Net Element International electronic commerce and mobile payment processing entered into a binding term sheet to acquire Aptito, a next generation, cloud-based point of sale platform for restaurants and operate it through TOT Group (“TOT”), its mobile payments and transaction processing holding company. TOT is a multinational mobile payments and transaction processing holding company which provides a unique range of flexible online and offline payment solutions. Clients include wireless carriers, content providers and merchants. TOT delivers comprehensive, end-to-end payment solutions to enable merchants to reliably accept cashless transactions at the point of sale (POS). Aptito is a next-generation, cloud-based payments platform, which brings online consumer experience into offline commerce environments via tablet, mobile and all other cloud-connected devices. Aptito’s Restaurant mPOS solution provides restaurants with tools to increase sales, productivity, and customer loyalty.
The credit gap for U.S. consumers is growing as lenders expect credit availability to fall short of consumer demand through the end of 2010, with 73% of bank risk professionals expecting the volume of credit applications to increase or remain steady over the next six months. With this, 46% expect approval criteria for credit to get stricter while only 14% expect criteria to be loosened; 38% expect the approval rate for credit applications to decline while 25% expect a higher approval rate. This, according to a recent FICO quarterly survey of bank risk professionals, is consistent with findings earlier in the year showing the number of new credit cards opened by U.S. consumers dropped by 17.7% compared to the previous 12 months. Additional findings show the number of inquiries for new credit fell by 3%; the total amount of credit available on all U.S. consumer credit cards fell by 12.2% during the same 12-month period; 42% of those surveyed expect credit card delinquency to increase); and the percentage of all respondents expecting an increase in credit card delinquencies fell from 59% to 42% since the previous quarter.
Bankers are expecting consumers to pursue more new credit and spend more against existing credit, while 92% donât expect to see an easing of lending standards in this quarter. Also 95% of bankers expect interest rates to rise and 83% see average credit card limits to drop. This, according to a survey conducted on FICO’s behalf by the Professional Risk Managersâ International Association (PRMIA) of the 127 bank risk professionals in March, also showed 66% expect their institutions to increase the priority placed on risk management and 34% expect priority given to risk management to remain at its current level. Moreover, 85% expect the CARD Act to result in higher interest rates for consumers and lower credit limits for new accounts and to result in similar or lower acceptance rates for credit applications.
Chicago-based Rewards Network has appointed Ronald L. Blake, its President and CEO, to the Board and has inked an employment agreement with Blake. Rewards Network provides loyalty and rewards programs for restaurants via its registered credit card platform.
Following the departure of other executives, Chicago-based Rewards Network lost its CEO yesterday and is projecting a net loss for the first quarter. The news follows a weak fourth quarter wherein operating revenues and sales dropped 8% driven by declines in restaurant merchant count, dining transactions and the average dining transaction amount. CEO and president George Wiedemann said the Company’s 2004 performance was less than satisfactory. He resigned yesterday. Rewards Network promptly named Ronald Blake as the new president, CEO and director. Blake was chairman and CEO of Willis Stein Telecom Acquisition and previously worked for Ameritech. The Company expects to report a net loss, in the range of $0.16 to $0.22 per share, for the first quarter. Rewards Network says the loss is the result of lower-than-expected revenues; a higher-than-expected provision for losses; and severance costs for executives. For the fourth quarter Rewards Network posted operating revenues of $22.6 million on $82.0 million in sales. As of year-end 2004, Rewards Network had 3.8 million active member accounts, 10,514 restaurants and 11,321 hotels participating in its rewards programs. For complete details on the Rewards Network fourth quarter performance, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
REWARDS NETWORK HISTORICAL
Sales Restaurants Transactions
2002: $271.8mm 9,681 2,349,000
2003: $320.1mm 10,836 2,746,000
2004: $320.6mm 10,514 2,641,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)
ACE Cash Express has named Jake Schroepfer as chief marketing officer. Mr. Schroepfer has held leadership positions with leading Omnicom Group Inc. marketing communications agencies, including DDB Worldwide and Tracy-Locke in Dallas. ACE Cash Express, Inc. is headquartered in Irving, Texas and is the largest owner, operator and franchiser of check-cashing stores in the United States.
iDine Rewards Network Inc., announced Board member George S. Wiedemann has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer.
iDine also announced that Gene M. Henderson, the previous President and Chief Executive Officer, has resigned.
Mr. Wiedemann was, until recently, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Responsys Inc., a provider of on-line direct marketing technology. Mr. Wiedemann continues to be a member of the Board of Responsys. Prior to his involvement with Responsys, Mr. Wiedemann was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Grey Direct Marketing Group, Inc., a direct marketing agency network he founded in 1979, that specializes in multimedia direct response advertising. Mr. Wiedemann serves on the Direct Marketing Association Board of Directors to which he was elected in 1990. Mr. Wiedemann has been a Director of iDine since 1998. Commenting on the appointment of Mr. Wiedemann, Samuel Zell, Chairman of the Board said, “Over the past four years, George has provided iDine with invaluable insight and guidance during his tenure as a Board member and we feel his enthusiasm and knowledge of the business will enable the company to continue to take advantage of opportunities in the member rewards arena. We are very excited to have been able to find someone of George’s professional caliber and marketing acumen to continue the solid growth of iDine and lead the company to the next level.”
Mr. Wiedemann said, “I’m quite pleased and excited about working with Sam Zell, the iDine Board and our employees to build iDine into the premier credit card based loyalty and rewards platform.”
Mr. Zell added, “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Gene Henderson for his leadership over the past four years. Gene has been instrumental in guiding the company through a period of financial uncertainty to its present position of profitability and financial health. Gene has built a strong team and has positioned the company as the clear leader in the dining rewards industry.”
iDine Rewards Network Inc., based in Miami, Florida, offers its members a variety of dining savings and rewards programs at more than 8,600 restaurants throughout the United States via means of a registered credit card platform. The Company currently has 12.8 million credit cards registered through 9.8 million enrolled accounts. Dining incentives are offered through the Company’s dining programs, either branded under the name iDine or provided through co-branded and private label partnerships, such as airline frequent flyer programs, club memberships or other affinity organizations. iDine Reward Network’s common stock trades on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and alongside its Series A Preferred Stock on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX).
iDine Rewards Network has elected Samuel Zell as Chairman to succeed Sheli Rosenberg. Mr. Zell is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Equity Group Investments, L.L.C. (EGI) a private investment company.
Miami-based iDine Rewards Network has expanded its Board from nine members to ten members, and has added Samuel Zell. Mr. Zell is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Equity Group Investments a private investment company.
New Zealand-based Visible Results announced that Gerald Lewis, the veteran retail and consumer marketing consultant, has resigned as Chairman of Visible Results USA to provide management level consulting to a limited number of U.S. and international companies in the retailing and consumer goods marketing fields. Mr. Lewis joined the Visible Results in May 2001, to guide the introduction of the patented “Visible Results GraphiCard” loyalty technology into the U.S. retailing, food service and hospitality markets. A total of three million individuals worldwide hold loyalty program membership cards based on Visible Results’ “GraphiCard” technology and CRM infrastructure. Transactions completed through all programs total a collective 1.6 million monthly, while worldwide spend through programs has reached US$21 million monthly.
Auckland-based Visible Results announced that Gerald Lewis, the veteran retail and consumer marketing consultant, has resigned as Chairman of Visible Results USA to provide management level consulting to a limited number of U.S. and international companies in the retailing and consumer goods marketing fields. Mr. Lewis joined the Visible Results in May 2001, to guide the introduction of the patented “Visible Results GraphiCard” loyalty technology into the U.S. retailing, food service and hospitality markets. A total of three million individuals worldwide hold loyalty program membership cards based on Visible ResultsÂ “GraphiCard” technology and CRM infrastructure. Transactions completed through all programs total a collective 1.6 million monthly, while worldwide spend through programs has reached US$21 million monthly.
TSYS broke ground yesterday on its new 46-acre corporate campus to be located along the Chattahoochee River in Uptown Columbus, GA .