given by respondents are fairly low,” said Shern. “Even though there were some disappointments, this is not such bad news.”

Disappointing sites and reasons why?
———————————————————————
Total 1st Top Reasons
mention
disappointing
Site
———————————————————————
Toys R Us 13% merchandise out of merchandise could site was
stock 29% not be too slow
delivered 21% 18%

Best Buy 3% could not find desired
products 68%

Buy.com 3% merchandise merchandise could tech. Probs,
out of not be high shipping
stock 28% delivered 12% costs, poor
customer
service 12%

eToys 3% merchandise could not find site slow/
out of desired merch. 22% difficult
stock 22% to use 9%

Walmart 3% could not find merchandise prices
desired out of un-competitive,

products 48% stock 13% site difficult to
use 13%

JCPenney 2% merchandise site was too could not find
out of slow 14% desired prod, tech
stock 52% probs 10%

KBToys 2% merchandise could not find technical problems
out of desired 25%
stock 25% products 25%

Amazon.com 2% merchandise prices were not merchandise out
could not competitive 22% of stock 17%
be delivered
33%

Barnes&Noble.com 2% merchandise out could not find merch. Could
of stock 24% desired products not be
12% delivered,
priced not
competitive 12%

eBay 2% site was too slow site was hard poor customer
21% to use 21% service 14%

Total Holiday Shopping

Ernst & Young found that the average amount spent on total (all venues) holiday purchases was $1,080. Of these purchases, 67 percent were bought in stores, 7 percent through catalogs, and 26 percent online. Categories with the most purchases (all venues) were: toys (73 percent purchased from this category), apparel (70 percent), CDs/videos (64 percent), books (60 percent), and computer hardware and software (58 percent). Most purchased categories online were: books (50 percent), computer hardware and software (49 percent), toys (47 percent), CDs/videos (44 percent), and flowers (42 percent).

About Ernst & Young

Leveraging its strengths in e-business and drawing upon its deep knowledge of the retail and consumer products industry, Ernst & Young has developed a dedicated capability in e-tailing, helping retail and consumer products companies develop and execute 24×7 businesses that fully leverage Internet-based technologies to sell directly to customers. It is led by Stephanie Shern, Global and U.S. Director of Retail and Consumer Products.

Ernst & Young ([www.ey.com][1]) is one of the world’s leading providers of dot-company services in assurance, consulting, corporate finance and tax. More than 85,000 people around the world act as creative catalysts, joining forces with clients to do all it takes–FROM THOUGHT TO FINISH(TM)–to achieve positive, significant change. E&Y pioneered the development of advanced solutions that connect clients, partners and employees with E&Y resources and knowledge to help them rapidly reach their goals. Ernst & Young refers to the U.S. firm of Ernst & Young LLP and other members of the global Ernst & Young organization.

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

Details

NCB Acquires FleetOne

Memphis-based National Commerce Bancorp confirmed Monday it has acquired FleetOne from Nashville-based Mapco, Inc. The acquisition, which NCBC made through its Nashville-based subsidiary TransPlatinum Service Corp., will expand NCBC’s fuel card and merchant processing from over-the-road vehicles to include a new line of business targeted to all commercial vehicle classes including local fleets. More than 2,000 fleets use ‘TransPlatinum’ fuel cards, which are accepted at approximately 4,000 locations nationwide. FleetOne’s cards, which are carried by the drivers of nearly 3,000 fleets, are accepted at nearly 1,000 sites nationwide. FleetOne’s market niche is vehicle classes one through six. About 90% of these companies have yet to contract for fuel cards and transaction processing. FleetOne’s employees will be merged with TransPlatinum’s current staff, with no personnel changes expected.

Details

VISA COO

VISA named D. Bruce Wheeler as executive vice president and chief operating officer of VISA USA yesterday. Wheeler’s appointment at VISA comes on the heels of the retirement of William Stewart, who held an array of operational responsibilities and most recently was acting head of e-VISA. Prior to joining VISA, Wheeler was vice chairman of Omega Performance, a provider of training and consulting to the financial service industry, which was recently sold. Wheeler’s career also includes serving as an EVP at Mellon Bank; president and COO of Bank of New England; head of retail banking at First Nationwide Bank; and positions at Bank of Boston, Crocker Bank and First National Bank of Chicago.

Details

ECHO Bank

Electronic Clearing House announced Monday afternoon the filing of an application to charter an online, national bank to provide merchants nationwide with electronic payment services. If the bank charter is approved the bank name will be Electronic Clearing Bank N.A. and will be a wholly owned subsidiary of ECHO. The application process is expected to take approximately four months to complete and, upon approval, ECHO will file an application to become a bank holding company. ECHO intends to name Jack Wilson as president of ECBank. ECBank will provide full deposit account services to merchants and will utilize the Internet as the primary medium for merchants to access banking information, transaction data and funds management services.

Details

ORC and EEI

Online Resources & Communications Corp., a leading provider of Internet banking services, and Engineering Enterprises, Inc., a leading financial solutions technology provider and systems integrator for major securities firms, announced plans Monday to integrate real-time Internet banking and bill payment services with brokerage services provided by EEI’s EnterpriseFTX technology.

The partnership will enable customers of financial services firms to use the Internet to move money seamlessly among checking, savings and brokerage accounts, pay bills online and initiate securities transactions – all fully integrated and in real-time.

“This partnership is our first step since the recent passage of the banking reform law to help the financial services industry fulfill the law’s promise,” said Online Resources CEO Matthew P. Lawlor. “EEI has an unmatched reputation, especially in the brokerage industry, for delivering integrated software solutions. We plan to work together to mesh brokerage and banking services so that our client financial institutions can offer their customers the online services they’re demanding.”

Online Resources is a leader in the industry in offering integrated real-time banking and bill paying services, said George Anderson, EEI President and CEO. “Online Resources’ patented payment method that allows the merging of the real-time communications of the Internet with the banking industry’s real-time, trusted and secure payments systems offers unprecedented opportunities,” Anderson said. “Customers of our brokerage clients can look forward to investing proceeds from stock transactions in more immediate ways than have been possible before. And with ORCC’s partnerships with other financial services providers, our brokerage clients and Online Resources’ banking institutions can now be the one-stop financial shop our customers say they want.”

This merging of payments and information systems is part of Online Resources’ effort to build the real-time payments infrastructure for e-commerce, Lawlor says. His company hopes to leverage its 10 years of experience in the banking industry with its Internet-based software, systems and services. Online Resources’ patented method involves routing Internet transactions in real-time through the banking industry’s online payments networks, lowering costs and improving security.

These networks, which first enabled the hugely successful ATM machines, are now being used to fuel the escalating growth of debit cards. Next, the networks plan to move into e-commerce. The NYCE Network and the Star Network, both of which have processing agreements with Online Resources, have recently announced plans to explore real-time Internet point-of-sale.

“The world is rapidly moving toward the real-time integration of financial services,” said Lawlor, who has outlined his vision of real-time Internet payments for several financial industry trade publications. “Now, with EEI as a partner, we will move the brokerage industry into the real-time universe and meld it with online banking and bill paying services.”

Online Resources & Communications Corporation ( [http://www.orcc.com][1]) is a leading outsourcer of privately branded Internet financial services, principally for regional and community banking institutions. The McLean, Virginia-based company has more than 400 institutional clients nationwide. It provides consumer bill paying and banking services and aggregates lending, insurance, securities trading and investment services. Online Resources performs real-time processing through its patented EFT gateway and full customer service for client institutions, giving them a comprehensive “hub” solution from a single vendor. Client consumer marketing programs are conducted under the bankonline.com co-brand.

Enterprise Engineering, Inc. (EEI) is a leading provider of enterprise and e-commerce software products for financial services firms. EEI’s product portfolio paves the way for banks, brokerages, and insurers to deliver integrated financial services via the Internet. EEI has created mission-critical systems and provided advanced training and strategic consulting for many Fortune 500 firms. The company’s key areas of expertise include real-time, Web-based delivery of online banking, brokerage and electronic commerce; online bill payment and presentment; creation of back office capabilities; and advanced technology training. EEI’s home page is located at [http://www.joineei.com][2].

[1]: http://www.orcc.com/
[2]: http://www.joineei.com/

Details

CrediPort

NY-based Creditor Systems announced this morning the availability of a wireless, portable credit card verification system. The patent pending president which has been in development and testing for over a year, consists of a terminal/printer, a three watt phone modem and a rechargeable battery. The terminal, which measures 5.5″ x 11″ x 6″ and weighs 6.5 lbs, is certified. The company’s trademark is “Cell more with a Creditor System”.

Details