GE Consumer Finance Profits Rise 19% Sequentially

GE reported that its Consumer Finance unit posted a record $602 million in first quarter profit, a 10.2% gain over 1Q/03, and a nearly 19% increase over the prior quarter. First quarter revenues were $3.6 billion, a 30% jump over 1Q/03 but only up slightly over the fourth quarter. During the quarter, GE completed the acquisitions of RSGB in France and Orient Consumer Credit in Singapore, adding more than $800 million of assets and expanding Consumer Finance’s presence in growing markets for secured debt consolidation and the financing of used autos. The Company also acquired a 50% interest in IFG Group, a leading Irish specialty finance company, enabling the creation of a debt consolidation business in that market. Acquired Cashworks, a provider of technology solutions for the non-bank financial services industry that adds a strong foundation in the Americas for fee-based Consumer Finance business. GE also launched a private-label credit card and pilot dual card product with ASDA, a 270-store Wal-Mart subsidiary and one of the U.K.’s fastest-growing chains. For complete details on GE’s first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

GE CONSUMER FINANCIAL TRACK RECORD
Income Revenues
1Q/03: $546 million $2759 million
2Q/03: $514 million $3046 million
3Q/03: $595 million $3499 million
4Q/03: $506 million $3541 million
1Q/04: $602 million $3589 million
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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Heartland Payment Systems Adds a Board Member

NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems has named George Raymond to its Board. Mr. Raymond brings extensive experience in the payroll processing and information technology industries to the Heartland team. Since 1989, Mr. Raymond has been President of the Buckland Corporation, a consulting company to the information technology industry. Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. provides payment processing services to primarily small and medium-sized merchants in the United States. Heartland sells and markets its payment processing services through a direct sales force of over 700 sales professionals in all 50 states.

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Elan Adds Another Fastbank ATM Client

Elan Financial Services has teamed with Merchants Bank and Trust of West Harrison, Indiana to provide electronic services to its customers, including access to the “Fastbank” ATM network with its surcharge-free option. They currently partner with Elan to issue their credit card program, and will now utilize Elan to process their ATM and debit card programs, as well as provide their customers with access to Fastbank. Elan Financial Services, as part of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), supports more than 7,000 ATMs, 15 million ATM/POS cards, and 2 million credit cardholders with a complete range of products and services including credit card issuing, ATM, debit card, and merchant processing. Merchants Bank and Trust is a full-service financial institution with four branches in Dearborn County, Indiana and Western Hamilton County, Ohio.

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Gemplus Replaces Three Non-Executive Directors

Gemplus Internationa announced that three new non-executive Directors will be proposed for election to its Board on April 27th. The three non-executive directors are proposed to replace Ron
Mackinstosh, Randy Christofferson and Thierry Dassault, who will not be proposed for re-election by the Board to shareholders. The proposed new non-executive Directors are Kurt Hellstrom, John Ormerod, and
Michel Akkermans. Hellstrom is the former President and CEO of Ericsson. Ormerod is a Senior Partner in the UK practice of Deloitte. Akkermans, is Chairman and Chief Executive of Clear2Pay.

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Small Issuers Outstandings Up 7.5% as Pulaski Leads

Small issuers, with $15 million to $100 million in outstandings, posted an average 7.5% increase in year-over-year outstandings and an 8.8% gain in first quarter volume, compared to the first quarter of last year. Sequentially, this peer group reported an average seasonal contraction of 1.9% in first quarter card loans, according to statistics reported last week to CardData. Among the strongest issuers in this segment are Americu Credit Union in Rome, NY; MAX Federal Credit Union in Montgomery, AL; Citizens Financial Group in Riverside, RI; and, Pulaksi Bank & Trust in Little Rock, AR. Americu reported 1Q/04 outstandings of $18.9 million, a nearly 60% jump. MAX posted $35.7 million in first quarter card loans, a gain of 29%. Citizens Financial reported $26.4 million in first quarter outstandings. Pulaski, which markets a low-rate card nationwide, posted a 26% in card loans and a stunning 78% gain in volume. For complete details on first quarter portfolio results, posted daily, visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

$15 Million to $100 Million Peer Group – 1Q/04
ISSUER Outstandings Y/Y Volume Y/Y
1. Randolph Brooks FCU $88,606,965 (+4.5%) $72,898,961 (+12.1%)
2. Farm Bureau Bank FSB $87,446,058 (-6.4%) $66,058,269 (-6.8%)
3. Amalgamated Bank Chi $75,319,122 (-4.6%) $59,814,419 (-4.6%)
4. MacDill FCU $44,201,493 (+6.8%) $17,342,725 (+10.2%)
5. Pulaski Bank & Trust $41,278,435 (+25.9%) $17,881,257 (+77.5%)
6. USE Credit Union $39,776,026 (+13.7%) $10,979,745 (NC)
7. Anheuser Busch CU $39,069,907 (+9.1%) $26,060,642 (+13.0%)
8. MAX FCU $35,674,059 (+29.3%) $14,503,568 (+38.1%)
9. Citizens Financial RI $26,408,631 (+28.2%) $42,887,646 (+21.1%)
10. Americu Credit Union $18,919,555 (+59.7%) $ 6,206,392 (+33.3%)
TOTAL $495,700,251 ( +7.5%) $334,640,624 ( +8.8%)
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

[1]: http://www.carddata.com

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SKYMILES CARDS

Delta Air Lines and Lloyds TSB Bank have partnered to launch two co-branded credit cards and three co-branded debit cards for Colombian residents. This is the first time Delta has offered a debit card that earns “SkyMiles” in any country. The new “Platinum VISA” and “VISA Gold SkyMiles” credit cards, and the “Platinum”, “Gold,” and “Classic SkyMiles VISA” debit cards all award one mile for every U.S. dollar spent. Purchases of Delta Air Lines products and services made with the cards will earn two miles for every U.S. dollar spent. As an introductory offer, customers who choose the “Delta SkyMiles Lloyds Platinum VISA” credit card will be awarded 7,500 bonus miles with their first purchase, and customers who choose the “Gold” credit card will be awarded 5,000 bonus miles. Delta now offers co-branded VISA cards in nine international markets. In the USA, Delta has partnered with American Express to issue co-branded credit cards.

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IRS Needs to Eat Card Fees to Boost Card Usage

A new survey shows that while 63% of American adults are aware that the IRS accepts credit cards, only 1% plan to use a credit card to pay incremental Federal income taxes the next time they owe because of the convenience fees associated with the transaction. The study reveals that if the service were free, 34% of taxpayers would use it. NY-based Ipsos-Insight’s Financial Services survey of 1,000 Americans found that a significant number of taxpayers would use this service if the fees charged to them were 1% or less. Ipos says if the IRS decides they want broader usage of this payment option, they will need to find a way to pay the card companies a processing fee.

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Optimal Group Finalizes U-Scan Sale to Fujitsu Transaction Services

Despite a higher offer from NCR, Montreal-based Optimal Robotics approved the sale of the “U-Scan” business to Fujitsu Transaction Solutions. Fujitsu offered $35 million to acquire the self-checkout business of Optimal. However, NCR raised its offer to $38 million with an April 9th closing date. In February, NCR agreed to buy Optimal’s self-checkout business for $30 million. NCR indicated it will take legal action against Optimal and others related to Optimal’s solicitation of the bid from Fujitsu. NCR says it believes that Optimal’s actions to date are improper and in breach of its legal obligations.

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Multiple Application Loyalty Card Solution Launched

PA-based CardSelect International says its patented Internet-based co-branding and loyalty management solution enables issuers of mag stripe and smart cards to offer credit cards that users can customize with their favorite merchant reward programs. This new technology platform will allow consumers to select the merchant reward programs they use most often and link them either online or offline to their financial transaction card of choice. The system can be tailored for use in either magnetic stripe or smart card environments. CardSelect International was founded by former executives of a major international smart card manufacturer.

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Vendtek Deploys the First IP-Based POS Terminals

VendTek Systems has deployed what the company believes to be the first IP based POS terminals in operation in Canada selling prepaid services. The use of a high-speed Internet connection to connect with the “Now Prepay” transaction host server allows transactions to complete in less than 10 seconds. Vendtek’s wholly owned subsidiary Now Prepay Corp. has reached 3,500 “e-Fresh” POS terminal clients in Canada.
The Company announced 3,000 terminals less than two months ago. Now Prepay began selling services through POS terminals in December 2002.

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A2iA CheckReader Expands Check 21 Functionality

NY-based A2iA has expanded the functionality within its “CheckReader 3.1” to enable banks and financial institutions to verify check usability in real-time. Check 21 has accelerated the need and interest of banks to ensure that check images are usable and contain information in the required fields. The Check 21 Act establishes a Substitute Check’s or Image Replacement Document’s (IRD) legal status and X9, which is an American National Standard for substitute checks created under the Accredited Standards Committee X9 for the financial services industry. A2iA is a leading developer of technology for reading machine print and natural handwriting, including cursive handwriting from paper documents.

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NCR Raises Earnings Estimate for 2004

OH-based NCR has raised its earnings estimate for 2004 to $1.10 to $1.15 per share from the $0.85 to $0.95 range. The increased guidance is due to early indications that overall capital spending for information technology may be improving, as well as the company’s continued success in streamlining its operations and real estate portfolio. Revenue is expected to be roughly $1.27 billion to $1.29 billion, again led by strong performances in Data Warehousing and Financial Self Service. Including real estate gains of $0.04 per share, the company now expects $0.05 to $0.10 loss per share for the seasonally weak first quarter compared with a current First Call mean estimate of $0.27 loss per share. NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR) is a leading global technology company helping businesses build stronger relationships with their customers.

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