Sears Credit Head Departs

The president of Sears, Roebuck & Co.’s credit division, Steven Goldstein, resigned Friday to form a privately-held electronic commerce investment firm. Goldstein, who came to Sears during the summer of 1996 after thirteen years at American Express, introduced a number of major changes to Sears credit business, growing the private-label portfolio from $23 billion to $27 billion. Sears immediately announced that CFO Alan Lacy will replace Goldstein as president and that Gary Crittenden will succeed Lacy as CFO.


Consolidating Edu-Related Card Debt

EduCap Inc. announced Friday the immediate availability to families of a new consolidation loan for education-related debt.

The loan is the only one of its kind in the education financing industry because it allows borrowers (students and/or parents) to consolidate all education related debt — including federal, alternative, campus-based loans and education-related credit card debt.

Applicants can consolidate a minimum of $5,000 up to a maximum of $100,000 in education expenses, including such items as tuition, rent, travel, and computer hardware, software and peripherals. Repayment terms from 20 to 25 years enable the P.L.A.T.O. Consolidation Loan to have a monthly payment that may be as much as 45% lower than the borrower’s total current monthly payments for their individual loans.

Consolidation can take place in four to six weeks, which is a significant reduction when compared to other programs. Families receive a single bill with an affordable monthly payment they can manage.

P.L.A.T.O. loan consultants are available 365 days per year to quickly answer questions and provide loan consolidation guidance. Students and/or parents can receive program details and initiate the loan consolidation by calling 800-GO-PLATO. Financial Aid Administrators in need of program details can call P.L.A.T.O.’s Education Finance Representatives Monday through Friday at 800-263-3527.

The P.L.A.T.O. Consolidation Loan is the most recent in a number of innovative programs offered by P.L.A.T.O. — The Classic Student Loan(R), a well-established educational loan program that has been available to students and their families for more than six years.

Plans for the P.L.A.T.O. Consolidation Loan Program began months ago and are a timely addition to the education financing industry because consumers face reduced availability of and increased problems with government loan consolidation programs.

P.L.A.T.O. loans are a product of EduCap Inc., a nonprofit corporation based in Washington, D.C. EduCap is the nation’s largest provider of credit-based loans for education with more than $1.5 billion provided to nearly 250,000 families and students at more than 5,000 institutions of higher learning.


Capital One’s Overseas Operations Center

Capital One, a leading credit card issuer with nearly eleven million customers worldwide, announces today the location of its new European Operations Center in Nottingham, UK. The $50m(A) Operations Center will service the needs of its rapidly expanding UK customer base and act as a springboard into continental European markets.

The new Operations Center is scheduled to be up and running by 1999 and will be situated at the former Boots Printing Works in Nottingham city center. However, operations will start in May 1998 in a temporary location near to the permanent building. Capital One plans to employ up to 900 people, the majority being recruited locally.

Nigel Morris, Capital One’s President and Chief Operating Officer said, “As our first Overseas Operations Center, this is a significant milestone for Capital One and clearly indicates that we are committed to developing a major long term presence in the international financial services industry.

“In the US, our growth has been founded on the strategy of investing in the best technology, systems, products — and most importantly — people. This Operations Center will provide an important platform from which Capital One can build an equally successful business in the UK and Europe.

“After considering a number of proposals from other sites in the EU, we selected Nottingham because it has a highly qualified and motivated workforce, an ideal business environment and excellent transport links.”

At today’s announcement, Mrs. Margaret Beckett, President of the Board of Trade said, “I am delighted that Capital One has decided to locate in Nottingham. This is a significant investment for both the East Midlands region and the UK as a whole, underlining as it does Britain’s continuing success in attracting foreign investment. The Government greatly values Capital One’s commitment and I am certain the company will be a fine business partner and an enthusiastic participant in community activities.”

John Finch, Chief Executive of East Midlands Development Company, said, “After eight months of intensive effort from the team and splendid support from our partners across the region, we’re thrilled by the Capital One decision. This world class company will make a huge success of its European venture. It will also strengthen our region’s competence in IT and financial services. We’re convinced it will stimulate further investment.”

Anthony Dunnett, Chief Executive of English Partnerships said, “By focusing on Capital One’s requirements from the outset, English Partnerships is pleased to have played a key role in enabling new life to be brought to an important derelict site in the center of Nottingham.”

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 financial products and services to consumers. Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 10.7 million customers and $13.5 billion in managed loans outstanding as of September 30, 1997, and are among the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the United States.


First American-Deposit Guaranty Merger

Nashville, Tenn.-based First American Corporation (Nasdaq: FATN) and Jackson, Miss.-based Deposit Guaranty Corp. (NYSE: DEP) today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Deposit Guaranty will be merged into First American.

E.B. Robinson Jr., chairman and CEO of Deposit Guaranty Corp., said, “Deposit Guaranty sought in a merger partner one who would generate superior value for our shareholders. First American is a financial services provider of the future rather than a bank of the past. First American is further down the road with customer information systems and distribution management than most banks in the country, and we concluded that the fit of the two organizations was excellent. Deposit Guaranty believes both shareholder groups will win in this merger as the enhanced revenue and lower costs of distribution occur in the future.

“We are also excited about the prospects of bringing new value to our customers through the expertise and capabilities First American has in serving small businesses and providing services such as financial planning and investments to customers.”

First American is the top small business lender in Tennessee and ranks second in the nation in annuities sales per dollar of deposits.

Dennis C. Bottorff, chairman and CEO of First American, said, “First American and Deposit Guaranty share common operating philosophies and a very strong commitment to our clients, shareholders, employees and communities. Through this agreement, we are leveraging the joint strengths of First American and Deposit Guaranty to build one of the nation’s best-performing financial institutions. We look forward to combining the strengths of the two institutions to create value, increase revenue and decrease distribution costs in the combined company.”

As part of the transaction, First American will create a $15 million charitable foundation dedicated to supporting the communities Deposit Guaranty services. A board of trustees, led by the chief executive officer of Deposit Guaranty, will administer the foundation.

Robinson will become chief operating officer of First American Corporation, with responsibility for the company’s General Bank (retail) and Corporate Bank operations. Howard L. McMillan Jr., president and chief operating officer of Deposit Guaranty, will be chairman of Deposit Guaranty’s operations. Five members of the current Deposit Guaranty board of directors will become directors of First American Corporation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Deposit Guaranty shareholders will receive, in a tax-free exchange, 1.17 shares of First American common stock for each share of Deposit Guaranty common stock. The value of the transaction is $2.7 billion and represents an exchange value of $64.06 for each common share of Deposit Guaranty stock, based on First American’s closing share price of $54.75 on Friday, Dec. 5. The merger will be accounted for as a pooling-of-interests and is expected to be neutral to earnings in 1998 and 6 percent accretive to First American’s consensus estimate in 1999.

The combined company will have assets of approximately $17.4 billion, deposits of $13 billion and stockholders’ equity of $1.65 billion. It will operate in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia and Kentucky and will be the fourth largest financial services institution in the Mid-South region in total assets. Subject to regulatory and stockholder approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 1998.

Deposit Guaranty is a $6.8 billion institution with 171 offices and 195 ATMs in its three-state operating area of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., the company has approximately 3,500 employees. The corporation is the parent company of Deposit Guaranty National Bank and has mortgage offices in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Indiana and Iowa. Deposit Guaranty has previously announced plans to acquire Victory Bancshares, with total assets of $118 million, in Memphis, Tenn., which is scheduled to close during the first quarter of 1998.

First American Corporation is a $10.6 billion institution with 169 offices and 440 ATMs in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. First American has approximately 4,200 employees. The corporation is the parent company of First American National Bank, First American Federal Savings Bank and First American Enterprises Inc. Through its 98 percent ownership of INVEST, the company has approximately 1,900 representatives selling mutual funds, annuities and other investment and insurance products in more than 1,000 investment centers throughout the United States.

To the extent that statements in this report relate to the plans, objectives or future performance of First American Corporation and Deposit Guaranty Corp., these statements may be deemed to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are based on Management’s current expectations and the current economic environment. Actual strategies and results in future periods may differ materially from those currently expected due to various risks and uncertainties. Additional discussion of factors affecting First American’s or Deposit Guaranty’s business and prospects is contained in the company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

December 8, 1997
Deal Summary Fact Sheet

— Pooling of interests
— Tax-free exchange
— Definitive agreement signed
— Due diligence completed

— 1.17 shares of First American common stock for each common share of
Deposit Guaranty
— 19.9% stock option from DEP to FATN
— Deposit Guaranty has the right to terminate the agreement if First
American’s stock price on average for the 20 business days preceding
consummation either:
— (1) Declines by more than 25% or
— (2) Declines by more than 20% and more than 15% relative to a
specified bank index

PRICING: (Based on closing share prices as of Dec. 5, 1997)
— FATN closing price (12/5/97): $54.75
— DEP closing price (12/5/97): $52.38
— Purchase price: $2.7 billion
— Purchase price per share: $64.06
— Price/Book: 4.19x
— Price/1998 EPS consensus: 25.33x
— Pricing compares favorably to recent transactions based on contribution
analysis, implied ROA, price-to-earnings adjusted for synergies and
earnings contribution.

— Expected to close in the second quarter of 1998
— Subject to shareholder (both organizations) and regulatory approvals

— Aids in FATN becoming one of the highest performing, most highly valued
companies in the industry
— Neutral to earnings in 1998; 6% accretive in 1999 (based on IBES
consensus estimates); 10% if earnings from excess capital are included
— 250 – 300 basis point expected increase in ROE
— Expected improvement in productivity
— Opportunity to increase net interest margin
— Low cost source of funds in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas markets
— 32.5% expected synergies (25% cost, 7.5% revenue); fully phased in
during 1999
— Broadened geographic presence
— Opportunity to capitalize on FATN customer profitability and
distribution management technologies

Fact Sheet


PROFILE: $10.6 billion $6.8 billion
Financial services Financial services company
holding company
Headquartered in Headquartered in
Nashville, Tenn. Jackson, Miss.
Dennis C. Bottorff, E.B. Robinson Jr.,
Chairman & CEO Chairman & CEO
Stock price: $54.75 Stock price: $52.38 on
on 12/5/97; up 12/5/97; up 69.65 percent
90 percent from $28.81 from $30.88 on 12/31/96
on 12/31/96

HOLDINGS: First American National Bank Deposit Guaranty
National Bank
First American Federal Deposit Guaranty Mortgage
Savings Bank Company
First American Enterprises
INVEST Financial Corp.
(98 percent ownership)
SSI Group (41 percent

GROWTH (9/30/96 to 9/30/97):
Revenue: 9 percent growth Revenue: 15 percent growth
Net income: 15 percent Net income: 5.7 percent
growth growth
Avg. loans: 5.5 percent Avg. loans: 11.2 percent
growth growth*
Deposits: 4.3 percent growth Deposits: 12.7 percent
Loans: 5.5 percent growth Loans: 14.8 percent
* includes acquisitions

PERFORMANCE (3rd Qtr. 1997):
Net income of $37.2 million Net income of
or $.63 per share $23.3 million or $.57 per
Quarterly cash dividend Quarterly cash dividend
$.20 per share $.20 per share


USCS’ New E-Bill Solution

USCS International Inc. (NASDAQ:USCS) today announced that its International Billing Services subsidiary has introduced a new Electronic Billing Solution that offers billers an efficient and cost-effective new option in statement delivery.

With this solution, billers can deliver statements for viewing and payment via their own Web sites or through statement consolidators such as MSFDC, CheckFree, Intuit and others. Billers may also continue to use IBS to process, produce and deliver their paper statements via the U.S. Postal Service.

For billers who elect to display statements on their own Web sites, IBS will use internally-developed software to convert statement data streams into complete, interactive web-based statements. End users will access the biller’s Web site to view full-color HTML versions of their statements — complete with graphics, logos and full billing detail — on their PC screens.

Customers can then securely pay their bills with the touch of a button, using payment services provided by CyberCash, an IBS electronic billing partner. CyberCash’s payment suite includes PayNow Secure Electronic Check and Credit Card Services. PayNow securely processes consumers’ checking account information in a highly encrypted format and allows consumers to write electronic checks.

Checks written with PayNow will appear on consumers’ monthly checking account statements in the same way as debit card transactions.

Billers may also choose to deliver customer statements through electronic bill consolidation services announced by several leading consumer software and financial services companies, including MSFDC, CheckFree, Intuit and others. Such consolidation services seek to assemble several of a consumer’s electronic statements in a single location, so the consumer need access only a single Web site to view and pay multiple bills.

IBS’ internally developed software systems will also be used to channel billing data through such services.

One of IBS’ first Electronic Billing Solution customers is AirTouch Paging. “At AirTouch Paging, we are committed to offering the most advanced communications technologies and the highest levels of customer service. The statements we provide our customers — including the manner in which they receive them — must reflect that position,” said Kevin Broadway, Chief Information Officer for AirTouch Paging.

“Working with IBS has allowed us to expand the options our customers have for receiving and paying their bills, and they appreciate the flexibility we’ve shown in meeting their preferences.” AirTouch Paging is one of the largest paging companies in the U.S. with over 3 million units in service at the end of the third quarter 1997.

IBS has established relationships with each major provider of electronic bill consolidation services and has built interfaces to each service. By using IBS’ solution, billers eliminate the need to initiate, manage and maintain relationships with each of these services who will soon begin marketing directly to consumers.

Through its systems and software interfaces, IBS can dynamically route statements to the appropriate consolidation service depending on which service an individual consumer has chosen to use. The IBS solution is built upon industry standard technologies and open systems platforms that, when appropriate, allow the company to incorporate complementary technologies developed by third parties.

For instance, IBS has harnessed CyberCash’s PayNow internet payment technology to process certain types of electronic payments. The IBS solution will also incorporate Open Financial Exchange server software technology developed by Just-In-Time Solutions.

Additional benefits of IBS’ Electronic Billing Solution include:

— Highly targeted, rules-driven electronic inserts, which enable targeted marketing campaigns; in addition, billers can access real-time statistics on the performance of those inserts, to better evaluate the return they are receiving from their marketing investment

— Links to customer service operations, so exact images of customers’ electronic statements are available to customer service representatives

— Enabling of electronic payments, which eliminates much of the time and expense associated with traditional bill payment methods and eases the bill payment process for the consumers

— Accounts receivable updates

“IBS long ago recognized the cost savings and marketing advantages that electronic statement delivery and payment can offer billers, and we’ve been actively involved in joint development efforts and pilot programs with other leaders in this field to refine our electronic presentment capabilities,” said Randy Lintecum, president of IBS.

“Based on the success of our pilots, and the growing interest consumers have shown in this new technology, we decided the time is right to make this innovative service available to all companies who have a need to generate and send high volumes of statements.

“IBS is dedicated to getting the right bill to the right consumer at the right time, in the right format and through the right delivery service. We are the only statement processing company that can act as a single point of contact for any major company’s billing statement needs — electronic, paper-based or both,” he concluded.

“In today’s increasingly competitive environment, billers who can cost-effectively and efficiently offer their customers true choice in statement delivery and payment formats will have a tremendous advantage,” said Dawne Chandler, vice president of electronic services for IBS.

“At IBS, we are proud of the role we are playing in the launch of this new era of statement delivery and payment. We intend to continue our development efforts so our customers will always have access to the most advanced statement processing solutions.”

International Billing Services is the leading provider of complete statement processing solutions for the communications industry and is a USCS International company. USCS International offers customer management software and statement processing solutions to the global communications marketplace.

In the United States, the company currently serves 58 percent of all cable television subscribers, 39 percent of all cellular telephone subscribers and 11 percent of all landline telephone subscribers. USCS International’s clients include providers of cable television, wireless and landline telephony, direct broadcast satellite and multiple communications services in the United States and 20 other countries.

More information on USCS can be found at [][1].



TRANZ Enabler Wireless to Launch

U.S. Wireless Data Inc. (OTCBB:USWDA) announced today that it is proceeding with the national launch of its TRANZ(TM) Enabler wireless transactions processing technology.

The company has concluded the initial training of more than 400 GTE Wireless field representatives and GTE Wireless is now able to market the TRANZ Enabler in all 22 of the metropolitan markets in which they maintain CDPD coverage.

U.S. Wireless Data announced in August 1997 a joint marketing and operating agreement with GTE Wireless, the wireless business unit of GTE Corp., to distribute USWD’s TRANZ Enabler wireless credit card processing system using GTE’s cellular CDPD network. USWDA has hired more than 40 sales and marketing representatives across the United States and plans to hire an additional 60 sales representatives over the next four months.

U.S. Wireless Data also disclosed a small sampling of businesses and merchants that have begun clearing their credit card and POS transactions with the U.S. Wireless Data TRANZ Enabler. They include: the Utah Jazz (an NBA franchise), the Dallas Stars (an NHL franchise), the Houston Astrodome, AMPCO Systems Parking, Villanova University, Image Impact (the organizer of the Boston Marathon), Fan Fare Enterprises (an organizer of auto racing events), Will Page Wireless (29 locations, Tampa, Fla.), and the City of Largo, Fla.

Commenting on the national launch, Clyde Casciato, U.S. Wireless Data vice president of Sales and Marketing, commented, “We are extremely encouraged with our progress on all fronts. We were able to complete the GTE Wireless training program in two months, which is three months ahead of our business plan model. The creation of our nationwide marketing team is also ahead of schedule, and I am very enthused with the quality of this team.

“High profile merchants are beginning to choose our wireless POS solutions, and we anticipate that significant companies, including Fortune 100 companies, will be added to our list of clients in the near future. We have executed CDPD air time agreements with GTE Mobile Communications, AT&T Wireless Services and Bell Atlantic/NYNEX Mobile and we are now able to offer our wireless transactions processing solutions in all regions in the continental United States.”

USWD’s proprietary enabling technology, TRANZ Enabler, converts a merchant’s existing dial-up TRANZ VeriFone credit-card terminal into a high-speed wireless terminal. It provides merchants with a faster and more cost efficient way to transact business. The wireless transaction takes three to five seconds, vs. 11 to 20 seconds with a dial-up service.

Going wireless means the merchant no longer needs a dedicated or shared telephone line to carry transaction traffic, thereby eliminating delays, busy signals and the cost to install or pay for monthly telephone service.

U.S. Wireless Data Inc. has developed, tested and is now delivering compelling new proprietary products, programs and standards to the transaction processing and credit card industry which utilize Cellular Digital Packet Data (“CDPD”) wireless networks. USWD delivers the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solution to retail merchants in the United States today — wired or wireless.

USWD will generate recurring revenue from every transaction processed by merchants who utilize the company’s CDPD wireless technology. The company’s strategy will be to deploy its technology through marketing and partnership agreements with major cellular phone companies, regional and community banks, select ISOs, and its own sales force.


The Advanta Tax Advantage

Advanta’s sale of its credit card portfolio to Fleet has been structured to avoid all Federal taxes according to documents filed with the SEC last week. The two key factors of the tax-advantaged transaction is the fact Advanta will retain about 5% of its card portfolio (corporate card accounts) and has established a limited liability corporation with Fleet to accommodate the transfer of the card business. Advanta will hold 1% of the Rhode Island LLC. The net result is: Advanta should avoid all federal taxes on the $500 million premium it is receiving for the $10.9 billion in card loans being transferred to Fleet. Advanta also revealed in its SEC filing that it will pay investment bankers of Bankers Trust about $8.5 million in fees. Advanta chairman Dennis Alter and vice chairman William Rosoff will be paid between $3 million and $5 million in executive compensation while severance negotiations with ex-top executives Pete Hart and Jim Allhusen are continuing. Advanta also noted that all 1,900 jobs, affected by the sale, will be remain intact.


FV Expands Board

First Virtual Holdings Incorporated (Nasdaq: FVHI), a leader in advanced communications and marketing systems for Internet commerce, today announced the addition of James A. Taylor, Ph.D., to its board of directors. Taylor is senior vice president of enterprise communications and brand development at Gateway 2000, a leading direct marketer of computers.

“The addition of Jim Taylor to our board is an important step in broadening the vision for the future of electronic commerce,” said Lee Stein, chairman and chief executive officer of First Virtual Holdings. “Jim’s expertise in building brand equity and his proven insights into emerging technologies and their markets will be invaluable as we expand our enabling technologies, systems and services for personalized, interactive e-mail marketing.”

Taylor joined Gateway in 1996, after serving as executive managing director at Hill & Knowlton, one of the largest public relations firms in the world. During his tenure at Gateway, he was named “Corporate Advertising Executive of the Year” by The Delany Report and “Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek.

Taylor received his Ph.D. and master’s degrees from Michigan State University and his bachelor’s degree in rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley. He co-authored the popular book, The 500 Year Delta, an examination of the effects of social change on marketing, business management and social experiences. An accomplished speaker, Taylor has addressed such groups as the National Science Foundation, the American Red Cross and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

About First Virtual Holdings Incorporated

Founded in 1994, First Virtual Holdings develops and markets leading interactive messaging services for electronic commerce that integrates secure payment processing with intelligent messaging and interactive transactional advertisements. Through the power of e-mail, this platform enables companies to conduct relationship marketing using a sophisticated messaging system that includes interactive transactional advertising banners, special transactional offers, and creative interactive messaging.

The company has its headquarters in San Diego, with research facilities in Ann Arbor, Mich., and data center facilities in Dallas and San Diego. First Virtual Holdings has strategic relationships with First Data Corporation, First USA Paymentech, a subsidiary of Banc One Corp., and GE Capital Corporation.


IntelliTrust Formed

APPRO Systems, Inc. announced last week at the BAI Retail Delivery ’97 the formation of IntelliTrust, a consulting division specializing in helping companies which use risk management and decision systems. The group headed by Sam Khoroba, Vice President, was formed to provide lending institutions with support services to maximize the benefits of in-house technologies, allowing them to better serve their clients.

“It is of vital importance for lenders to succeed in integrating risk technologies that will distinguish the leaders in the financial services industry,” said Kharoba.

IntelliTrust will assist lending institutions realize the maximum benefits from technology investments. A preliminary list of services was developed based on current APPRO client input and industry trend predictions. IntelliTrust anticipates the following services to be most popular: credit risk management, automated credit decisions, data mining and product development.

“As electronic delivery channels become more popular, credit risk management and automated credit decisions are crucial to lenders,” said Kharoba. “A technology strategy for managing credit decisions must be in place to achieve success in the intensely competitive industry.”

Data mining and decision support systems are becoming more prevalent in the financial industry. According to Kharoba, information should be viewed as a product with value, making it an investment for future development. These resources will aid institutions in understanding and projecting customers’ current and future trends, patterns and needs, enabling them to develop products to market to those clients. “Customers have many choices, and whoever can utilize technologies effectively to quickly deliver a good, low-cost product will win,” said Kharoba.

“What sets IntelliTrust apart from other consulting groups is their unique approach to helping clients use their existing technology to improve performance,” said Craig Uffman, president of APPRO Systems, Inc. According to Uffman, a business case is developed which clearly defines the business benefits resulting from a company’s investment in technology. Financial benefits are also measured. Through business case analysis, IntelliTrust works with their clients to determine which areas (i.e., operations organization or systems architecture) will generate the highest ROI for the client. IntelliTrust provides pertinent technical alternatives and “best use” suggestions throughout the process to help achieve and maximize client objectives.

Since joining APPRO in 1990, Mr. Kharoba has held positions in the company’s Production, Information Systems, Support and Quality Service Departments. He possesses understanding of clients’ business needs and knowledge of the tools required to implement successful, strategic solutions. Before joining APPRO Systems, Kharoba attended Louisiana State University, earning both a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Mathematica.

IntelliTrust is a division of APPRO Systems, Inc., a privately held and managed company founded in 1979. The company’s family of credit assessment products is installed in more than 90 financial institutions in North America. Along with the consumer lending systems, APPRO’s products include the 20/20 Small Business Lending System, a complete assessment package for commercial lending that evaluates multiple applicants and products.

IntelliTrust is located at 9489 Interline Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. For more information contact Sam Kharoba at (504) 922-4773.


Canadian Pilot Update

Giesecke & Devrient’s Canadian subsidiary, Security Card Systems, VISA Canada and Scotiabank are teaming up for Canada’s first reloadable ‘VISA Cash’ pilot. The pilot, set for the first quarter, will encompass more than 5,000 cardholders and about 500 merchants in Barrie, Ontario. The ‘Scotiabank VISA Cash’ card pilot will also include soldiers at the Canadian Forces Base Borden and students at Georgian College.



Nestor will announce next week from Atlanta an early warning system for bankruptcies and credit card delinquencies enabling issuers to combat the “bankruptcy out-of-the-blue” dilemma. ‘BankruptcyAlert’ will become an addition to Nestor’s ‘PRISM’ neural network-based risk management products. ‘BankruptcyAlert’ evaluates accounts on a transaction-by-transaction basis rather than utilizing traditional behavior or bureau score cards. The Nestor system detects spending patterns that deviate from the accounts established patterns, analyzing the number of transactions, payment/posting data and merchant codes and comparing these data with known cases of bankruptcy in the institution’s portfolio or other databases. The company says neural networks are especially suited to this type of non-linear modeling.


One Strike

While many major issuers allow cardholders two defaults before assessing punitive interest rates the Discover card is hitting cardholders with its 22.40% punitive rate for one late payment, in addition to a $20 late fee. CardTrak says new cardholders signing up for Discover’s nine-month, 6.9% intro rate will see their rate more than triple if they miss a payment and do not make the minimum payment by the next due date. Existing cardholders face the 22.40% rate for the same scenario. Industry-wide late payment fees have climbed more than 50% this year to an average of slightly less than $20 with most issuers abolishing the grace period for late payments. Punitive interest rates are now employed by most major issuers and range from 21.40% to 32.60%.



[1]: /graphic/discover/disclosure.gif
[2]: /graphic/discover/disclosure1.gif