Citibank Debit Cards

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported this morning that Japan’s Shizuoka Bank and Citibank have entered into an agreement jointly issue a debit card in February, the first such relationship among banks in Japan. In October, Citibank began to offer a cash card jointly with the Japanese postal savings system. Under the Shizuoka agreement cardholders will be able to access cash and make debit card purchases outside Japan via Citibank’s network. Citibank will receive foreign exchange commissions of about 4 yen per dollar as well as 200 yen per withdrawal at its ATMs overseas. The two banks initially aim to issue 20,000-30,000 cards.

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Innovis Closes

First Data Corp. recently announced it is closing down operations of its Innovis division, formerly Consumer Credit Associates. Houston-based Innovis provided consumer credit reporting information. Approximately 150 employees, primarily based in Houston, will be affected. First Data will take a one-time charge to earnings of approximately $145 million pretax for the period ending Dec. 31, 1998.  First Data acquired CCA based on the potential of its technology and database and has been investing significantly to develop an on-line transaction-based credit bureau.

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Fair Isaac Promotions

Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. announces key executive appointments in its Credit Business Unit. Sue Simon has been promoted to senior vice president of Strategic Development, where she will continue to direct the company’s overall strategic and operational planning processes. Suzanne Vesely has been appointed to the position of vice president, where she will lead the company’s North American Bank Markets Unit.

Sue Simon joined the company in 1996 and soon after was named vice president of Strategic Development. She oversees organizational functions, such as planning, budgeting, strategic development, and investment analysis and qualification. Prior to joining Fair, Isaac, she consulted in retail banking, payment cards, bank operations, systems, marketing, branch operations, and human resources. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in English.

In her new position, Suzanne Vesely is responsible for ensuring the company’s future growth in the rapidly consolidating bank marketplace. She previously served as the company’s market manager for the consumer finance industry, where she enhanced the value of offerings to consumer and auto finance clients. Prior to joining the company in 1995, Vesely worked for CCN/MDS and Chilton Credit Reporting. She graduated cum laude from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Fair, Isaac () helps businesses worldwide maximize the value of data to make more profitable decisions about their customers, operations and portfolios. Known for its pioneering work in credit scoring and its use of data in transaction-level decisions, Fair, Isaac now delivers data management services, analytics, software, and consulting to the financial services, direct marketing, personal lines insurance, retail, and healthcare industries. Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Fair, Isaac employs 1,500 people in 17 offices worldwide. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 1998, the company reported revenues of $245.5 million. For more information, call Fair, Isaac at 800-999-2955.

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MBNA vs Gravity

Once again MBNA’s managed loan losses for 1998 logged-in at 4.31%, well below the industry average of 5.52%. Delinquency on total managed loans was 4.62% at Dec. 31 and the managed net interest margin for the year was 7.47%. For the year, MBNA signed-up 475 new affinity programs and added 11.3 million new cardholders representing 9.3 million new accounts. MBNA also reported that net income for the fourth quarter of 1998 rose to $238.3 million, an increase of 30.4%, compared with $188.3 million for the fourth quarter of 1997. During the fourth quarter, MBNA signed a letter of intent with American International Group to underwrite automobile, homeowners, and personal umbrella insurance products for MBNA Customers. Also during the fourth quarter MBNA acquired credit card portfolios from Union Planters Corporation, Household Card Services, Inc., and European American Bank. At year-end MBNA announced its acquisition the PNC Bank portfolio.

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J-Debit Card

Japan’s postal savings system and seven financial institutions officially launched the ‘J-Debit’ card service Monday.The seven financial institutions are Fuji Bank, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Sanwa Bank, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, Towa Bank, Tokyo Sowa Bank and  Johnan Shinkin Bank. The Japan Debit Card Promotion Association said yesterday the service is initially available at some 10,000 retail outlets run by eight companies. The eight companies include Seibu Department Stores Ltd., JTB Inc., Lawson Inc., Cosmo Oil Co., Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. and Daiwa Securities Co. By year-end more than 400 financial institutions and more than 100 retail companies are expected to join the new program.

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BECU Online

Free Internet banking has been introduced this month to 247,000 members and 1 million potential Northwest members of Boeing Employees’ Credit Union (BECU).  BECU is the largest credit union in Washington and the fourth largest in the country.

Web Access, BECU’s new Internet banking service, allows members to apply for loans, make loan payments, transfer funds and review their accounts.  Web Access offers these and other financial services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no charge.

“The initial response to Web Access has been terrific,” said Steve Brinton, director of BECU Marketing Communications.  “Thousands of our members have Internet access, and want to do their banking from home with a service that will provide them ease and security.  Web Access fulfills these needs,” he said.

Brinton also said that the Credit Union continually looks for new ways to make banking possible for members without having to visit BECU’s facilities, another need that Web Access serves.

BECU’s financial centers are located at 12770 Gateway Drive in Tukwila, and 11127 Evergreen Way South in Everett.  The Credit Union can be contacted by dialing 206-439-5700 for local calls, or 800-233-2328 for calls outside Seattle.  BECU serves current and eligible former Boeing employees, and their families.

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MBNA Capital Ratios

Concerns over the weakening capitalization of MBNA, due to its upcoming acquisition of the PNC card portfolio, were put to rest as MBNA raised $1.2 billion yesterday. MBNA Corp. announced Monday that it sold 50 million shares of newly issued common stock to Goldman, Sachs & Co. Proceeds from the transaction, which will be counted in the corporation’s Tier 1 capital, will be used primarily to fund the corporation’s previously announced purchase of the credit card business of PNC Bank. The sale is slated to close this Thursday, and will increase MBNA’s common shares outstanding to 801.8 million shares. Fitch IBCA noted yesterday that on a pro-forma basis, MBNA capital ratios will be significantly enhanced.  Without any other significant acquisitions, Fitch says internal capital generation is expected to be more than sufficient to maintain capital ratios at their pro-forma levels. If this were to occur, Fitch says ratings could be favorably impacted in the future.

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ProMark One Promotions

IDRC (International Data Response Corporation), announced that it has made two strategic appointments to its business development team.  IDRC recently appointed Tim Ferguson and Mitch Pepper as Business Development Managers for ProMark One, an IDRC subsidiary within the IDRC USA Outbound division.

Ferguson comes to IDRC with 12 years of experience in sales and marketing within the financial services industry.  Most recently, he held the position of National Sales Director Western Region for First Data Solution’s Consumer Credit Associates (now called Innovis) where he was responsible for the sales and marketing of an entire line of risk management and direct marketing products and services for the financial services industry.  Prior to this, he spent 11 years with TransUnion Corporation, where he most recently served as Vice President of National Accounts.  At TransUnion, he was responsible for sales and marketing of financial services-related products and services for large national accounts.

In his new role as business development manager, Ferguson will be responsible for new account development and maintenance primarily within the financial services industry.  He will report to Lori Fentem, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Pepper’s experience level is equally impressive.  Pepper comes to IDRC with 17 years experience in sales management, customer service and quality management.

Most recently, Pepper spent 10 years as the Sales Manager for Mail-Well Envelope Company in Phoenix and Los Angeles.  There, he was responsible for the generation and maintenance of major national accounts and the management of the southwest sales force and customer service department.  In addition to his sales management duties, he served as a corporate trainer for Mail-Well, facilitating the Carew sales training courses and the Philip Crosby Total Quality Management (TQM) courses.  His education includes a BS degree in business administration from San Diego State University.

In his new role as Business Development Manager, Pepper will be responsible for new business development and maintenance, concentrating primarily on public utilities and membership services.  He will also report to Ms. Fentem.  One of the world’s leading telemarketing and customer service outsourcing firms, IDRC specializes in providing inbound and outbound telephone and Internet based solutions that target businesses and consumers in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, financial services, and insurance, among others.  Employing customized, state of the art computer and telephone based technologies in its operations; IDRC’s mission is to create value for our clients and opportunity for our people by providing customized call center solutions based on advanced telephony and Internet communications.  IDRC currently employs more than 6,500 professionals, operates 3,500 workstations, and has 23 locations throughout the United States and Canada.

IDRC is currently divided into two geographic operating units that include IDRC USA and IDRC International.  IDRC USA is further divided by specialization into IDRC USA Outbound and IDRC USA Inbound & Customer Care.  ProMark One operates within the IDRC USA Outbound division and is based in Scottsdale, Ariz.  This division specializes in providing large-scale outbound customer acquisition and telesales applications to a variety of industries.

Ferguson and Pepper are excellent additions to the IDRC USA team.  We are pleased to have them on board to help us build a bigger and stronger company that will lead the industry into the new millenium.

The headquarters for IDRC USA are located at 7272 E. Indian School Rd., Suite 350, Scottsdale, Ariz. 85251.  For more information, please contact Dawn Wahler at 800-933-0233 or 602-941-6229.

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VW Card Coming

German car maker, Volkswagen, announced this week plans to launch credit cards, savings accounts, and other banking products this year in Britain. Four years ago the company set up a British financial services arm to offer business development loans to Volkswagen dealers and lease/purchase deals to car buyers. But Volkswagen is now set to go after other bank’s customers. A VW savings account is expected to be announced shortly followed by credit cards in late 1999 or early 2000. VW abandoned discussions with Barclaycard about launching a joint credit card four years ago.

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Cap One – Best Employer

Capital One Financial Corporation ranked 41 in Fortune’s second annual list of “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.”  The Company was also the only Virginia-based company listed.  Currently, Capital One employs more than 10,000 associates worldwide, from customer service to information technology to marketing and analysis.

“As one of the nation’s fastest growing companies, our number one business is to recruit and retain the best and brightest associates,” said Richard D. Fairbank, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  “As an information-based business, our success depends on the innovation and flexibility of our associates. We built an environment where our associates are empowered to fulfill their potential.”

Nigel Morris, President and Chief Operating Officer added, “At Capital One, we have built a truly entrepreneurial culture.  Through our innovative compensation and benefits programs, we’ve built a company of owners who are committed to creating value for the Company and our stockholders.”

Fortune collaborated with best-selling authors Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz to compile the list, using methodology similar to that used for their books, The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.  To be eligible, a company had to be at least ten years old and have a minimum of 500 employees. Levering and Moskowitz, who have been tracking the best companies since 1981, searched their database of more than 1,000 companies and selected 295 companies as the most viable candidates for this list.

To be eligible, Capital One associates completed the Great Place to Work Index designed to evaluate trust in management, pride in work and camaraderie, along with the Hewitt People Practices Inventory, a 31-page questionnaire developed by Hewitt Associates, a management consultant firm.

“We listen to our associates,” said Dennis Liberson, Senior Vice President for Human Resources.  “Twice a year we survey our associates to determine how we can best meet their needs. We already knew that our associates think Capital One is a great place to work — being named to the Fortune 100 list confirms we’re providing unique employment opportunities for the people who come to work at Capital One.”

Capital One prides itself for continuously innovating human resources practices to benefit associates.  Among the programs that differentiate the Company from other employers are the associate selection process; a number of ongoing training and development courses; outstanding benefits, including three weeks vacation; and entrepreneurial compensation.  Capital One is one of only 28 companies that made the list that offers stock options to all associates.  Additionally, Capital One has created an innovative orientation program that assimilates new associates into the culture of the Company.

Capital One has operations in Richmond, Fredericksburg and Falls Church, Virginia; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Tampa, Florida and London and Nottingham, United Kingdom.  Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation () is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products.  Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 14.9 million customers and $16.3 billion in managed loans outstanding as of September 30, 1998, and are among the largest providers of MasterCard and VISA credit cards in the world.  Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

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VISA Web ERM

CA-based Epiphany, a Web-based ‘Enterprise Relationship Management’ solutions company, announced Monday a strategic relationship with VISA International. VISA and Epiphany will customize Epiphany’s ERM solutions expressively for the bankcard industry, optimizing financial institutions’ ability to enhance their bankcard customer relationships.  In addition, VISA has been given a seat on Epiphany’s board of directors as part of the relationship agreement reached.

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Diebold Canada

Diebold announced yesterday that it’s Canadian subsidiary, the Diebold Company of Canada Ltd., will begin to directly market ATMs and self- service solutions to Canadian financial institutions.  Recently, IBM Canada had performed the role of self-service products distributor for Diebold. Last year, Diebold shipped more than 34,000 ATMs worldwide, including more than 2,200 in Canada.

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