AmEx & NBA

The NBA and WNBA have extended the sponsorship relationship with American Express under a multi-year agreement signed yesterday. Under terms of the deal, AmEx will launch a new ad campaign featuring NBA and WNBA players during the 2002-03 NBA season. The new ads are part of AmEx’s recently introduced Make Life Rewarding campaign.AmEx will also continue to be the Official Credit Card of the NBA and WNBA. American Express has been an NBA partner since 1995 and a WNBA partner since its inception in 1997. The league’s combined local, national and international television coverage reached nearly 60 million fans during the past season. The renewal with American Express is the fourth partnership announcement since the end of the regular season for the NBA following The Coca-Cola Company, The LEGO Company and adidas.

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OPEN/2 ATM/POS NET

Banesco has selected S2’s OpeN/2 platform to consolidate and manage the bank’s ATM and POS network. Banesco is part of Grupo Financiero Banesco-Unibanca, the second largest financial group in Venezuela, with over 700 ATMs and more than 18,000 POS devices. One of Banesco’s financial institutions, Caja Familia, recently merged with Banco Union and is part of the planned Banesco-Unibanca merger. It has created a compelling business case for a single, scalable transaction processing and management solution in an open systems environment. The bank’s major challenge was to consolidate multiple proprietary systems to handle higher transaction volumes. S2’s OpeN/2 allows disparate platforms to be consolidated at a fraction of the cost of a proprietary upgrade, while enabling organizations to manage higher volumes of transactions with far greater speed and reliability. Currently Banesco utilizes an S2 solution for processing debit and credit transactions for its nationwide ATM/POS network, with international transactions routed to Visa and MasterCard.

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HFC CARD BONDS

HFC Bank PLC, one of the largest affinity marketers in the U.K. and the wholly owned subsidiary of Household International Inc. is set to offer GBP400 million in credit card-backed securities. The new series to be issued by Affinity 001 PLC, is HFC Bank’s second securitization of U.K.-originated credit card receivables (the first being the Opus Series 1 PLC transaction in 1997). Standard & Poor’s has assigned preliminary ratings of AAA to Class A, A to Class B, and BBB+ for Class C. Class A represents GBP 338 million.

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Morgan Money Card

Sarasota, FL-based Morgan Beaumont has launched the Morgan Money Card which offers money transfers, cash access, and POS purchases anywhere the Maestro, Cirrus, and Virtual Money Networks cards are accepted. Applicants are not required to have a bank account or social security number, or to be a citizen or resident of the United Sates. Funding the Morgan Money Card can be done as often as needed at any Western Union location or other approved Morgan site, or by mailing a cashier’s check or postal money order. Funds can also be added by using a credit or debit card at Western Union, on the Internet or by telephone.

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DROPS DOT COM

Due to the changing perception of “dot.com” companies over the last year, shareholders of Toronto-based SLMsoft.com Inc. have approved a name change to SLMsoft Inc. The Company also announced a new CFO, Khurram Qureshi, and the appointment of two new board members Eddie Law and Dr. Doobay. SLMsoft provides real-time end-to-end e-banking solutions that include Internet banking, interactive voice recognition, debit and credit card issuing, automated teller machines and point-of-sale network management, retail branch management, and e-CRM enabling technology.

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Certegy & Staples

Certegy has signed an exclusive agreement with Staples to provide a comprehensive range of check risk management and loss prevention services for retail and mail order operations nationwide. Certegy services more than 329,000 merchant retail outlets in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Staples has approximately 50,000 associates serving customers through more than 1,400 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce, and a contract business.

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Gasper President

OH-based Gasper Corporation has promoted Jeff Davison to president of the company to succeed David Gasper, who will remain chairman of the board of directors. Davison will manage the company’s day-to-day operations in cooperation with the current executive management team. He will also work with the board of directors to develop strategic plans. Davison joined Gasper Corporation in 1989. Prior to his most recent executive post, he served as Vice President of Development, software development manager, and lead software engineer.

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KOOKMIN MERGER

Seoul-based Kookmin Bank is set to become the largest credit card company in Korea as it consolidates its operation. Formed in November, Kookmin Bank is the result of a merger between Housing & Commercial Bank and Kookmin Bank. Kookmin Bank manages and owns the former H&CB card portfolio but is now set to merge its Kookmin Credit Card Co. with the H&CB portfolio. The combined portfolio would hold more than 10 million cards and total annual volume of US$100 million. The Hankook Ilbo newspaper says the card operations would hold a 24% marketshare.

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Coinstar Board

Coinstar has named Robert Sznewajs, formerly president of the Credit Card Division of Bank of America, to its board of directors. Mr. Sznewajs is president and chief executive officer of West Coast Bancorp the largest locally owned bank holding company in Oregon. His past experience includes serving as vice chairman of US Bancorp and as president of the Credit Card Division of Bank of America. He currently sits on the board of directors of West Coast Bancorp. Mr. Sznewajs previously served on the board of directors of STAR and PLUS ATM networks and VISA USA. He also served on VISA USA’s marketing and product development and international ATM committees.

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SMART CARD DRIVER

London-based Logica and Teleconomy released a report that says the UK public are more prepared to supply personal details for use in public sector smart card schemes than for corporate initiatives. And when it comes to an “all-in-one” card, half the UK population find it appealing, especially if the Government is involved. According to the survey, 55% of Brits would be happy to use a card that performed a number of functions. Most popular combinations were the merging of debit and credit cards, where 40% would be likely to use a combined card. More than one in three people would be willing to carry a combined ID card and driving license. Respondents expressed most interest in adding additional functions such as transport ticketing, ID and membership to bank cards. Healthcare details on a card would be welcomed by 68% of people, and an ID card and library card were both accepted by 66% of the UK population. Cards that would enable travel on public transport were close behind at 64%.

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