Notre Dame VISA Renews

First USA, the world’s largest Visa credit card issuer, announced that the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association has extended its endorsement of First USA as the official issuer of the University of Notre Dame Visa credit card.

The program, started in 1995, offers a no-fee, low interest Platinum Visa credit card to alumni and friends of the University of Notre Dame. Revenue from the credit card program is used to fund academic scholarships for Notre Dame students.

First USA ([http://www.firstusa.com][1]), a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE: ONE), is the world’s largest issuer of Visa credit cards. First USA offers credit cards to consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 2,200 marketing partners. Bank One is the nation’s fifth-largest bank holding company with assets of more than $264 billion.

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

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AmEx Brokerage Online

American Express Company launched American Express Brokerage () – a service that combines attractive online pricing, including free equity trades for account holders with minimum balances, innovative online financial planning tools and access to American Express’ 9,300 financial advisors. The company announced plans to launch American Express Brokerage Oct. 5.

“With the launch of American Express Brokerage, there is now one place on the Web where all kinds of investors, from the beginner to the most sophisticated, will find what they need to help achieve their financial goals,” said Doug Lennick, executive vice president, Advice and Retail Distribution Group, American Express.

American Express Brokerage provides access to the tools for online investing that customers value most, including:

Low-cost equity trading. Online equity buys are free and sells are $14.95 with a minimum account balance of $25,000. For account balances of $100,000 or more, online equity buys and sells are free, although online sells are $14.95 if the stock was bought the same day. With an account balance of less than $25,000, online buys and sells are each $14.95. All equity buys and sells over 3,000 shares have an additional charge of three cents per share.

Instant online account opening. Qualified customers can open an account online and begin trading in minutes.

Financial planning tools. A comprehensive online financial planning tool will be available in the coming weeks. This tool helps investors set their goals and evaluate their financial situation through an interactive, easy-to-use “roadmap” integrating all areas of financial planning, from tax planning to estate planning to retirement and investment planning and more. Investors who use the tool will have a deeper understanding of their overall financial needs and will be able to ask smarter investment questions and make better investment choices.

The site will also include: An online asset allocation tool that helps investors determine the percentage of stocks, bonds and cash to keep in their portfolios and provides specific mutual fund selections to help clients meet their goals. An online equity evaluation tool that evaluates stocks to determine if they are a good fit for an investor’s overall portfolio based on the investor’s goals and risk tolerance.

Access to American Express financial advisors. Clients can choose to work with an American Express financial advisor to get whatever level of advice and help they need. Advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning as well as advice on individual investments. Advisors are able to offer American Express Brokerage as a tool for their clients, and Brokerage customers can use an online advisor locator to find an advisor in their area.

A choice of close to 2,000 mutual funds. These include funds from many well-known fund families, as well as the American Express index funds.

Free electronic bill payment, unlimited check writing and an American Express Gold Card. With a minimum balance of $5,000, clients have access to a cash management account featuring free, unlimited check writing, unlimited debit card use and ATM access at more than 94 percent of the ATMs in the United States, with automatic rebates for surcharges — up to $1.50 per transaction, four times per month. Customers who have qualifying assets of $25,000 or more can receive free electronic bill payment and an American Express Gold Card, with the $75 annual fee compliments of American Express. Gold Card charges will be debited from the cash management account monthly.

Professional research. Buy-side research from American Express Financial Advisors is available online, plus company profiles from Standard and Poor’s, earnings estimates from Zack’s and news and analysis from SmartMoney.com and TheStreet.com. Free real-time quotes and email price alerts are also available.

Service. American Express professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer technical and investment questions at 1-800 AXP-8800.

“Our aim is to be a leading destination site in financial services online,” said Ruediger Adolf, senior vice president, Strategic Planning and Business Development, American Express Company. “Now, with just the click of a mouse, customers can move from American Express Brokerage, to Membership B@nking, to personal or Corporate Card accounts, and even book a trip – all at americanexpress.com.”

American Express first introduced an online investing capability, Financial Direct, in 1996. Financial Direct customers have been automatically upgraded to the more comprehensive American Express Brokerage account.

American Express Company ([http://www.americanexpress.com][1]) gives consumers, small businesses and corporations access to a range of Internet products and services:

Through My American Express, consumers can tailor the American Express Web site so that those services of particular interest will automatically appear on the start page. Options include the ability to view and pay American Express Card bills online; view Membership Rewards program points; consolidate and track travel rewards programs in a single, centralized location; make travel reservations and find last minute travel bargains; and receive special online offers.

Consumers interested in online financial services can conduct online banking with free bill payment and ATM rebates.

Resources for small businesses include tips on incorporation, managing staff, and franchising business opportunities. Corporate customers can choose from retirement planning, purchasing, travel and expense management services.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, network, and financial services provider founded in 1850. American Express Company and its subsidiaries are leaders in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information, visit [http://www.americanexpress.com][2].

American Express Financial Advisors, Inc. Member NASD and SIPC. Insurance products are issued by IDS Life Insurance Company, except in New York, where IDS Life Insurance Company of New York is the issuer. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.

For more complete information on Investment products, including fees and expenses, consumers may obtain a prospectus by calling 1-800 AXP-8800, option 1. Consumers should read the prospectus before investing or sending money.

Investments are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or obligations of or guaranteed by a financial institution, involve investment risks including possible loss of principal. All deposit products and services are offered by American Express Centurion Bank, member FDIC.

American Express Travel related Services Company, Inc., offers charge cards, credit cards and travel services.

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

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Risk Management Report

Despite being one of the most important risk functions within a financial institution, credit risk management remains one of the least automated practices in the risk industry. As a result, the credit risk management is currently one of the fastest growing segments of risk management technology investments. A primary driver catalyzing this segment is a growing trend among many industry players toward active portfolio management. In a new report titled “Achieving Active Portfolio Management,” Meridien Research examines recent advances in technology underlying the most advanced credit risk management practices.

The 26-page report examines the current state of the art technology for default probability estimation and credit exposure qualifications, as well as solutions that exist to facilitate active portfolio management. Profiles of leading vendors providing credit risk technology are included in the report. In addition, the report delves into the three major components of an active credit risk management architecture: data, exposure calculator and portfolio analysis tools. The inputs to the system, the data, run through two distinct processes: exposure calculation and portfolio analysis. The primary outputs are the expected loss information, used for loss provisioning, capital allocation, pricing and portfolio optimization.

“The tools that the industry provides for credit decision making have improved markedly over the past five years,” says Deborah Williams, research director of Meridien Research’s risk management group. “However, the future direction of the technology will depend on several drivers, one of the most important being competitive pressures. All things being equal, institutions that do a better job of managing their credit risk exposures will be more profitable in the long run. A significant portion of this will, in turn, depend on technology savvy.”

The report provides two case studies to illustrate the application of credit risk technology of financial institutions. NatWest, England’s fourth largest bank, provides an excellent example of a best practices approach that could be emulated by other institutions. The Basler Kantonalbank, a Swiss regional bank, adopted a credit risk management system to support its derivatives and foreign exchange trading.

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Payments via Phone

Intell-A-Check, Corp. has formed a strategic alliance with Travelers Express/MoneyGram to market Intell-A-Check! software via ‘ExpressPayment’. The ‘ExpressPayment’ service offers an emergency bill payment product, enabling credit card issuers, mortgage servicers, finance companies, collection companies, and others to directly collect funds from customers who are delinquent in payments. With Intell-A-Check!, ExpressPayment users can support a new method of payment collections, offering customers the ability to instantly pay past due bills over the phone.

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Microtransaction Study

Boston-based Aberdeen Group released a study this morning that shows Internet microtransactions will challenge traditional means of exchanging value, but that this challenge will take time to unfold. Aberdeen says Internet payment schemes such as credit card aggregation, ISP and telco billing, and stored-value smart cards will provide e-tailers, content providers, and Web intermediaries with cost-effective payment models that justify the sales of low-priced digital and physical goods on the Internet. The research group says they believe that digital cash technologies will begin growing in adoption and acceptance in Year 2000 and will contribute to significant worldwide e-commerce market growth, particularly in the sales of digital content, digital music, and on-line gaming. The study, ‘Dash to Digital Cash: Enabling Internet Commerce Microtransactions, Market Review and Competitive Analysis’, profiles 21 key vendors in the digital cash software and services sector.

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ATM Concerns

The ATM Industry Association said this morning it is concerned with last week’s passage of a referendum banning surcharges at bank-owned ATMs in San Francisco. The industry group say deployment of ATMs at convenient, non-bank locations such as supermarkets, shopping malls and gas stations was a rarity until the Cirrus and Plus networks lifted a ban on surcharging in April of 1996. Since then, installation of these machines has exploded, with about 90,000 of the nation’s 210,000 ATMs currently found at such sites. The group notes that banks must spend $1,080 a month to maintain an ATM, while the cost for an ISO is about $700 a month. The cost of an ATM varies widely, from about $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the services and functions available to users.

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Online Profiling

Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce will hold a public workshop on November 8, 1999, on “online profiling,” the practice of aggregating information about consumers’ interests, gathered primarily by tracking their movements online, and using the resulting consumer profiles to create targeted advertising on Web sites. The goals of the workshop are to educate government officials and the public about online profiling and its implications for consumer privacy, and to examine current profiling industry efforts to implement fair information practices. A notice announcing the workshop and requesting public comment will be published in the Federal Register shortly.

According to the FTC, online profiling typically employs “cookies,” text files placed on users’ computers to store information about their computers and their online activities. Privacy concerns have been raised by many of the business practices that support online profiling, and consumers are largely unaware of the creation of online profiles, the agency said.

The workshop will be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Main Auditorium, 1401 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20239. It will include three sessions, which will run consecutively beginning at 8:30 a.m. on November 8, 1999:

Session I – Online Profiling Technology;

Session II – Implications of Online Profiling Technology for User Privacy;

Session III – The Role of Self-Regulation.

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UK Card Bonds

The issuance of Gracechurch Card Funding No. 1 PLC’s US$1 billion notes will mark the first securitization of consumer credit cards by a U.K clearing bank. The issuance by Barclays Bank PLC, through its business unit, Barclaycard ranks as one of the largest European credit card backed securitizations. Analysts believe Friday’s announcement could trigger further market activity in the U.K. credit card securitization sector. Standard & Poor’s and Duff & Phelps both assigned a preliminary rating of triple-A for the Class A notes.

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New Savera Products

The billing and provisioning of telecom and Internet service reached a new level of sophistication and ease-of-use today with the introduction of the industry’s first and only 100% Web-Based inter-connect and prepaid billing systems from Savera Systems. The products–InterCarrier and RealTime Prepaid–were unveiled at the Billing ’99 Show in Paris.

The company announced the successful implementation of systems at several key customers. Tele2 Europe and Netcom (Nasdaq: NECS) jointly implemented InterCarrier(TM) at Tele2 AB in Sweden for providing interconnect billing services via an application service provider (ASP) model to Tele2 companies in Austria, France and Italy. The RealTime Prepaid(TM) system has been installed by Tango in Luxembourg. Tele2 Europe and Tango are subsidiaries of Societe Europeenne de Communication S.A (Nasdaq: SECAY, SECBY).

InterCarrier(TM) and RealTime Prepaid(TM) were built for use over the Web, delivering billing solutions unsurpassed in performance and ease of use. The benefits include:

Easy access to every aspect of the billing process–administration, routine maintenance, management, statement and settlement, data entry, agreement negotiation–by anyone with authorization from virtually any location.

Ease of use via intuitive web interfaces with contextual help for every screen.

Low cost of ownership from less system maintenance, no client applications and upgrades, and reduced user training.

Built-in security over Intranet, Internet or virtual private networks (VPN) using proven technologies, such as SSL.

Savera delivers its solutions as hosted applications from an ASP and as installed systems.

“Savera is simplifying the billing process in the same way Yahoo simplified usage of the Internet,” said Inderpal Singh Mumick, president of Savera. “Savera’s 100% Web Based technology simplifies complex billing domains and encompasses tasks that are traditionally accomplished outside the billing application. The result is a system far more usable than any other billing application.”

InterCarrier(TM)

InterCarrier(TM) is a 100% Web Based(TM) settlement and management solution designed to help telecom and IP carriers, resellers, service bureaus, and trading houses maximize revenue in today’s complex, deregulated environment. It gives carriers the ability to quickly and accurately use the Web to track and bill for use of each other’s voice, data and IP networks.

InterCarrier(TM) fits any network carrier’s needs–regional or global, large or small. InterCarrier(TM) can be used by carriers independently and securely from each other, or together for consolidated reporting. It supports multiple currencies and languages, easy and quick changes in domestic and international routes and rates, and changes in network infrastructure.

InterCarrier(TM) speeds up reconciliation and invoice settlement and drastically reduces accounts receivables. Its real-time usage analysis offers unprecedented insight into traffic volumes and revenue by route, switch and destination, helping to optimize network utilization using methods such as Least Cost Routing (LCR). Its mediation adapter accepts multiple input record formats from any mediation device, and an enhanced auto loader maintains, exports and imports all reference data and price list information using a standard spreadsheet application.

InterCarrier(TM) also supports IP, and works on the Oracle 8 database (Nasdaq: ORCL) and Sun Solaris platform (Nasdaq: SUNW), providing virtually unlimited scalability.

“Tele2 Europe expects substantial improvements in controlling our operations using InterCarrier(TM),” said Kurt Demeuleneere, technical controller of Tele2 Europe. “Now we can check and analyze all incumbent and carrier invoices on a per minute basis, by time of day, service type and destination. InterCarrier(TM) is so easy to use. It allows us to download any data into an Excel spreadsheet, make changes and then upload it. This saves Tele2 a great deal of time and virtually eliminates manual input errors.”

RealTime Prepaid(TM)

RealTime Prepaid(TM) is a 100% Web-Based real-time rating, billing and customer support system ideally suited for high-transaction volume telecom and Internet businesses. It provides real-time accounting of prepaid accounts and allows carriers to use the Web to provide inventory management of prepaid cards and management of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards for wireless networks.

Real-Time Prepaid(TM) enables carriers to provide current information to customer care, marketing and finance departments, as well as to subscribers over a secure Web interface. The solution enables carriers to move to new business models by outsourcing functions such as customer care.

RealTime Prepaid(TM) supports both CDR-based, service node (trunk-based) and WIN interfaces, and contains several features needed to support a postpaid billing solution.

RealTime Prepaid(TM) features a robust suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) so carriers can easily incorporate 3rd party solutions–switch interfaces, Cyber-cash, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and short message services (SMS)–and support flexible tariff structures. It can scale with business growth. The system works on the Oracle 8 database and Sun Solaris platform.

“The 100% Web based Savera Prepaid Billing System has allowed us to do things we have always dreamed of – such as outsourcing several functions and giving everyone in Tango access to reports. We have even been able to make changes to tariffs, without any interruption,” says Didier Rouma, billing manager at Tango. “The Savera system has worked flawlessly since being installed. I am now able to sleep well, knowing that the system will be up all the time.”

InterCarrier(TM) and RealTime Prepaid(TM) enable carriers to meet Quality of Service (QoS) and Service Level Agreements (SLA).

Mareti(TM) Technology

Savera(TM) solutions are based on the company’s patent-pending Mareti(TM) (Marketing in Real Time) technology. Mareti(TM) captures call usage or transaction data from virtually any source for real-time processing (rating, re-rating or discounting). Its innovative engine enables rules to be modified easily for quick changes to pricing structures. Mareti(TM) also permits real-time decision support and data access.

About Savera

Savera Systems ([www.savera.com][1]) develops products that tame the complexities inherent in tracking the interchange of voice and data traffic among multicarrier networks. Savera(TM) is a founding member of IPDR (Internet Protocol Detail Record), and is the founding sponsor of [www.ipintercarrier.org][2]. Savera is an Oracle Alliance Partner. Founded by telecommunications billing experts from AT&T and Bell Labs, Savera(TM) is funded by the Kinnevik group of companies.

[1]: http://www.savera.com/
[2]: http://www.ipintercarrier.org/

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Fair, Isaac – Best Small Co.

For the seventh time in the last eight years, Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc., has been named in Forbes’ annual list of “The 200 Best Small Companies.” The leader in decisioning technology jumped in the ranking by the national business magazine’s annual list of top companies from 117 to 99, recognized again for its continued outstanding financial performance and growth. Despite the explosion of dot.com companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fair, Isaac is just one of three companies from San Francisco and Marin County that Forbes identified for its substantial growth and profitability over the past five years and latest 12 months.

“Our ability to maintain earnings growth has continued, even as we expand our Internet offerings and develop new data analytic services for the financial services, retail, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries,” said Tom Grudnowski, Fair, Isaac’s newly appointed chief executive officer. “Fair, Isaac’s consistent performance continues to reap benefits for our shareholders, customers and employees.”

The 200 companies highlighted in the November 1 issue of Forbes are selected from a database of more than 11,000 public companies with annual sales of $5 million to $350 million. The strict financial performance standards of the list demand that companies show clear evidence of profits, including a five-year average annual growth in earnings of 10 percent or higher. Fair, Isaac achieved a growth rate in sales of 27 percent and offered an average return on equity of 21 percent over five years.

Fair, Isaac helps companies make faster, more profitable decisions about marketing, customers, operations and portfolios. Widely recognized for its pioneering work in predictive technology, the company provides advanced decision-making solutions to the financial services, retail, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries. Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Fair, Isaac employs 1600 people in 18 offices worldwide. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 1999, the company reported net income of $30 million on revenues of $277 million. For more information visit [http://www.fairisaac.com][1].

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

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Debt Deceleration

The summer downshift in revolving credit has carried through into September. According to preliminary figures released this morning by the Federal Reserve, Americans added slightly more than $1.0 billion to revolving credit during September compared to $2.3 billion in August. Revolving credit, most credit card debt, is growing at 2.4% annual rate according to the FRB. Meanwhile preliminary results from CardData’s 3Q/99 Portfolio survey indicated bank credit card debt is growing at a 3% annual rate, the lowest rate of growth since 1991. Over the past twelve months U.S. revolving credit has grown more than $35 billion, from $551.9 billion to $587.8 billion. Overall, consumer credit is growing 5.2% annually compared to 6.2% for third quarter 1998. It should be noted that the FRB figures do not net out monthly payments made on credit card balances. Monthly payment rates have been rising sharply this year which dampens the real growth in revolving credit. Overall, American consumers were $1.370 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages, at the end of September.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
Sep99 Aug99 Jul99 Jun99 May99 Apr99 Mar99 Feb99 Jan99
%GRWTH: 2.4% 4.8 12.1 13.8 4.5 5.6 -0.9 3.4 11.6
$OWED: $587.8 586.7 584.4 578.5 572.2 569.9 567.3 567.5 565.9

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 11/05/99; For complete
historical data visit www.carddata.com.

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HNC & Onyx Team

HNC Software Inc., the leading provider of predictive software solutions for the services industries, and Onyx Technologies Inc., a premier Application Service Provider of online data access and customer acquisition decisioning for the cellular, PCS, and private label credit card industries, announced Friday that they have established a strategic alliance.

HNC will leverage Onyx’s successful service bureau infrastructure and experience as a credit verification service provider to launch a consumer loan decisioning service for the financial services industry. As part of the agreement, HNC will make a minority equity investment in Onyx.

“We view the ASP model as a process that is fundamentally changing the software business. Onyx is our first strategic partner in enabling our technology in this new paradigm,” said John Mutch, president and COO, HNC Software.

Onyx plans to augment its 4SCORE service, a cost-effective on-line electronic system for credit verification, customer analysis, and management, by installing HNC’s Capstone(TM) Decision Manager, a high-speed, intelligent platform for automating real-time, complex customer decision processes.

Deploying Capstone Decision Manager in the Onyx ASP model will make powerful new account decisioning such as is used in large financial institutions available to telecommunications providers, as well as small and mid-size financial services organizations. The benefits of quick and accurate lending decisions will extend to consumers in turn.

Kell Canty, vice president, Onyx Technologies, commented, “Adding HNC’s industry-leading intelligent software to the risk assessment tools and service bureau capabilities of Onyx Technologies will yield tremendous benefits to the general service industry.”

Based in Atlanta, Onyx Technologies is the premier provider of data access and decisioning software for the Cellular and PCS industry. Its suite of online UNIX-based decision support tools are easily integrated into current company operations, for quick and accurate deposit decisions. For more information visit the Web site at [www.onyx-technologies.com][1].

HNC Financial Solutions is a leader in predictive customer relationship management software for the payment card and consumer lending industries. Its powerful suite of proven decision platforms and predictive business solutions address the mission-critical, customer-lifecycle needs of financial institutions.

Headquartered in San Diego, HNC Software Inc. (Nasdaq:HNCS) is a leading provider of complete Predictive CRM solutions for service industries. HNC divisions include Financial Solutions, Retek Retail Solutions, Insurance Solutions, eHNC, and Telecommunications Solutions. HNC’s suite of predictive software solutions can provide real-time insight into customer relationships based on transaction-level data, helping business-to-consumer companies manage their relationships with individual customers. By accurately predicting customer behaviors, these companies can create initiatives to mitigate risk and attrition; improve customer service; develop marketing programs to enhance profitability; optimize store replenishment activities; and detect fraudulent customer transactions.

For more information, visit HNC’s Web site at . or contact Melinda Bateman, HNC Software Inc., 5935 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, CA 92121, 858/799-3880. For the investor relations hotline, call 800/396-8052.

[1]: http://www.onyx-technologies.com/

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