Cash America on a Roll

Cash America International, Inc. (NYSE:PWN) announced today that net income increased 20% in the first three months of fiscal 1998 compared to the prior year.

Net earnings reached $4,534,000 (18 cents per share) for the three months ended March 31, 1998 compared to $3,790,000 (15 cents per share) for the three months ended March 31, 1997. Total revenue increased 10% in the first quarter of 1998 to $84,194,000 from $76,519,000 in the first quarter of 1997.

The earnings increase was driven by a 44% increase in net earnings from the Company’s core lending activities. Lending operations produced net earnings of $5,528,000 in the first three months of 1998 versus $3,844,000 during the same period in 1997. The first quarter is a significant period from a seasonal standpoint and Cash America benefited from higher loan balances coming into the quarter. Net revenue from lending activities were up 10% in the three month period ended March 31, 1998 reaching $47.5 million compared to $43.2 million in 1997.

Check cashing operations, conducted through Cash America’s wholly owned subsidiary Mr. Payroll Corporation, reported a net loss of $941,000 in the first three months of 1998, almost 4 cents per share, compared to a loss of $54,000 in the same period last year. Mr. Payroll Corporation developed a fully automated check cashing machine in June of 1997 and began commercial deployment in late 1997 and in the first quarter of 1998.

Commenting on the results of the first quarter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack R. Daugherty said, “Cash America posted the strongest first quarter performance in the Company’s history in its core lending business. We reached earnings goals through the execution of a consistent strategy of loan growth and rapid liquidation of merchandise in 1997 and kept the momentum going into 1998. Higher loan balances generated increased finance and service charge revenue and the disposition of merchandise available for sale was improved over the prior year, leading to significant gains in net revenue from lending activities.”

Daugherty added, “The performance of our core business allowed us to support the development of Mr. Payroll operations during the quarter. The potential benefits of Mr. Payroll’s check cashing activities will be realized in future years and our investment today is necessary in order to have the opportunity to achieve its long term objectives.”

Also during the quarter, Cash America announced that it had added 14 new lending locations and entered into a letter of intent to acquire a 40 unit pawnshops chain during the second quarter of 1998. The additions further the Company’s standing as the largest operator of pawnshops.

Additionally, the Company announced that the Board of Directors, at its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting, declared a $0.0125 (1.25 cents) per share cash dividend on common stock outstanding. The dividend will be paid to shareholders of record on May 5, 1998 and will be paid at the close of business on May 19, 1998.

Cash America International, Inc. is a diversified provider of specialty finance services to individuals in the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden. Cash America is the largest provider of secured non-recourse loans to individuals, commonly referred to as pawn loans, through 415 locations in 16 states and two foreign countries. In addition, the Company provides check cashing services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Mr. Payroll Corporation, and rental services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Express Rent A Tire, Inc.

This release contains forward-looking statements about the business, financial condition and prospects of Cash America International, Inc. and Mr. Payroll Corporation (“the Company”). The actual results of the Company could differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements because of various risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, changes in demand for the Company’s services, changes in competition, the ability of the Company to open new operating units in accordance with its plans, economic conditions, real estate market fluctuations, interest rate fluctuations, changes in the capital markets, changes in tax and other laws and governmental rules and regulations applicable to the Company’s business, and other risks indicated in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks and uncertainties are beyond the ability of the Company to control, and, in many cases, the Company cannot predict all of the risks and uncertainties that could cause its actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements.

Cash America International, Inc.
Highlights of Consolidated Results of Operations
(In thousands, except per share data)

Three Months Ended
March 31,
——————–
1998 1997
——————–

Consolidated Operations:
Total Revenue $ 84,194 $ 76,519
Net Revenue 48,698 44,058
Total Operating Expenses 38,416 35,125
Income from Operations 10,282 8,933
Interest Expense 3,007 2,806
Net Income $ 4,534 $ 3,790

Net Income Per Share – Basic $ 0.19 $ 0.16
Net Income Per Share – Diluted $ 0.18 $ 0.15

Weighted Average Shares – Basic 24,429 24,245
Weighted Average Shares – Diluted 25,633 24,875

Segment Results:

Lending Operations —

Total Revenue $ 82,112 $ 75,635
Net Revenue 47,498 43,174
Total Operating Expenses 35,737 34,225
Income from Operations 11,761 8,949

Check Cashing Operations —

Total Revenue 1,529 884
Net Revenue 795 884
Total Operating Expenses 2,214 900
Loss from Operations (1,419) (16)

Rental Operations —

Total Revenue 553 —
Net Revenue 405 —
Total Operating Expenses 465 —
Loss from Operations (60) —

Financial and Operational
Data as of: 3/31/98 3/31/97 12/31/97
——– ——– ——–
Lending Operations —

Loans Outstanding $108,907 $101,732 $112,240
Merchandise Held
for Disposition 51,585 45,455 53,468

Number of Locations
(not in thousands) 415 385 401

Amounts Per Location —

Consolidated:

Loans Outstanding $ 262 $ 264 $ 280
Merchandise Held
for Disposition 124 118 133

Domestic:

Loans Outstanding $ 176 $ 173 $ 199
Merchandise Held
for Disposition 138 134 150

Check Cashing Operations —

Average Number of Units
During the Period (not in thousands) —

Franchised Check
Cashing Units 146 150 150
Automated Check
Cashing Machines 32 — 5

Annualized Amount of
Checks Cashed Per Average Unit —

Franchised Check
Cashing Units $ 6,522 $ 5,488 $ 5,017
Automated Check
Cashing Machines 2,348 — 1,733

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AmEx Expands Platinum Free Tix

American Express announced Wednesday that Ireland’s Aer Lingus and Aerolineas Argentinas, have joined the Platinum Card International Airline Program.  The program, one of the benefits of the Platinum Card from American Express, offers Platinum Card members complimentary companion tickets on 14 international airlines with the purchase of full-fare first or business-class tickets.  Platinum Card members may take advantage of the complimentary companion tickets as often as they like.  Tickets on the participating airline are available from May 1, 1998, through April 30, 1999, and must be purchased through Platinum Card Travel Services.  There is a maximum of one complimentary companion ticket per trip, per Platinum Card member traveling.  The companion ticket must have the same itinerary as the cardmember, and travel must originate from the United States within one of the three distinct travel periods and be completed by April 30, 1999.

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Official CTST Conf Card

Giesecke & Devrient America, Inc. (G&D America), a world leader in the development and production of cards and card systems was selected by CardTech/SecurTech (CTST) to provide the official conference smart card for the world’s most prestigious card and security technology trade event which will take place April 27-30 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

G&D America’s CTST Conference Card

The multi-application CTST Conference Smart Card uses both contact and contactless technologies as well as a conventional magnetic stripe. G&D America is providing all conference cards for the show which is expected to attract 10,000 visitors from more than 70 nations.

The CTST card incorporates G&D’s highly regarded STARCOS(R) operating system for contact applications and utilizes a MIFARE(R) chip for contactless applications. In integrating a broad range of conference functions, the card provides an electronic purse capability for vending machine and merchant use, and sophisticated customer lead tracking data for exhibitor use. The cards will also be used by seminar attendees for lunches and to pick up conference proceedings.

Product Demonstrations at CardTech/SecurTech Conference at Booth No. 1620

G&D will showcase its new C@ppuccino(TM) Java(TM) Card and development toolkit, which provides an integrated and easy-to-use Java Card 2.0 compliant programming environment. C@ppuccino smart cards can be used in a wide range of smart card applications including secure payment, telecommunications, multimedia, and transportation. In addition, G&D America will present a variety of other contact and contactless smart card technologies including:

Electronic purse applications:

— G&D’s STARCOS SV(R) multi-application operating system in a first-ever demonstration of multi-currency Visa(R) Cash purchase transactions over the Internet.

— G&D’s ICAROS(R) intelligent card operating system supporting the PROTON(TM) electronic purse.

— Mondex(TM) cards in a variety of purchase applications. (G&D Security Card Systems is one of a select group of manufacturers certified for all aspects of Mondex card production including fabrication, personalization, enablement, and customization.)

Loyalty and Biometric Applications:

— Multi-retailer loyalty cards in cooperation with Score Promotions. A flexible, scaleable loyalty server will be demonstrated that is ideal for coalition marketing programs.

— G&D cards used with fingerprint recognition from American Biometrics to secure personal computer user access.

Contactless smart card technologies:

— G&D’s LOCO-LOCK(R), an innovative, ruggedized contactless technology developed for high-speed rail applications.

— G&D’s MIFARE(R), LEGIC(R), and OTI(TM) contactless technologies.

GSM SIM card applications:

— G&D’s STARSIM(R) Phase 2+ multi-application SIM operating system, including the commands and features of the STARSIM Development Toolkit.

Card dispenser:

— The G&D Smart Card Dispensing Machine (SCDM) with special commemorative prepaid telephone cards from the Global Chip Card Alliance/US West and GTE.

ABOUT GIESECKE & DEVRIENT

Giesecke & Devrient GmbH is a world leader in the development and production of cards and card systems, including microprocessor, memory, and magnetic stripe cards. A privately-held Munich-based corporation, Giesecke & Devrient employs 4,300 people worldwide in its operating units in Germany, Belgium, Spain, Mexico, China, Russia, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and the United States.

The rapidly expanding G&D America manages over 900 employees and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Giesecke and Devrient. The Virginia-based company focuses its North American sales and development efforts on products for Giesecke & Devrient’s Card and Card Systems Division and its pioneering currency processing systems which are used by major central banks and leading commercial banks throughout the world.

G&D’s integrated North American Cards and Card Systems strategy links Giesecke & Devrient Cardtech, Inc. of Cleveland, OH with Giesecke & Devrient Security Card Systems, Inc., Toronto, ON and Giesecke y Devrient de Mexico S.A. de C.V., Mexico City, which permits G&D to address the full spectrum of card applications ranging from magnetic stripe cards to advanced multi-application smart card environments. The combined production capacities of the three s gives G&D one of the largest capacities of any North American card and card systems manufacturer. In addition to these production facilities, G&D America also operates research facilities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Bedford, Massachusetts. For further information, please contact G&D America toll free at 800-296-4371 or see the Giesecke & Devrient GmbH web at [http://www.gdm.de][1]

[1]: http://http://www.gdm.de

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VISA Check Card Up 72%

Visa reported Tuesday that its member banks issued 12.4 million new check cards, brining the total number of Visa check cards in the market to 58 million, a 27 percent increase over 1996. Also, the number of check card transactions in 1997 grew by 60 percent to 2 billion. Or approximately 63 transactions every second. The total dollar volume of Visa check card transactions grew to $93.7 billion, and 72 percent increase over 1996’s total of $54 billion. Visa also says it expects continued strong growth for the check card, reaching 5.5 billion consumer transactions annually by 2001, or about 10 percent of all personal consumer expenditures in the United States.

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NCR Taps Into Off-Premise ATM’s

NCR Corporation and Access Cash International have teamed up to create a formidable partnership supplying ATMs to booming off-premise markets in the United States and Canada. Under a wide-ranging agreement between the two partners, NCR and Access Cash have developed a unique marketing relationship to distribute ATMs throughout the U.S. and Canada to customers ranging from community banks to convenience stores. NCR and Access Cash will market the full range of models in NCR’s innovative personaS family of self-service terminals. NCR shipped a record 42,440 ATMs worldwide in 1997, maintaining its 11th straight year of leadership, including 8,441 units to off-premise locations in the United States.

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More 1Q Data

The first quarter contraction continues with the following results from Card Management Information Service’s ‘First Quarter 1998 Portfolio Survey’:

ISSUER 98-1Q RECV 97-4Q RECV
KeyCorp $1,456,769,986 $1,530,378,234
First Empire $228,868,000 $257,533,000
First Security $196,410,772 $205,686,368
Simmons $162,207,045 $177,043,975
Frst Nat Marin $108,590,152 $111,586,662

Source: Card Management Information Services

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ARKSYS and Gasper Team

Gasper Corporation and ARKSYS announced today that they have formed a strategic marketing partnership to jointly target larger financial institutions and EFT networks.  Gasper, a leading provider of ATM service management systems, monitors transaction activity of ATMs and hosts to detect and resolve problems affecting ATM availability for over 50% of ATMs in the U.S., and 20% worldwide.  ARKSYS is a premier provider of payment and transaction delivery systems worldwide.

This new partnership makes excellent strategic sense for both companies, as ARKSYS furnishes solutions which drive payment processing and ATM networks, while Gasper provides solutions that ensures high ATM availability and enhance operational efficiency through ATM help desk automation.  The companies plan to fully capitalize on the synergy between their product offerings by working closely together on a number of fronts. In particular, Gasper and ARKSYS will now conduct cooperative marketing activities that are focused on mutual customers and common prospects, and will also seek to increase new business opportunities for both companies as well.

Gasper and ARKSYS will also implement the Gasper Certified Program — a continuous system certification program that will ensure mutual customers of long-term, reliable inter-operability between Gasper’s Windows NT-based software solutions, and the IBM AS/400-based software solutions provided by ARKSYS.

“Our products effectively complement each other to the benefit of our mutual customers,” David Gasper, CEO and President of Gasper Corporation. “This new partnership strengthens our ability to add value for our customers through ongoing system certification and consistent communications as well. We also believe that this partnership will serve to enhance market opportunities for both Gasper and ARKSYS.”

“Our companies have a similar approach to technology and client service,” said Donald B. Hatfield, President and CEO of ARKSYS. “As ARKSYS products expand and grow to meet the needs of larger financial institutions, Gasper’s offerings are a logical step to increase operating efficiency for our clients, and also to ensure 24-hour self-service access for banking customers while at the same time reducing cost.”

About Gasper Corporation

Gasper Corporation, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, is the leading provider of ATM service management solutions. Over 50 percent of the ATMs in the United States and 20 percent of worldwide ATMs are monitored by Gasper systems. Gasper’s solutions enable financial institutions and ATM providers to provide high availability while lowering operations costs.  Gasper Corporation’s Internet home page is located at .

About ARKSYS

ARKSYS, a privately-held software company headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA is a premier provider of effective payment and financial transaction delivery systems.  The company offers comprehensive ATM, POS, debit and smart card packages, EFT network solutions, interactive voice response, international credit card systems, and Internet and intranet cash management, home banking, bill payment, and presentment offerings.  ARKSYS Internet home page is located at .

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ARKSYS Euro Ready

The formation of the European Commission (EC) and issuance of the EC’s currency, the Euro, will have large- scale, wide-ranging impact on the financial and economic structure of European countries and interacting nations and their international and multinational businesses.  It will likely produce the largest economic/currency bloc in the world.  The eleven member states, determined March 25, 1998, have embarked upon total reconstruction of the core economic and monetary structure into one unit.

The EC does not just involve a currency re-denomination of many currencies into one, rather it is the blending of financial protocols, procedures and infrastructures.  This economic unification will have a profound impact on banking and financial industry’s payment and transaction delivery systems.

The first phase was completed March 25, 1998, with the identification of countries that will participate and the determination of a timetable.  The second phase will launch on January 1, 1999, establishing the Euro as legal tender and irrevocably locking the exchange rate for institutions of the member states.  For the next three years until January 1, 2002, financial institutions will balance and settle in the new currency.  The existing currencies will become nondecimal sub-units with fixed rates.  At that time, financial institutions may keep records in the European currencies, but those currencies are no longer independent.  On July 1, 2002, the third phase begins with the withdrawal of the European notes and the issuance of the Euro.

ARKSYS is prepared for the new requirements specified by the EC for payment and transaction delivery of electronic funds transfer network solutions, ATM management, POS management, debit card and smart card systems, voice response banking functions, international credit card issuance, merchant management, Internet/intranet/extranet solutions including cash management, home banking and bill payment.  ARKSYS’ core solution, Integrated Transaction Management (ITM) specifically addresses triangulation and conversion, as well as multiple currency storage and auditing functions.  In addition, ITM manages settlement and reporting operations in multiple currencies.  With professional services for planning and conversion and adaptation to accounting venders, networks and bank-specific needs, ARKSYS is fully prepared to aid its clients through the transitional parallel currency period lasting up to 2002 and with payment and transaction delivery solutions that will last far into the millennium.

As specified by the Maastricht Treaty, currency conversion requires that monetary amounts converting from one national currency unit into another shall first be converted into a Euro unit which may be rounded to not less than three decimals and shall be converted into the other national currency unit. No alternative method of calculation may be used unless the same result is produced.  ITM was designed to handle triangulation or automated base currency conversion processes, and was specifically structured for custom Application Program Interface (API) calls and User Exits that will assist in satisfying the local requirements anticipated by the member states will anticipate emerging economic and technological developments to enable its clients to react effectively.  With its pragmatic approach to development and delivery, ARKSYS provides financial institutions and enterprises expanded business opportunities in the payment and transaction delivery industry.

ARKSYS offers Integrated Transaction Management (ITM), a family of payment and transaction processing solutions.  ITM provides functionality that allows U.S. mid-range and off-shore locations of large International financial and nonfinancial institutions to facilitate customers on-line, real time transactions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, from a variety of devices.  ARKSYS’ ITM processes and manages retail delivery operations including card and client management systems, international credit card, debit card, ATM and POS management; merchant management; electronic funds network solutions, on-line and intercept processing; access solutions, interactive voice response, Internet/intranet/extranet personal banking and bill payment; Internet security; and wholesale delivery with Internet/intranet/extranet commercial cash management.  The company’s offerings are established in more than 70 countries.  Visit ARKSYS on the World Wide Web at .

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Not Completely Dead

Ameritech has reached an agreement with Household to discontinue the Complete Card program. Ameritech and Household began offering the Complete Card, a MasterCard of Visa credit card, in 1991. The agreement as effective March 31st, and customers will be notified via letter within the next few weeks. The notification will explain hat they will receive a new credit card, endorsed by Household Bank. Ameritech and Household began offering the Complete Card in 1991. The card services more than one million customers throughout the U.S.

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Metris Adds Senior Mgrs

Patrick J. Fox and Joseph A. Hoffman have joined Metris Companies Inc. as senior vice presidents. The announcement was made by Ronald N. Zebeck, president and chief executive office of Metris. Mr. Fox, a 17-year veteran of the consumer credit business, joins Metris as senior vice president, new business development. He comes to Metros from Bank of America, where he worked since 1994, most recently as director of product management and new business development. Mr. Hoffman, an 18-year veteran of the consumer credit business, joins Metris as senior vice president, credit card marketing. Mr. Hoffman comes to Metris as senior vice president, credit card marketing. Mr. Hoffman comes to Metros from Advanta Corp., where he held executive marketing positions over the last two years, most recently vice president of affinity and co-brand marketing.

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First Md Portfolio Premium

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. today announced that its wholly owned US subsidiary, First Maryland Bancorp , has reported $95.7m in net income, for the first quarter ended March 31, 1998 compared to $34.1m for the quarter ended March 31, 1997.

The results include a $37.5m after-tax gain from the sale of the company’s consumer credit card business and a $17.3m after-tax benefit from the repositioning of the investment securities portfolio. Excluding these items, the company’s underlying earnings for the first quarter were $40.9m, a 20% increase on 1997. Underlying tangible earnings, which exclude the amortization of goodwill amounted to $53.3m, a 50% increase on 1997.

On February 25, FMB sold its consumer credit card business to Bank of America, N.A. The sale resulted in a pre-tax gain of $60m. In accordance with Irish GAAP, AIB included this gain in its 1997 year-end results released on February 18, 1998 and FMB has included the gain in its first quarter 1998 results. FMB’s residential mortgage origination businesses were sold at book value effective February 13 and thus did not materially affect the company’s first quarter earnings.

FMB’s underlying performance was highlighted by double digit growth in commercial lending, the leasing business, and retail lending, while trust and investment advisory income was up 21%. Asset quality remained strong with non-performing assets amounting to $88.8m (0.51% of total assets). Non-performing loans of $72.5m were covered 223% by total provisions of $161.3m.

First Maryland Bancorp is the holding company for the First National Bank of Maryland, Dauphin Deposit Bank and The York Bank. Headquartered in Baltimore, First Maryland operates nearly 300 branches and more than 400 ATMs from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland and the District of Columbia and into northern Virginia. At March 31, 1998 total assets were $17.4 billion.

FIRST MARYLAND BANCORP AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Income
(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended
March 31, March 31,
1998 1997
(in thousands)
INTEREST INCOME
Interest and fees on loans and leases $196,972 $136,038
Interest and dividends on investment
securities:
Taxable 54,830 38,589
Tax-exempt 5,228 1,453
Dividends 2,247 694
Interest on loans held-for-sale 7,269 1,918
Other interest income 3,639 5,923
——— ———
Total interest and dividend income 270,185 184,615
——— ———

INTEREST EXPENSE
Interest on deposits 99,512 50,476
Interest on federal funds purchased and
other short-term borrowings 21,476 20,991
Interest on long-term debt 12,692 8,745
——— ———
Total interest expense 133,680 80,212
——— ———

NET INTEREST INCOME 136,505 104,403
Provision for credit losses 8,871 9,900
——— ———
NET INTEREST INCOME AFTER PROVISION
FOR CREDIT LOSSES 127,634 94,503
——— ———

NON INTEREST INCOME
Service charges on deposit accounts 25,550 21,803
Trust and investment advisory fees 16,148 8,433
Mortgage banking income 14,182 6,018
Other income 33,178 24,551
Securities gains, net 30,432 453
Gain on sale of credit card loans 60,000 –
——— ———
Total non interest income 179,490 61,258
——— ———

NON INTEREST EXPENSES
Salaries and other personnel costs 80,070 58,461
Equipment costs 11,633 9,244
Occupancy costs 10,211 8,125
Other operating expenses 39,384 24,383
Intangible assets amortization expense 14,224 2,252
——— ———
Total non interest expenses 155,522 102,465
——— ———

INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES 151,602 53,296
Income tax expense 55,903 19,193
========= =========
NET INCOME $95,699 $34,103
========= =========

FIRST MARYLAND BANCORP AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Condition
(Unaudited)

March 31, December 31,
1998 1997
(in thousands)
ASSETS
Cash and due from banks $1,225,841 $1,078,009
Interest-bearing deposits in other banks 1,560 1,656
Trading account securities 35,543 39,539
Federal funds sold and securities
purchased under resale agreements 131,443 51,130
Investment securities available-for-sale 4,280,822 4,444,107
Loans held-for-sale 285,616 482,153
Loans, net of unearned income of $185,713
and $192,569
Commercial 3,008,815 2,868,728
Commercial real estate 2,230,008 2,256,895
Residential mortgage 920,876 987,751
Retail 2,586,397 2,567,166
Credit card 15,054 146,497
Leases receivable 767,106 774,221
Foreign 464,085 482,328
———— ————
Total loans, net of unearned income 9,992,341 10,083,586
Allowance for credit losses (161,336) (168,186)
———— ————
Loans, net 9,831,005 9,915,400
———— ————
Premises and equipment 170,786 170,863
Due from customers on acceptances 13,855 11,810
Intangible assets 937,861 967,433
Other assets 492,201 630,293
———— ————
Total assets $17,406,533 $17,792,393
———— ————

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Domestic deposits:
Non-interest bearing deposits $2,884,699 $2,957,888
Interest bearing deposits 9,312,859 9,274,034
Interest bearing deposits in
foreign banking office 227,633 232,234
———— ————
Total deposits 12,425,191 12,464,156
Federal funds purchased and securities
sold under repurchase agreements 1,303,027 1,697,468
Other borrowed funds, short-term 384,889 486,690
Bank acceptances outstanding 13,855 11,810
Accrued taxes and other liabilities 621,201 545,672
Long-term debt 705,954 705,843
———— ————
Total liabilities 15,454,117 15,911,639
———— ————

Redeemable preferred stock 7,949 7,897

Total stockholders’ equity 1,944,467 1,872,857
———— ————
Total liabilities, preferred stock
and stockholders’ equity $17,406,533 $17,792,393
============ ============

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Citibank Flat 1Q

Citibank reported Tuesday that chargeoffs for U.S. bankcards were $668 million or 5.96% of average managed loans for the quarter, up $13 million from $655 million or 5.64% in the 1997 fourth quarter and up $12 million form $656 million or 5.91% a year ago. The 12-month-lagged loss ratio was 6.03% in the quarter, compared with 5.86% in the 1997 fourth quarter and 6.21% a year-ago. The percent of gross write-offs from bankruptcies in the quarter was 37.0%, compared with 40.8% in the prior quarter and 36.6% in the 1997 first quarter. Managed loans delinquent 90 days or more were $842 million or 1.88% at quarter-end, compared with $856 million or 1.80% for the prior quarter and $884 million or 1.98% a year-ago.

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