Providian Opens TX Ops

Providian Financial last week officially opened its new Arlington, Texas, banking operations center. Providian currently employs 400 people in Arlington and expects to create as many as 700 additional jobs there in the next year.

Community members and government officials joined Providian senior management and employees for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new facility. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer David Sampson welcomed Providian to Arlington saying, “We’re delighted to see Providian become a top employer in this community. Their investment in the long-term growth of Arlington and the sheer number of new jobs created is exciting. We are proud to include Providian among an impressive local representation of corporate America.”

“We’re glad to be in Arlington,” said Providian Executive Vice President Seth Barad. “Our new community offers a very positive business climate and a very strong and qualified labor force. Both will enable us to build our growing employee population, who will help uphold Providian’s commitment to 100% customer satisfaction. Providian is proud to be a part of the Arlington community and we plan to be an active member of it.”

As a part of its community commitment, Providian today announced a $20,000 donation to the YWCA Arlington Child Development Center, a program of the YWCA of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Providian’s donation will assist the center in providing subsidized quality child care for economically disadvantaged families. “Subsidized child care is essential for low-income working families to be self-sufficient,” said Judy Bishop, Executive Director of the YWCA Arlington Child Development Center. “We are extremely grateful to Providian for making this leadership donation. It will greatly enhance our efforts to provide quality child care to needy children.” Providian’s donation is part of the Company’s national Providian Child Care Initiative.

Providian Financial has over 8,000 employees in the U.S. and the U.K, with facilities in California, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Utah, Texas, and London, England. Providian’s Arlington, Texas, offices are located at 3801 South Collins Boulevard. People who are interested in employment opportunities with Providian should call 817-417-4444 or fax their resume to 817-417-4673.

Providian Financial Corporation (www.providian.com) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to consumers nationwide and in the United Kingdom. Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products that include credit cards, revolving lines of credit, home loans, secured cards and fee-based services. With $16 billion in assets under management and 10 million customers, Providian is committed to providing 100% customer satisfaction. San Francisco-based Providian Financial is one of the ten largest bankcard issuers in the nation, and in 1998 ranked as the seventh best performing stock in the S&P 500 and the single best performing stock in the S&P Financial Composite Index.

Discover Partners

Discover Financial Services announced late last week its list of ‘Platinum Partners’ for Discover ‘Platinum’ cardholders. Under the program cardholders who receive a yearly ‘Cashback Bonus’ award of up to 1% can double the award through certificates that are redeemed at select merchants. Participating merchants include: United Airlines; Hyatt Hotels; Alamo; Blockbuster; Rand McNally; Foot Locker; 1-800-flowers; Omaha Steaks; Lobster Gram; Samsonite; Royal Caribbean; Carnival Cruises; Delta Certified Vacations; MusicDirect.com; Virtual Vineyards; and Discover Brokerage.

AmEx UK

American Express is unleashing a major new advertising campaign to support its charge card business in the UK. Competition in the UK is heating up after the recent entry of Providian and Discover into the credit card market. One of the four initial themes features Lennox Lewis in the boxing ring promoting AmEx as “Handy If You Get Robbed in America”, highlighting AmEx’s emergency card and cash replacement services. Another spot features the tag line “What the Brits Pack”. Insertions will appear in the national press and national press supplements as well as lifestyle magazines such as Vanity Fair and Harpers & Queen through to current affairs weeklies such as Time and The Economist. The 3mGBP advertising campaign was developed by Ogilvy & Mather. Media buying is being handled by Carat.

Renaissance Cited

Portland, OR-Renaissance Holdings, Inc. (RHI), a Beaverton, OR-based financial services company, has been recognized by The Business Journal as one of the 100 fastest-growing private companies. This award acknowledges businesses with headquarters in the Portland metro area that have experienced record growth since 1996, tripling its workforce to 499 employees and reporting a 146% increase in gross revenue.

‘We are happy to be recognized as the 30th fastest growing private company in the Portland metropolitan area. Last year was the most significant growth year in the company’s eight-year history and we expect equally dynamic account growth in the future,’ said Irving Levin, CEO of Renaissance Holdings.

The Business Journal received entries from companies within the 5-county metro area (Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, OR and Clark, WA). Business that met the following qualifications were considered for an award: annual growth over each of the past three full year; revenue of more than $200,000 but less than $50 million in fiscal 1996; and an independent, privately hold corporation, proprietorship or partnership with headquarters in the Portland metro area. The winners were notified of their rankings and presented their awards on June 12, 1999 at The Business Journal’s Awards Reception held at The Oregon Zoo. Primary sponsors of the project included PricewaterhouseCoopers and KeyBank.

Privately held RHI originates, manages and services customized sub-prime MasterCard and Visa programs on behalf of cardholders, financial institutions, retailers and affinity groups. Through its two subsidiaries, Renaissance Bankcard Services and Orchard Bank, the company provides credit card and credit education to individuals who have difficulty obtaining credit from traditional lenders. Established in 1991, Renaissance helped pioneer sub-prime credit card products and management systems and is considered a knowledge leader in this market segment.

Founded in 1976, Banco Santander Puerto Rico is a publicly held company which trades in the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘SBP’, The Hank, which is the second largest in the local market, has been operating in Puerto Rico for 22 years and offers a full array of services in the areas of commercial, mortgage and consumer banking, support by a team of more than 1,700 employees. Banco Santander Puerto Rico has 76 branches in Puerto Rico, 14 of which are fully automated branches operating under the name of ‘Red Express’, and one branch in New York City.

Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH), S.A., the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America, owns 78.3% of Banco Santander Puerto Rico outstanding common shares. It is the first bank by stock market capitalization in the Euro Zone and the eighth by assets volume. According to proforma balance sheets and statements of income on March 31, 1999, BSCII had US $337.61 billions in total managed funds and US $259.46 billions in assets, with 22 millions clients and operations in 31 countries including all the major international financial centers in the world.

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company, is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It provides card, Travelers Cheque, travel and financial services in over 160 countries.

While continuing to grow its proprietary card business, American Express has been aggressively pursuing its strategy of opening its merchant network to other card issuers around the world. In the last several years it has developed partnerships with 47 such institutions in more than 50 countries.

CheckFree Promotion

CheckFree, the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services, software and related products, Friday announced the promotion of Frank Polashock to president of New Jersey-based CheckFree Investment Services (CFIS). Polashock will report directly to CheckFree President and Chief Operating Officer Pete Sinisgalli.

Polashock joined CheckFree’s Investment Services division in May 1997 as executive vice president and general manager. “Over the past two years, Frank has led CFIS to substantial improvements in quality, productivity and financial performance,” said Sinisgalli. “In addition, he and the entire team of CFIS associates have positioned the division for a very exciting and rewarding future.”

Under Polashock’s leadership, the CFIS team has increased revenue by 67 percent, while operating income has nearly tripled. The number of portfolios managed on CFIS’ APL system has doubled to more than 700,000. The acquisition of the Mobius Group in March has expanded the division’s product offerings to include data-based information services and products extending to the rapidly growing financial planner marketplace.

About CheckFree

Founded in 1981, CheckFree (www.checkfree.com ), the operating subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings Corporation, is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services, software and related products. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable nearly three million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically through a variety of bill aggregation points, including banks, brokerage firms, portals and interactive content sites on the Internet, and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree’s range of services and products are focused on enabling customers to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure Internet transactions.

After more than a year of beta testing, CheckFree launched the nation’s first fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution, CheckFree E-Bill, in March of 1997. Today, the Company has multi-year contracts with more than 50 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through the CheckFree distribution network.

New Visa Region Prez

VISA International announced this weekend that Jonathan Sanchez-Jaimes will take over as the new president of VISA’s Latin America and Caribbean Region. He will succeed James Partridge, one of the founders of VISA, and the Region’s first president, who is retiring. Partridge will continue to serve as a member of the VISA International, Latin America and Caribbean Region Board of Directors, and as a Senior Advisor to the Region. Sanchez-Jaimes began working with VISA in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, as senior consultant in 1996. Since 1997, Sanchez-Jaimes has served as a VISA EVP. He will be based in Miami.

E-Bill Demand Soft

PSI Global says a new study shows that consumers’ interest in electronic bill presentment and payment services lags behind that of companies, particularly high-volume billers, that want to switch from paper-based systems to electronics. PSI says it found that just seven percent of U.S. households think that they could receive and pay bills via the Internet within six to 12 months. And 16 percent say they would like to use the Internet both to receive and pay bills within the next three years. However PSI says the good news for billers is that close to 50 percent of U.S. households already have PCs, and more than a third of these PC owners actively use financial management software. The infrastructure is in place for large numbers of consumers to accept EBPP. The research firm says another positive indicator that consumers will adopt new bill payment methods is the decline in the usage of checks from 90 percent of all payments in 1990 to 76 percent this year. PSI estimates that consumers will make 15.9 billion bill payments this year.

Hypercom Promotion

Hypercom Corporation today announced the appointment of John Marshall as senior vice president and general manager, Hypercom North America POS. Mr. Marshall will be directly responsible for managing and directing Hypercom(R) sales, service and support throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Marshall will report to Chris Alexander, president of Hypercom Worldwide Payment Solutions, a new streamlined organization responsible for all payment product sales and support, including Hypercom’s POS Multi-Lane Division and The Horizon Group. Marshall had previously served as senior vice president of sales, US/Canada POS.

“Hypercom’s shipments soared by almost 45% in the US last year, in large part due to John Marshall’s efforts. His appointment to this newly-created position is directly in line with our goal to continue that momentum, simplify our organizational structure, improve efficiency and provide existing and potential customers with the most advanced value-added electronic payment solutions,” said Chris Alexander, president, Hypercom Worldwide Payment Solutions.

Marshall is a 30-year veteran of the electronic payments, banking, data processing and communications industries. Prior to joining Hypercom in 1987, Marshall was vice president of sales and marketing for Ausnet and its subsidiary, EFTEL, the operators of Australia’s only independent EFT switch networking running both ATMs and card payment systems.

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is a global provider of electronic payment solutions, including multi-functional point-of-sale terminals, peripherals, network products, Ascendent(TM) payment and transaction software and Internet-based and electronic commerce payment solutions. On a global basis Hypercom delivers the services and technology infrastructure required to quickly integrate and deploy new payment applications. These applications provide competitive value-add programs, improved business performance and low total cost of ownership.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is www.hypercom.com.

NYCE-Magic Formally Merge

NYCE Corporation and Magic Line, Inc., two of the leading electronic payment services providers in the United States, have formally closed their merger. The transaction received regulatory approval last week from the Federal Reserve Board, the last step required prior to completing their merger.

Last week, the two companies announced that the combined entity will operate under the single brand of NYCE for all products and services throughout its expanded marketplace created by the merger.

The merged company will operate as NYCE Corporation, serving over 45 million cardholders in 15 states, through a network that includes 35,000 automated teller machines (ATMs) and 185,000 point-of-sale (POS) retailer locations.

Dennis F. Lynch is President and Chief Executive Officer of NYCE Corporation. John G. Bascom, who had been President and Chief Executive Officer of Magic Line, Inc., is Executive Vice President of NYCE and President of its Midwest Regional Business Unit, which is based in Dearborn, Michigan, where Magic Line had been headquartered.

“We are pleased to have our merger approved as originally structured and closed, and we are ready and eager to start moving forward as a combined company,” said Mr. Lynch. “Building on the powerful franchises of our two EFT companies, NYCE will become an even greater electronic payments resource for our participants and the consumers they serve. We think the timing of our merger is astute and the combination of all we offer will be unbeatable.”

NYCE Corporation has 12 principal financial institution owners whose representatives serve on NYCE’s Board of Directors. In addition, the Board has four seats for regional representatives from the Northeast and Midwest regions. Mr. Lynch and Mr. Bascom also serve on the Board.

NextCard – InsWeb

NextCard announced this morning it has signed an agreement with InsWeb, an Internet insurance marketplace. The agreement marks the first time that NextCard applicants will be able to access insurance products online through a co-branded insurance center, which may be accessed directly from NextCard’s Web site. Under terms of the deal, InsWeb will become NextCard’s exclusive insurance provider.

Fair, Isaac Signs Dillard Portfolio

Dillard National Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dillard’s, Inc., has purchased behavior models from Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. to evaluate customer-level risk across its retail portfolio of 10 million accounts. The behavior models will be used in Fair, Isaac’s TRIAD adaptive control system, which Dillard’s gained when it acquired Mercantile Stores Company, Inc. in 1998. TRIAD is a powerful, automated portfolio management system combining behavior scoring, adaptive control software and strategy consulting for improved customer service and customer value.

“The bank will use the new behavior models to help us take full advantage of TRIAD functionality,” said Randy Hankins, president, Dillard National Bank. The company plans to use TRIAD to standardize strategies on both the Dillard’s and acquired Mercantile accounts, as well as to increase merchandise sales, improve collection rates, and enhance customer service. Dillard’s expanded its portfolio by approximately 3.5 million accounts via the Mercantile Stores acquisition. The behavior models will be used on revolving credit, special purchase plans and installment purchases.

Fair, Isaac(R) (www.fairisaac.com) helps businesses worldwide maximize the value of data to make more profitable decisions about their customers, operations and portfolios. Fair, Isaac delivers data management services, analytics, software, and consulting to the financial services, direct marketing, personal lines insurance, retail, and healthcare industries. For more information, call Fair, Isaac at 800-999-2955.

Established 60 years ago by William Dillard, Dillard’s, Inc. of Little Rock, Ark., currently operates 337 stores in 29 states featuring branded and private label merchandise. The retail chain has annual sales of more than $7.7 billion.

PayMate 1000

Datacap announced this week that First Data Merchant Services will be the first to market the ‘PayMate 1000’, an electronic cash and credit register which provides small and mid-sized merchants with a single device to process cash, checks, credit and debit transactions. FDMS says small and mid-sized businesses typically used separate registers and card terminals. The ‘PayMate 1000’ enables merchants to centralize all payment transactions in one device plus consolidate reporting. Wachovia Merchant Services says it will offer the new Datacap device to new merchant clients as well as its existing client base of 28,000 merchant locations.