New Racom CEO

Racom Systems, Inc. , a provider of contactless smart card solutions announced Friday that it has named Arthur B. Rancis as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Rancis, the former Vice President of Samsung’s Electronics Product Innovation Lab, has 20+ years of successful global experience, holding executive management positions in sales, marketing and business development. At Samsung, he was responsible for directing the formulation and development of new product and partnership initiatives for their consumer electronics and information technology products.

Previously, Mr. Rancis was at Sony Electronics as Vice President of development and technology coordination. He also managed a number of sales, marketing and engineering units and directed Sony’s entrance into various new media, consumer electronics, professional and wireless product businesses. Prior to Sony, Mr. Rancis held several key management positions at Storage Technology Corporation within its domestic and international operations divisions. He was instrumental in the company’s international turn-around which reorganized seven of eight subsidiaries while conducting ongoing business activities in 26 countries covering five continents. While with Tektronix Corporation, Mr. Rancis managed regional sales and OEM accounts within the company’s broadband products organization.

“Mr. Rancis has held significant sales, marketing, business development and general management positions in the consumer electronics, computer and communications industries, all of which have generated millions in revenue for a number of leading and well respected organizations,” said John A. Hinds, Chairman of Racom’s Board of Directors. “The entire smart card and electronic commerce industry is based on the application of convenient, yet secure information transfer across virtually every industry now in existence. It is precisely his industry convergence background that Racom was searching for and with his breadth of experience, Mr. Rancis will successfully lead the company in meeting the aggressive goals we have established. We are extremely pleased Mr. Rancis has joined the Racom organization and we look forward to benefiting from his experience and leadership,” Mr. Hinds continued.

Racom Systems, Inc., headquartered in Denver, Colorado, develops and markets smart card-based systems that automate transactions for electronic commerce, information technology, physical and logical access control and industrial automation. Racom’s system applications are designed to deliver solutions that provide secure, convenient and personalized access to money, information, property, and services.

For further information about Racom, its technology and products, contact Racom at its Web address, , by telephone at (303) 771-2077, or by fax at (303) 771-4708.


MBNA Nolan Ryan

MBNA announced Friday that it has acquired the endorsement of baseball great Nolan Ryan for a new ‘Preferred’ and ‘Platinum’ credit card program. The endorsement of Nolan Ryan, the all-time strike-out leader in Major League Baseball, complements and enhances the existing credit card programs that MBNA has with the Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball. MBNA issues credit cards featuring baseball’s consecutive game recordholder Cal Ripken Jr., hockey star Mario Lemieux, 1996 Formula One World Champion Damon Hill, golf professional Nancy Lopez, and 46 NASCAR drivers, including Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, and Darrell Waltrip.


Executive TeleCard Changes Name

The following letter being sent to shareholders by Christopher Vizas, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Executive TeleCard, Ltd. , was released Friday.

Dear Fellow Shareholder:

The world of communications changes with increasing speed, and Executive TeleCard has begun to take advantage of the opportunities created by that change.  Over the last six months, we launched a concerted effort to embrace innovation in technology and service that will extend the range of services we provide to our customers — moving beyond voice into the internet, messaging and other data services.  We plan to provide a full line of communications and information services targeted to business users away from home.

To reflect this broader service role, we are pleased to announce that effective August 14, 1998, the Company will leave its old name behind and assume a new name:  eGlobe.

You may recognize eGlobe as the former name of our Internet Services division.  Certainly, Internet Services will be an essential focus of development, as will messaging and other non-voice applications.  We also remain committed to exploring new technologies to enhance our established business in Calling Card Services.  Calling Card Services provided the initial building blocks of the Company, and we believe they will be a key element in servicing the business user into the Twenty-first Century.

Our new name actively demonstrates our dedication to building a vital, global company in electronic communications.

Our new logo creates a visual reflection of our focus through color and shape. Blue seeks to reflect stability, longevity and expertise; green implies growth and prosperity.  The gradient circle symbolizes the world we service, and the arrow indicates our forward movement.

Finally, the underlying phrase, One Link/One World, is a concise statement of what we intend as we build an integrated global offering.

Creating a new corporate identity is an important step in the continuing development of the Company.  You will see more changes in the months to come, all designed to capitalize on this opportunity for new beginnings and increased shareholder value.  We hope you share our excitement, and join us in celebrating this vital step out of the past and into the future.

Sincerely,     Christopher Vizas     Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Executive TeleCard is a leading supplier of Global calling card services, and related validation, billing and payment systems, to telecommunication companies and financial institutions.  Executive TeleCard also supplies international Internet and inter-networking services in partnership with telecommunications operators around the world.  Operating through its World Direct network, Executive TeleCard originates traffic in 88 countries and terminates anywhere in the world.

For further information contact Mr. Allen Mandel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, at 1-800-688-0092.


WebFoundry Joins Mercantec

Mercantec, Inc. (), the leading provider of open retail electronic commerce solutions, announced last week that WebFoundry, a Brisbane, Queensland, Australian-based Internet Service Provider has joined the Premier ISP Partner program and will offer Mercantec SoftCart as its electronic commerce solution to its customers.  WebFoundry joins more than 85 ISPs and Web hosting service providers world-wide who offer Mercantec SoftCart.

Now, merchants hosting with WebFoundry () can easily and affordably create a virtual store or add commerce capabilities to an existing Web site, while still keeping a consistent look and feel of the site.  Commerce sites using SoftCart have the ability to automatically take an aggregated order, calculate tax and shipping charges, offer a variety of secure online or offline payment systems, and send the completed order to accounting or inventory control systems via e-mail, the file system, EDI messaging, or link applications.  Because SoftCart uses open standards, these commerce capabilities can be easily integrated with a merchant’s existing accounting, inventory, order entry and warehousing systems.

“As a Mercantec Premier ISP Partner, WebFoundry now has a complete package of products and services to allow a merchant to open a store on the Web,” commented Aaron Goldwater, managing director of WebFoundry.  “We are excited to offer our customers a secure and reliable electronic commerce solution that enables them to utilize their existing business systems without compromising the look and feel of their existing Web site.”

About WebFoundry

In 1985, WebFoundry started by developing Web-based online education for doctors and online services.  Since then WebFoundry has developed into a Web-based systems integrator focusing on delivering business solutions via the Web.  WebFoundry develops and integrates a range of databases building self-maintained Web sites for general release and for Web developers. WebFoundry provides SoftCart as its transaction management system which is built into the backend to provide secure electronic commerce options for clients.  WebFoundry utilizes Cold Fusion and is in the process of extending their development tools to WebSpeed.

WebFoundry is in the process of implementing high-end transaction processing level web servers to guarantee hosting services to clients.

WebFoundry is headquartered in Brisbane with Melbourne offices opening later this year.  For further information please visit the company Web site at:  .

About Mercantec, Inc.     Since its founding in 1995, Mercantec, Inc., has become the leading provider of open retail electronic commerce software.  Mercantec SoftCart software enables merchants to expand their geographic reach by marketing and selling goods and services via the World Wide Web.  Mercantec has partnered with a world-wide network of more than 85 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web hosting service providers, including GTE Internetworking, Hiway Technologies, MindSpring, and PSINet, to offer affordable hosting and electronic commerce solutions to merchants.  Mercantec’s other distribution channels include Web consultants, software developers, integrators and OEMs, including American Express and the Tandem division of Compaq.  SoftCart utilizes StateTrack technology to provide 100 percent shopper privacy.

Mercantec SoftCart supports all known Web servers including, Netscape, Microsoft, and APACHE.  Mercantec SoftCart runs on Windows NT, Windows 95 and the most popular UNIX platforms including Sun Solaris, SGI IRIX, Linux, SCO UNIX, HP/UX, Free BSD and BSDI.

Mercantec is headquartered in Lisle, Illinois, U.S.A.  To learn more about Mercantec, visit the company Web site at .


EBT Gathering

Citibank signed on as a charter sponsor of  “EBT–The Next Generation,” Friday. The Electronic Funds Transfer Association, the conference organizer, says the event will be held Nov. 8 -11 at the Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, D.C.. Hundreds of attendees are expected to take part in the event, which includes planned addresses by Vice President Gore and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.


MI Natl Online

Michigan National will launch its ‘Web Banking’ service this morning. The ‘Web Banking’ service allows customers to view account balances, reorder checks, and communicate with Michigan National customer service representatives through e-mail.  The service will soon allow customers to view up to three months of checking account activity, see if checks or deposits have been posted, and transfer funds between linked Michigan National accounts. Michigan National is also launching an e-bill payment service. Michigan National ‘Web Banking’ is free for customers of the bank.  Bill payment through the service is free for the first 90 days, and $5.95 per month thereafter. The bank recently introduced a new ‘VISA’ card with interest that is generally tax deductible, called the ‘Equi:Money VISA card’.


CUNA Losses

In response to last week’s report by the Washington Post that more than $1 million in ‘VISA Check’ card losses were perpetrated on a Virginia credit union from crooks in Pacific rim countries, CUNA says the overall risk is minimal. The CUMIS Insurance Society, which insures about 97% of all credit unions, had insured plastic card losses of $32.5 million last year.  CUMIS says the number of claims filed by credit unions is down this year, with claims payments actually about 30% less than they were at this time last year. CUMIS also said it will continue to put out ‘SCAM Alerts’, a broadcast fax and e-mail program that notifies credit unions of plastic card and other frauds being perpetrated against credit unions throughout the country.


Paymentech EBT

Paymentech announced Friday it is adding EBT transaction capability to its POS offerings that will benefit smaller merchants. Paymentech says many of its merchants are smaller, independent locations using a terminal-based product instead of multi-lane platform systems. The new EBT offerings will help these merchants to cost-effectively compete against large supermarket and convenience store chains. Paymentech is launching EBT functionality on its ‘VeriFone 380’ retail solution.



ARCO am/pm convenience stores in CA, WA, OR, NV, and AZ have now joined the KeyCorp ATM network with NCR ATMs. NCR deployed 600 KeyCorp ATMs in less than 60 days. With phase one completed, another 100 KeyCorp ATMs are slated for installation at ARCO outlets by the end of this month.The ARCO partnership has expanded KeyCorp’s ATM network by 30%. KeyCorp now has 2,600 ATM units across the country.  With 470 ATMs, California now ranks third behind Ohio’s 504 and Washington’s 488.


BofA  NACHA Pilot

Bank of America and VeriSign announced Thursday that they are completing the first phase of the National Automated Clearing House Association’s Certification Authority Interoperability Pilot — an initiative designed to facilitate secure Internet commerce applications between banks, merchants and consumers.

The pilot is testing the use of digital certificates for digitally signing authorization agreements to debit users’ accounts for recurring payments via the Automated Clearing House (ACH). As a part of this pilot, Bank of America is one of the first financial institutions to take advantage of the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP), a new protocol being established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that allows a merchant to obtain the status of a consumer’s digital certificate online in real time.

Merchants will rely on their respective financial institutions to obtain validation of digital certificates issued to consumers of participating financial institutions. This validation is accomplished via Internet interaction between the consumers’ and merchants’ financial institutions. The BofA/VeriSign pilot will be analyzed to modify and further develop operating rules and business practices for use of broader, multi-purpose digital certificates within the banking industry.

“Bank of America’s participation in this pilot illustrates our commitment to providing leading-edge Internet technology solutions to our customers,” said Elizabeth Ghekiere, senior vice president of electronic commerce with Bank of America’s Interactive Banking division. “Working with the VeriSign OnSite solution, Bank of America will be able to provide both consumers and merchants with the necessary trust to conduct secure transactions via the Internet in real-time.”

Under today’s paper-based ACH system, consumers wishing to have their accounts debited for recurring payments — such as mortgages, utility bills and insurance premiums — must sign paper-based pre-authorization agreements. The consumer’s financial institution then approves these requests using the ACH network, a highly secure, reliable and efficient electronic payments system that links America’s banks to the nationwide electronic payment and collection infrastructure. Standardized by the US Federal Government in the mid-1970s to handle exploding check volumes, the ACH has become the backbone of the nation’s electronic payments system. This pilot program will be instrumental in advancing the ACH by bringing it onto the Internet.

In this pilot project, Bank of America is issuing digital certificates to pilot “consumers” (members of the NACHA Internet Council). Specially selected pilot users are provided with an easy-to-use, intuitive Web interface to obtain digital certificates, enabling the digital signing of authorizations over the Internet to debit test accounts via the ACH network. The pilot merchant [Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)] receives the authorizations and certificates via the Internet and then relies on its financial institution, Bank of America, to obtain validation of the certificates. Validation is accomplished via Internet interaction between Bank of America as the merchant’s bank and the consumer’s financial institution using the OCSP.

“Bank of America has achieved a milestone in financial services with its implementation of this digital certificate pilot,” said Richard Yanowitch, vice president of marketing at VeriSign. “By leveraging the encryption and user authentication provided by digital certificates and signatures, Bank of America’s pilot merchant and test users benefit from the greatest degree of online security available to date while also taking advantage of the convenience and cost-effectiveness of the Internet.”

By selecting the VeriSign OnSite solution, Bank of America gains the ability to deploy digital certificates to a wide range of consumer and corporate customers. VeriSign has delivered the software and back-end processing services necessary for BofA to establish itself as a large-scale digital certificate authority.

As part of their NACHA pilot program, Bank of America and VeriSign will utilize the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) to communicate with other financial institutions and determine the status of an identified certificate in real-time. In the pilot, test merchants can issue a request to Bank of America regarding the revocation status of a specific digital certificate that was received from a test consumer. Using OCSP, Bank of America can then immediately send a real-time response to the test merchant informing them whether or not that digital certificate has been revoked, facilitating online commerce that over the Internet and private networks. VeriSign’s enterprise PKI solutions are available through VeriSign regional account representatives, resellers, and is both secure and fast.

About Bank of America

BankAmerica Corporation and its major banking subsidiary, Bank of America NT&SA, operate nearly 1,800 retail branch offices in nine states and more than 7,500 Versateller ATMs. Bank of America can be reached on the Internet at and on America Online at Keyword: BofA. After the planned merger with NationsBank Corporation — which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval and expected to close at the end of third-quarter 1998 — the new BankAmerica will have relationships with 29 million households in 22 states and Washington, D.C., and two million businesses throughout the world. Pro Forma total assets for the two companies at June 30, 1998, was $573 billion. The new company will have operations in 38 countries and America’s largest branch and ATM networks, with 4,800 branches and nearly 15,000 ATMs.

About VeriSign

VeriSign, Inc. is the leading provider of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and digital certificate solutions used by enterprises, Web sites and consumers to conduct secure communications and transactions global affiliates. The company’s Digital IDs and Secure Server IDs are available through the company’s Web site at For more information visit VeriSign’s Web site at .



MBNA’s Canada Bank subsidiary announced Thursday it has entered into a multi-year marketing agreement with the Canadian Football League, making MBNA the official MasterCard credit card issuer for the CFL.  The agreement allows MBNA to market credit cards carrying the eight CFL teams’ logos nationally. The eight teams are:  the British Columbia Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. MBNA Canada Bank, with headquarters in Ottawa, has put together more than 50 affinity programs since it began operations at the beginning of this year. Other affinity programs include: Ducks Unlimited Canada, the National Hockey League, Canadian Nurses Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Ottawa Senators.


Fessing Up

Cendant Corporation came clean yesterday on its investigation of accounting irregularities and errors committed by CUC International, one of the two companies that merged to create Cendant last year. Cendant says it will reduce its earnings from last year by $392 million.Quarterly financial statements for 1998 and the comparable periods of 1997 will be filed with the SEC on Form 10-Q this morning. Full restated, audited financial statements for Cendant’s fiscal years 1997, 1996 and 1995 will be filed with the SEC on Form 10-K/A later this month. Cendant uncovered more than $300 million in phony revenue booked by CUC and more than $200 million in accounting errors. CUC’s founder and Cendant’s chairman, Walter Forbes, along with nine other Cendant directors from CUC, resigned last month as CUC’s systematic fraud was uncovered. Cendant was formed by a merger of HFS Corp. and CUC International. CUC specialized in club memberships marketed to credit card holders. Cendant’s market value has declined $20 billion in the wake of the scandal.