BofA Debt Counseling

Bank of America’s Credit Card Group said yesterday it has selected NC-based American Credit Counselors Corp. to be a lead counselor to the bank’s customers with serious credit card debt. ACCC, a national non-profit organization that provides financial counseling and a debt management program for people who are experiencing financial difficulties, says it ranks among the top 12% nationally based on number of current clients. BofA says it has utilized ACCC for more than 18 months and has monitored and compared the performance of many other counseling agencies. BofA says ACCC’s exceptional reporting on key performance indicators was a factor in its decision to migrate more of its credit-counseling business to the company.

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Hypercom Awarded

Frost & Sullivan has awarded Hypercom Corporation the 1998 Market Engineering Marketing Strategy Award for its strategic moves to shift the focus of the financial services industry to value-added solutions at the point-of-sale.

Hypercom’s prudent strategy came at a time when financial institutions began deploying new or updated POS transaction processing technology “in a desperate attempt to retain customers” amidst “fierce competition, cost-cutting and on-going consolidation plaguing the banking industry,” according to Frost & Sullivan. Frost & Sullivan is an internationally-recognized marketing consulting and training firm that monitors the information technology industry for market measurements, trends and strategies. Hypercom(R) is a global provider of electronic payment solutions.

Hypercom has introduced a number of solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers, including the ICE(TM) 5000 family of multi-function, touch-screen card payment systems with Hypercom’s networking solutions supporting the Hypercom FastPOS 9600(TM) bps modem technology, and Hypercom’s Ascedent(TM) client/server transaction software.

“Adding value at the point-of-sale is essential for financial institutions who want to survive and compete in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace,” said George Wallner, President and CEO, Hypercom Corporation. “Consumers want new programs, features and greater options. Merchants want improved efficiency, loyalty programs for repeat business and increased revenues, as well as support of new payment methods.”

“Acquirers and processors need to enhance existing revenue streams and create new ones. Overall, it has become essential to add value to the basic card transaction through functions such as electronic receipt capture, on-screen terminal advertising, customized receipts, electronic check handling, and the support of complex loyalty programs. Hypercom’s solutions address those needs, and we are gratified to receive Frost & Sullivan’s Market Engineering Marketing Strategy Award,” Wallner noted.

Hypercom Corporation is a global provider of electronic payment solutions, including multi-function point-of-sale terminals, peripherals, network products, Ascendent payment and transaction software and Internet-based and electronic commerce payment solutions.

On a global basis Hypercom delivers the services and technology infrastructure required to quickly integrate and deploy new payment applications. These applications provide competitive value-added programs, improved business performance and low total cost of ownership.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][1].

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

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Infi-Link

Atlanta-based InfiCorp Holdings Inc. confirmed Monday it has acquired the Internet, telephone marketing and credit application services division of NJ-based The BISYS Group Inc. The BISYS unit will continue to operate from Atlanta, however InfiCorp has renamed the unit: ‘InfiLink’. The new InfiCorp subsidiary will continue to serve its existing customer base of banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, thrifts and consumer services companies. InfiLink provides clients with automated services that enable them to generate consumer loan leads among customers and prospects. Consumers can apply for client-specific loan products anytime by phone or via the Internet. InfiLink applies client-supplied credit criteria and customer relationship data to respond real-time to consumer requests. InfiCorp provides specialized credit card portfolio management, decision support and card-issuing solutions. It also owns InfiBank, a GA-based credit card bank. David L. Strider has been named managing director of InfiLink.

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Household UK

Household International announced Monday that its UK-based subsidiary, HFC Bank, plc, and Freeserve, a UK internet service, will develop and launch an internet based credit card. The minimum five year agreement between Freeserve and HFC Bank includes targets such as exclusivity payments of approximately US$8 million payable over the term of the contract with interest; payments for each new account opened; and commissions/profit sharing based on cardholder transactions. HFC Bank will have exclusive rights to market the card to Freeserve’s membership of 1.32 million active registered users. HFC Bank is the fifth largest issuer of credit cards in the UK.

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2Q/99 Update

Mid-sized card issuers rebounded in the second quarter, stabilizing portfolio erosion according to figures released this morning by CardData (www.carddata.com). The latest numbers comes from CardWeb’s CardData quarterly survey of 350 issuers at mid-year. For complete current and historical data on the nations top issuers visit CardData online at [www.carddata.com][1].

MID-SIZE 2Q/99 SNAPSHOT

ISSUER RECV YTD VOL ACCTS ACTIVES CARDS
BanPonce $503,866,888 $334,710,050 263,795 237,204 320,609
Fifth Third $376,000,000 $759,000,000 520,000 370,000 655,000
Compass $284,337,746 $206,699,090 175,362 102,655 219,096
First Security $218,934,796 $261,701,350 290,415 135,873 390,541

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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IC One

Salt Lake City-based IC One, Inc. announced this morning it has signed a large smart card contract with eExpo, one of the nation’s largest convention, tradeshow, and hospitality contractors. Under the IC One agreement, eExpo expects to distribute 500,000 IC One supplied smart cards in the next year and an additional 5 million smart cards over the next three years. IC One will supply eExpo with smart card loyalty technology for use in trade shows, conventions, and with hospitality companies. Last week IC One and Schimatic announced an agreement to merge. The new company will maintain SCTN’s stock symbol and name until closing the transaction this week. Thereafter, the merged companies will retain the name IC One, Inc.

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Premiums Rising

Card issuers are paying $152 per account this year compared to $116 per account last year, a 30%+ rise, according to 1999 data released this morning by Robert K. Hammer Investment Bankers. Hammer says in the first six months of this year issuers are paying an average premium of 16.38% compared to 13.10% last year and that two out of three recent deals include an agent bank component. The data are based on twelve 1999 portfolio transactions representing $6.4 billion in receivables. The portfolio transaction sample excludes year-to-date deals involving: 24 portfolios valued under $15 million; 45 mergers of equals or whole bank purchases; four private label portfolio sales; and four sub-prime portfolio deals. Hammer further notes that the average pre-tax earnings multiple this year is 5.2x compared to 5.1x last year and that the average card portfolio earnings this year is 3.15% compared to 2.5% last year. There are several deals in the pipeline, as of June 30, representing 15 million accounts and $6 billion in receivables.

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New ICMA Members

The International Card Manufacturers Association announced the addition of five new members for the second quarter of 1999. The new principal members are Korea Telcom Card of Seoul, Korea and Microelectronica Espanola of Madrid, Spain. The new associate members are Adriaplast S.p.A, of Monfalcone, Italy and Zebra Technologies/Eltron of Camarillo, California. The branch associate member is Akzo Nobel Inks Sweden located in Trelleborg, Sweden.

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