First USA Chargeoff Modifications

Fitch Investors Service said Friday First USA is modifying its chargeoff policies for its card bonds to align them with Banc One’s accounting policies. First USA writes off credit card accounts as uncollectible after 210 days while Banc One writes off at 180 days. Both institutions write off bankrupt accounts upon notice. Fitch says the change will boost First USA’s card bond chargeoffs but not to levels requiring a rating change. The modification will be phased-in over the next six months. For the August distribution date FUSA’s chargeoffs were 7.33% compared to 5.7% in July.

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U.S. Army Corps Expands Card Program

Recreational users at Louisville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes may pay for maps and charts, shoreline permit fees, and advance payment of recreation fees with Visa and MasterCard under a new Corps Credit Card Program.

The benefits to the public include the ease of charging without the worry of carrying money to Corps facilities and allows campers to reserve campsites and pay for camping nights.

“I think folks like it. People seem to like using plastic,” Bob Barnett, Rough River Lake park manager, said.

For the Corps, the program reduces losses from bad checks, verifies card validity and sees if there is sufficient credit to cover the charge. The program also electronically transfers money from purchases to an interest- bearing account within 48 hours which speeds payment to the government compared to the previous methods of money collection.

The program started as a test in 1988 in four Corps districts — Nashville, Tulsa, Little Rock and Fort Worth. The program has expanded to every district. Headquarters for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested that Nashville District serve as the National Credit Card Program Manager based on its experience with the credit card program. Nashville District provided customer service training, orientation, implementation and execution instructions for all Corps districts.

The Corps selected NationsBank to provide the credit card services. NationsBank is the largest provider of federal credit card services and was already providing credit card services to 43 other federal agencies, including the National Park Service.

In the Louisville District, the following Corps offices accept credit cards for Golden Age Passports, Annual Day Use Passes and Shelter Reservations:

District lakes in Kentucky Barren River, Buckhorn, Carr Creek, Cave Run, Green River, Nolin, and Rough River

District lakes in Ohio Caesar Creek Visitor Center, C.J. Brown, and William H. Harsha

In the Louisville District, the following lakes also accept credit cards for camping reservations:

Barren River Lake: Bailey’s Point, Narrows, and Tailwater campgrounds Buckhorn Lake: Tailwater Campground Carr Creek Lake: Littcarr Campground Green River Lake: Holmes Bend, Pikes Ridge and Smith Ridge campgrounds Nolin River Lake: Dog Creek, Moutardier and Wax campgrounds Rough River Lake: Axtel, Cave Creek, Laurel Branch and North Fork campgrounds

Annual Passes, Golden Age Passports, navigation charts and lake maps may be bought with credit cards in Room 64 in the Romano Mazzoli Federal Building, 600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Place, Louisville.

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Year 2000 Suit

A Michigan grocer has filed suit against its payment system suppliers following more than 100 system crashes caused by credit cards with expiration dates in the year 2000. Produce Palace International is suing Atlanta-based Tec-America Corp. and Michigan-based All American Cash Register for misrepresenting payment hardware and software as Year 2000-compliant. The store owners indicated the system crashes rendered some cash registers useless. The produce firm is now processing year 2000 credit cards by hand. ComputerWorld magazine quoted one expert this week who predicted year-2000 lawsuits could approach $1 trillion.

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Equifax Rated High

Equifax, Inc., the premier financial information and processing solutions company based in Atlanta that’s on the Fast track in growth and revenue, just keeps on racking up the high rankings in the world of technology and economic value.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle named Equifax #1 in its listing of the Fast Tech 50 in Atlanta – for the second year in a row. The list is based on revenue generation and other factors, determined by an annual study conducted by Arthur Andersen LLP. Equifax revenue for 1996 was $1.8 billion.

In addition to producing record revenue, Equifax has also been recognized as a top place to work in the world of technology.

COMPUTERWORLD Magazine in its June, 1997, issue, listed Equifax #28 out of their 100 Best Places to Work in the information systems field, nationwide. The magazine surveyed the 1996 Fortune 1000 and the 40 leading consulting firms to find the best. They based their results on analysis of the organization’s benefits, staff changes and salary increases in 1996 and 1997, female and minority IS staff participation, family care and training.

Information Week Magazine will name Equifax to the “Information Week 500” as one of the top five financial services companies in the U.S. in a September 1997 issue – for the second year in a row. The magazine commissions a research firm to get on the phone and talk to several information technology people in candidate companies to get information on which to base the rankings. Once the rankings are determined, writers for the magazine talk to the chief technology officers of the top companies. For the past two years, Information Week has interviewed Equifax president and CEO, Dan McGlaughlin, who has a vast background in information technology with IBM, GE and Equifax.

Equifax is also nationally ranked by the major business and financial journals:

Business Week Global 1000 listings are just out and Equifax ranks #785 globally and #351 in the U.S., based on market value.

FORBES Magazine picks only 500 U.S companies each year for the Forbes Market Value 500. For 1996, Equifax ranks #336 (up from #411 in 1995).

FORTUNE 1000 rankings by revenue include Equifax at #654 overall and #7 in the Computer Data and Services industry listings.

The Stern Stewart Performance 1000 ranks Equifax #183 by economic market value added, as reported in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance.

Better Investing Magazine ranks Equifax in its Top 100 most popular and widely held stocks among investment clubs and their members nationwide.

And in recognition of its value, Equifax was recently named tot he S&P 500 Index of Companies by Standard and Poor’s Financial Information Services group.

Rankings within one’s home state are also important.

Atlanta Journal/Constitution found that Equifax ranked #6 in the Top 100 Businesses in Georgia for 1996.

Georgia Trend Magazine ranks Equifax in the “Top 50” Georgia public companies in asset (#18), net income (#9) and revenue (#14).

Equifax is a world leader in providing financial information and processing solutions, with global operations in consumer and commercial credit information services, payment services, software, modeling, analytics and consulting and direct-to-consumer services. The company serves many industries including banking, finance, retail, telecommunications, utilities and health care. Equifax was founded in 1899 in Atlanta and today has 10,000 employees around the world. It operates globally in 17 countries, with sales in 40 countries. After spinning off its Insurance Services Group, which became ChoicePoint Inc. on August 7, Equifax revenues for the 12 months ended June 30, 1997, were just under $1.3 billion.

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