AZ-based Touch Technology International unveiled a suite of loyalty applications to run on its ‘CardTouch’ platform. The applications include: points, punch card, issuer rebate and discount. The ‘Points’ application enables the issuance of loyalty points based upon amounts purchased. When combined with the CardTouch multi-issuer/multi- acquirer back-end, the ‘Points’ application supports cross-promotional programs. The ‘Punch Card’ application works just like a traditional paper punch card, with as many as 100 merchants supported on a single, three-dollar, 1K smart card. The ‘Issuer Rebate’ application enables rebates to the cardholder based on purchases made from participating merchants. Finally, the ‘Discount’ application simply applies pre-determined discounts to qualifying purchases. The four distinct applications can be mixed and matched to fit any requirement.Details
Consumers who complete a LendingTree online ‘Qualification Form’ for a mortgage, home equity or auto loan can now automatically apply for a First USA VISA Card. If a loan is closed through LendingTree, consumers will also receive a credit up to $500 on that card. Consumers who close a mortgage will be credited $500; closing a home equity loan qualifies for a $250 credit and closing an auto loan qualifies for a $150 credit. Under terms of the partnership agreement, announced yesterday, First USA will also join The Lending Tree Network as an advertiser.Details
Transaction Network Services, Inc. announced Wednesday the addition of Henry Graham to its senior financial management team. Thaddeus (Tad) Weed, currently Chief Financial Officer, will assume the role of Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, and will focus on the financial analysis of the company’s investment strategy, international expansion, and merger and acquisition activities. Henry Graham, currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of the company’s OmniLink Communications division, will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer, directing the company’s day-to-day finance and accounting activities.
“TNS has grown tremendously over the past year, as have our financial analysis and reporting requirements,” commented TNS president and CEO John J. McDonnell, Jr. “We have chosen to segment our key financial positions and have filled those positions with senior personnel best suited to each role. Tad Weed has done exhaustive work over the last two years managing the company’s financial and accounting activities while working on the aggressive deals that have contributed to our recent growth. We will continue to rely on him for his expertise in that area. Henry Graham has extensive experience as the CFO of OmniLink Communications, which we acquired last year, and as CFO at Guardsman Products, Inc. and the Revlon Group, Inc., both NYSE-listed companies. We feel very fortunate to have someone of Henry’s caliber already in-house and believe that he will be a great asset to the TNS finance team as our new CFO,” McDonnell added.
Transaction Network Services, Inc. (TNS), headquartered in Reston, Virginia, provides data communications services for transaction-oriented applications. The company is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol TNSI. Additional company information is available on the TNS website at .Details
Gemplus Group announced Wednesday the appointment of Remy de Tonnac as president of Gemplus Americas, managing all operations in North and Latin America. Leveraging his experience as president of Gemplus Asia Pacific, and his over 15 years in the technology industry, Mr. de Tonnac will take the helm from Dominique Trempont, who is leaving Gemplus to pursue a new business opportunity in the Silicon Valley area.
“Dominique Trempont was a significant contributor to Gemplus. He built an incredibly strong management team, and successfully focused the company’s America’s strategy and positioned it to take advantage of the growth opportunities that exist in this region. We wish him well as he moves on to this new opportunity,” said Daniel Le Gal, CEO of Gemplus Group. “Remy has played a significant role in the company and we believe the powerful combination of his expertise, the company’s increasing investment in the region, and the experience of the Americas management team positions the company well to take advantage of the growth opportunities that exist in both North and Latin America.”
Prior to his new appointment, Remy de Tonnac was president of Gemplus Asia Pacific for the past six years, where he led efforts in solidifying the company’s leadership position by establishing over fifty percent market share. Previously he was the sales director at Gemplus Card International in France. Before joining Gemplus, Remy was with ST Microelectronics.
“I look forward to this great opportunity to expand the smart card industry in the Americas region,” said Remy de Tonnac. “Gemplus Americas is an exceptional organization and is well positioned to dominate the rapidly evolving smart card software and solutions in this arena.”
Dominique Trempont will continue in an advisory role during the management transition and once a successor has been named for Asia Pacific. “Gemplus Americas has made tremendous strides in focusing its efforts and building the necessary leadership teams to go after the smart card opportunities that exist in the Americas,” he said. “I am honored to have been part of a group of people that has developed such innovative technology solutions. I am confident that Gemplus has the right strategy and right solutions to build on its successes in this region.”
Gemplus S.C.A. (www.gemplus.com) is the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions (by units sold, source: Dataquest 1998). Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.
With sales of over $US643 million in 1998, Gemplus employs more than 4,300 people in 10 manufacturing facilities, 5 R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control and information technology.Details
This week both a Senate and House committee approved bankruptcy reform legislation that would limit the use of Chapter 7 by consumers with certain income levels. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 14-4 yesterday to approve its version of the legislation. The House Judiciary Committee voted 22-13 on Tuesday to approve its version. The reform legislation stalled last year without a compromise between the House and Senate versions. There are differences between the Senate and House bills again this year. The House version requires debtors to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if they can pay at least $100 per month toward old debts. The Senate version includes the same requirement if the debtor can repay at least $250 per month. The House version also includes a number of additional disclosure requirements for creditors. A full House vote on ‘The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999’ is scheduled for next week. A full Senate vote on bankruptcy reform has not been scheduled yet but is expected before the Memorial Day break.Details
VISA announced yesterday it is taking its ‘VISA Business’ credit and debit cards to the ‘Platinum’ level on May 15. The new ‘VISA Business Platinum’ credit card or check card offers, among other typical ‘Platinum’ features, a 24/7 concierge service. Both new cards also offer, for an additional fee, a 24/7 small business help line and 24/7 access to a PC help desk. VISA’s announcement follows on the heels of MasterCard’s official unveiling yesterday of the ‘Business Bonuses’ program for small business cardholders. Under MasterCard’s program, ‘Business’ cardholders earn air miles for each purchase, and may redeem the points for free travel on any airline, with no black-out periods. (See CF 4/27 for details on the new MasterCard program.)Details
VISA U.S.A. announced Wednesday a partnership with the Women’s Sports Foundation that includes the establishment of a merchant donation program for the women’s group. Gart Sports and Toys “R” Us are the first to join VISA’s merchant donation program, which will run through Sep. 31, 2000. Over the next two years, VISA and select merchant partners are making a contribution of $350,000 to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Under terms of the agreement, VISA will also contribute an additional $150,000 to future initiatives with the Women’s Sports Foundation before September 2000.Details
MasterCard said yesterday that counterfeit and mail/telephone order fraud remain the major areas of focus this year in its fight against card fraud. MasterCard reported total dollar fraud losses worldwide of $526 million, a 13.7% increase over 1997’s $462 million. As a percentage of sales volume, this computes to 8.1 basis points, or 8.1 cents per $100 in transaction volume, compared to 7.1 basis points in 1997. MasterCard said the increases last year were largely the result of skimming activity and the proliferation of technologies such as account generation programs.Details
A national class action on behalf of consumers who purchased credit card insurance from American Bankers Insurance Group, Inc., American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, and Bankers American Life Assurance Company has been certified by the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The suit, filed by Wolf Popper, attorneys for the plaintiffs, charges these companies’ advertising material and solicitations are deceptive, because the large, bold typeface promises coverage if the insured cardholder dies, becomes disabled or becomes unemployed, but then the fine print restricts the availability of that coverage for a variety of reasons, including the state of the customer’s residence, the age of the customer, and whether or not the customer is self-employed, so that when a claim for insurance is made, the claim is denied. No trial schedule has been set.Details
Global Cash Access announced yesterday a new initiative to help ATM customers at casinos to get help for gambling problems. The program was developed in cooperation with the National Council on Problem Gambling and is being rolled out to the more than 1,200 gaming properties served by the GCA. The effort includes point-of-decision messages that encourage gaming patrons to “Think” and act responsibly in obtaining funds at GCA cash access devices. The messages, including the NCPG 24-hour, toll-free help line number, will be displayed via highly visible decals and transaction receipts at GCA’s ATM, POS debit and credit card cash advance devices. More than two-thirds of GCA devices include a telephone handset with direct access to its 24-hour call center. GCA is training all of its call center service representatives to provide immediate connection to the NCPG hotline if a gaming patron uses the code word “think.” The code word is provided in a pre-recorded message.Details
BankAmerica Corporation and BA Merchant Services,Inc. announced Wednesday the approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding common stock of BAMS of the Agreement and Plan of Merger dated December 22, 1998 among BankAmerica, BAMS and BAMS Acquisition Corporation. The Merger became effective as of 5:01 p.m. (Pacific Time) Wednesday. As a result, BAMS has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association, and each outstanding share of BAMS common stock (other than the shares owned by BankAmerica), has been converted into the right to receive a cash payment equal to $20.50 per share, without interest. “We’re now in a better position to provide Bank of America’s full range of products and services to merchants from coast to coast,” said Sharif Bayyari, President and Chief Executive Officer of BAMS.
The Class A Common Stock of BAMS (NYSE: BPI) will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
BAMS provides a range of payment processing and related information products and services to merchants who accept credit, charge and debit cards as payments for goods and services throughout the United States. BAMS is the exclusive provider of merchant processing services for Bank of America. BAMS is the fifth-largest processor of merchant credit transactions and one of the largest processors of debit card transactions in the United States.
BankAmerica Corporation Shareholders Vote to Change Name of Holding Company to Bank of America Corporation; Directors Declare Dividends
At the annual meeting Wednesday, shareholders of BankAmerica Corporation voted to change the name of the company to Bank of America Corporation. The name change becomes effective with the official filing in Delaware today and will be reflected tomorrow on the exchanges where the company’s securities are listed.
The holding company’s name now reflects the brand under which the company will do business around the world. Bank of America Corporation was formed Sept. 30, 1998 by the merger of BankAmerica Corporation and NationsBank Corporation. By mid-year 2000, the company’s banks will all be doing business under the brand name Bank of America. Affiliated companies such as Bank of America Mortgage and Bank of America Card Services already are doing business under that name.
In addition today, the Bank of America Corporation board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $.45 per share on Bank of America Corporation common stock.
The dividend is payable June 25, 1999 to shareholders of record on June 4, 1999.
The board also declared regular quarterly dividends on two preferred stock issues. A $1.75 cash dividend was declared on the 7 percent Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, Series B. The dividend is payable July 28, 1999 to shareholders of record on July 14, 1999.
A cash dividend of 62.5 cents was declared on the $2.50 Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock, Series BB, payable on July 1, 1999 to shareholders of record on June 4, 1999.
BankAmerica, with $614 billion in total assets, is the largest bank in the United States. It has full-service operations in 22 states and the District of Columbia and provides financial products and services to 30 million households and two million businesses, as well as providing international corporate financial services for business transactions in 190 countries. BankAmerica stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges and certain shares are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.Details
Bell Atlantic Mobile announced Wednesday a three-month initiative to help raise much-needed funds for the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. For the first time, Bell Atlantic Mobile has created a limited-edition MobileMinutes pre-paid wireless phone card, with a portion of the proceeds to be donated to the American Cancer Society.
The design of the new MobileMinutes cards features the artwork of local children who participated in the 1999 Daffodil Days art contest sponsored by Bell Atlantic Mobile and the American Cancer Society earlier this year.
“It is our hope that the funds raised from the sale of our MobileMinutes cards will allow the American Cancer Society to continue their important work,” said John Stratton, president, Bell Atlantic Mobile’s Philadelphia region. “This program is an excellent way to mark the third year of our corporate partnership with the American Cancer Society, and we wanted to do something out of the ordinary to show our commitment to the cause. The creation of an American Cancer Society MobileMinutes card was the answer.”
“As always, we are thrilled to have Bell Atlantic Mobile as a partner in the fight against cancer,” said Randy Linduff, regional vice president of the American Cancer Society, Pennsylvania division, Southeast region. “The money they will raise through the sale of MobileMinutes cards will certainly help us to make a big difference in the health and well being of individuals throughout the Delaware Valley.”
Also on hand at the event to speak about the American Cancer Society’s 1999 theme, “Hope, Progress, Answers,” were Dr. Robert Young, president of Fox Chase Cancer Center; Dr. Beatrice Mintz, senior member of the Basic Science Division at the Fox Chase Cancer Center; and Steve Zielinski, head of recruitment for “Moving On,” one of the American Cancer Society’s childhood cancer programs and a counselor at the Cancer Information Service at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Dr. Mintz, the recipient of an American Cancer Society research grant, discussed the “progress” that has been made as a result of cancer research funding and Steve Zielinski spoke about the “hope” for finding a cure for cancer. In addition, John Stratton and Randy Linduff unveiled a replica of the new MobileMinutes card, and Mr. Linduff spoke about the “answers” that the American Cancer Society can provide to those with cancer.
During the months of May, June and July, Bell Atlantic Mobile will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the MobileMinutes cards to the American Cancer Society. The money raised will then be used by the American Cancer Society to help fund three of their largest annual events: the Relay for Life, the Bike-A-Thon and Daffodil Days. Cards will be sold at all Bell Atlantic Mobile Communications Stores throughout the region as well as at participating retailers such as Boscov’s and Let’s Talk Cellular beginning this month, with other dealers to follow.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.
Bell Atlantic Mobile is the first corporate sponsor of the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Cancer Society. Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 120,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 6.2 million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its “Wireless at Work…” community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile’s parent is one of the world’s largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.
Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 35 National Cancer Institute-designed comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center’s activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs. The Center’s new Cancer Prevention Pavilion is the nation’s first such building and will add state-of-the-art laboratories as well as 11 new research programs to Fox Chase’s main campus.Details