The PMX Gold ATM Terminal is designed to integrate seamlessly with the International Banking System and conduct both conventional ATM transactions and a wide array of Gold Banking functions, including the ability to both dispense and accept for deposit gold, silver and platinum bars. In a related development PMXO confirmed that a new Gold Banking Services Division is being formed to capitalize on the emergence of gold as a parallel currency. The company anticipates the PMX Gold ATM Terminal will enable our customers to Purchase Gold Bullion or other precious metals using all major credit/debit cards; deposit or withdraw certified serialized 999.9 Fine Suisse Gold, Silver and Platinum Bars directly to/from the ATM’s; use the equity in gold accounts for dollar-based transactions via a PMX Gold Card accepted at ATM’s and financial institutions worldwide; and conduct gold transfers with individuals and institutions as an alternative to currency-based transactions.
Phoenix Managed Networks has forged multi-year agreements with Linq3 Technologies to provide enhanced communications services for state lottery transactions from thousands of ATM machines. The Linq3’s lottery solution allows software integration with all major ATM manufacturers to enable lottery tickets to be purchased with the ATM card in most consumer wallets. Linq3’s service can be added to ATM devices already in the field, speeding deployment to a well-established footprint of hundreds of thousands of ATMs. With this, Phoenix will transport lottery transactions from ATM machines to Linq3’s data centers for initial processing, which will hand the transaction back to Phoenix for secure delivery to debit payment processors and state lottery operators.
Shinsei Bank and Seven Bank have jointly announced a collaboration
to share sales channels, product development and service development.
This collaboration would consist of the installation of Seven Bank ATMs
at Shinsei Bank’s unmanned sub-branches, with the intent of enhancing
ATM networks of both banks, and provide an important sales channel
for Shinsei Bank retail products at Seven Bank’s manned branches. With
more than 12,000 ATMs, Shinsei Bank can provide Seven Bank
customers to an expansive network while Shinsei Bank can market
products to a wider audience, namely consisting of Seven Bank
customers. For the consideration of the partnership, the banks have
signed a letter of intent to study the joint installation of ATMs, research
advances in ATM services and study benefits of cross-bank marketing.
Shinsei Bank has total assets of US$107 billion and 43 customer outlets
while Seven Bank ATMs are located across Japan and are operated in
cooperation with more than 550 financial institutions.
Quarles Petroleum has chosen the joint effort of Precidia & Staunch,
POSLynx220, a multiport payment router with both dial and serial ports.
The router delivers secure connectivity for onsite video surveillance and
the cardlock system for processing, with only one device for its 80
remote fueling stations. For Quarles’ fuel stations, the Staunch/Precidia
solution combines the Gasboy fuel dispenser and onsite
video surveillance system. Precidia has customers in over 80 countries,
a line of wired and wireless access devices and uses NetVu network
configuration management to migrate stand-alone equipment onto
IP networks. Staunch Corporation is a provider of multi-vendor
Information Technology and Digital Video Surveillance technology.
Quarles Petroleum has more than 450 employees in 6 states.
Foxwoods Resort Casino has agreed to use Global Cash Access products and services for multiple years as part of a contract extension. Foxwoods will take advantage of multiple products and services including Arriva Credit Card, QuikCash Plus Web (QCP Web), Automated Cashier Machine (ACM) 3-in-1 ATM, QuikCash cash advance terminals, EDITH (Electronic Debit Interactive Terminal Housing) and Central Credit check warranty service offered by Central Credit, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GCA. Global Cash Access, Inc. is a leading provider of cash access products and related services to approximately 1,060 gaming properties and other clients in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean.
Thales has completed Turin’s first metro “Access
Control and Ticketing System”. The new 13 kilometre line links the
northwest commuter belt of the city, Collegno, with Porta Nuova, a
central station in the heart of Turin. It will be the first system in
Europe in which public transport ticketing has been integrated with car
park ticketing, allowing customers to use one ticket for both. Thales’
system comprises access control equipment with tickets and card readers at
all sites, intrusion
detection systems and a supervision and control center. The system
consists of 183 access control gates, 183 magnetic ticket handling units,
183 contactless card and ticket handling units and 36 automatic ticket
vending machines. Thales is an international electronics and systems
group serving defense, aerospace, security and services markets with
generated revenues of 10.3 billion euros in 2004.
Oki Electric Industry has introduced a new ATM with improved lighting, higher banknote capacity and integration with mobile phones and contactless cards. The new “ATM-BankIT,” available after July 1st, can also connect to CRM servers and bank branch terminals. The new ATM enhances its security functions by mounting light shielding filters to protect PIN numbers from prying eyes and by responding to various biometric identification such as smart cards, finger veins, palm veins, iris, in which financial institutions can choose which method suits their service. The new ATM also enables a longer period for unmanned operation as the banknote capacity is increased to 14,500 notes, the largest in the industry in Japan.
GE Capital Services reported this morning that revenues for its card services segment rose by only 1% during the second quarter, from $956 million for 2Q/01 to $962 million. Net earnings for card services declined by 6%. Net earnings for card services was $176 million for the second quarter compared to $187 million one year ago. For the first half of 2002, GE’s card services revenues have slipped by 10% from $2.0 billion to $1.87 billion. However net earnings year-to-date for card services increased by 6%, from $364 million for the first half of 2001 to $387 million for the first six months of 2002. Overall, GE’s second-quarter 2002 earnings grew 14% over second quarter 2001 to $4.4 billion, the highest of any quarter in the Company’s history. For complete details on GE’s 2Q/02 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Schlumberger announced this morning it has won a competitive bid to provide a complete ticketing solution to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. The solution includes North America’s first complete turnkey fiber-optic-linked automated fare collection system. The $7.5 million contract includes an NT-based Central Data Collection System, ticket vending machines, technical support, project management and installation. The Schlumberger solution will initially be used to control 65 ticket vending machines. Project completion for the initial phase of the DART installation is expected to be completed by October 2001. Installation for The T is expected to be completed by March 2001. The previous Schlumberger DART TVM contract was awarded in Jan. 1995 and included first installation goal of 38 revenue-ready units in June 1996 to coincide with DART’s official opening. An additional installation of 12 ‘TVM5000’ units followed in January 1997, with a final 6 revenue-ready by June 1997. Currently more than 1.4 million TVM transactions are processed each year in the Dallas rail system with Schlumberger TVMs.
VISA International and the Shibuya Smart Card Society launched a large-scale smart card program in Shibuya, a major shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo, yesterday. A total of 100,000 ‘VISA Cash’ and multifunction cards expected to be issued over an 18-month period. With the ‘VISA Cash’ smart cards, cardholders will be able to make low-value purchases at over 2,000 locations in the Shibuya district. In the initial stage of the program, cardholders can use three types of VISA smart cards — disposable ‘VISA Cash’ cards, reloadable ‘VISA Cash’ cards, and multifunction cards combining a reloadable ‘VISA Cash’ function and a ‘VISA Smart Credit’ application. Starting this September, a card combining ‘VISA Cash’ on a mag stripe ATM card will also be issued. Joining VISA International in the program are the members of the Shibuya Smart Card Society, including 10 VISA member credit card companies, 10 Japanese banks and 25 technology suppliers.
Standard & Poor’s expects Japan’s consumer finance industry will face a much tougher operating environment in the years ahead, even though its current performance is strong. Concerns are mounting about a possible deterioration in asset quality, as loan portfolios have grown rapidly amid a depressed economy.
Further, intensifying competition and a potential increase in Japanese interest rates are expected to put pressure on lending margins. As this scenario evolves, the gap in creditworthiness between small, midsize, and large players is expected to widen.
Japan’s consumer lending market has already started to show warning signs. Personal bankruptcies reached an all-time high of 56,494 in 1996 and continue to grow at 20%-30% year on year in 1997. Reflecting this trend, consumer finance companies are expected to see an increase in credit costs in the near term. Further on, lending rates are expected to be forced downward as competition from existing players and new entrants intensifies. Margins are likely to come under further pressure should Japan’s low interest-rate environment — the primary contributor to expanding margins in the last few years — eventually come to an end. Finally, the anticipated lifting in fiscal 1998 of the Acceptance of Contributions, Money Deposits and Interest Law, which prohibits consumer-finance companies from accessing debt capital markets to fund direct loans, is likely to accelerate a divergence in credit quality among market players.
Industry performance is currently solid, as evidenced by the strong portfolio growth and financial performances of major players. The six leading industry participants recorded 16% portfolio growth on average in fiscal 1996 (ended March 31, 1997). This has been achieved in large part through newly introduced unmanned credit-authorization machines, which have improved customer access, as well as the finance companies’ easier access to loans. Other factors have been an increase in consumer demand for credit amid the prolonged economic slump and the aggressive growth strategies adopted by midsize players, particularly their strategies to expand distribution networks. Profitability ratios among the top six are impressive, with return-on-asset rates above 3% and return-on-equity rates between 15% and 20% on average, which is extremely high for Japanese financial institutions. The strong financial performances reflect improvements in already high net interest margins amid the low interest rate environment. Credit costs, while increasing, continue to be favorable.
Standard & Poor’s evaluation of the industry shows that some consumer finance companies are able to maintain satisfactory levels of credit quality despite the industry’s risky nature. Our evaluation takes into account a number of factors, including the quality of underwriting and collection skills, the degree to which loan portfolios are diversified among consumers, and a company’s ability to maintain a favorable financial profile (including profitability and capitalization). Overall negative factors are:
— A relatively risky customer base of low to middle-income individuals;
— Limited funding flexibility, reflecting the absence of ‘main bank’ relations common among Japan’s major corporates;
— Restricted access to capital markets; and
— Consumer finance companies’ limited track records as borrowers.
Small and midsize players are seen as especially vulnerable, as they are typically the most exposed to the asset quality problems associated with rapid expansion. Further, these smaller players often lack the funding flexibility or management skills to cope with intensified competition. Midsize players are pursuing aggressive expansion strategies to improve their market position and thus ensure their competitiveness against larger players. They will enjoy better odds of survival only if asset risks are addressed and managed pr.ply. Large players, who have superior name recognition and thus access to customers with stronger credit, will also be challenged by the industry’s dynamics. In an industry of shrinking margins, consumer finance companies that fail to pr.ply address asset quality problems and manage their funding and operating costs will be unable to survive, Standard & Poor’s said.