FraudBAN Launched

Thomson Financial Publishing, a unit of Thomson Corp., and the Western Payments Alliance, one of the nation’s largest regional payments organizations, launched FraudBAN, the first online, anti-fraud network for financial institutions. Addressing a problem that costs financial institutions more than $650 million a year, FraudBAN ([][1]) is a nationwide information clearinghouse that facilitates real-time data sharing among banks, thrifts and credit unions to thwart check-kiting and other kinds of white collar crime. Perpetrators of fraud frequently use similar phony identification and account information at multiple institutions. Until FraudBAN there has been no commercially available, anti-fraud service for financial institutions.

“FraudBAN’s ability to detect and prevent fraud represents one of the most significant breakthroughs in the war on check and financial fraud in the past decade,” said Glenn Gottfried, Managing Director, Thomson Financial Publishing. “FraudBAN leverages the Internet to create a nationwide clearinghouse accessible to every financial institution any time of the day or night. FraudBAN puts criminals on notice that it will be harder to commit fraud because there is now a powerful new tool to combat fraud through coordinated and immediate action among financial institutions.”

Said CEO Gerard F. Milano of the Western Payments Alliance: “Payments fraud is not the work of small-time crooks, but rather the province of sophisticated criminals who use the proceeds to finance everything from violent crime to terrorism. At a time of heightened security following the events of Sept. 11, FraudBAN strengthens the country’s financial system by enabling institutions to work cooperatively with law enforcement officials to proactively stop fraud.”

Immediate Success For FraudBAN

WesPay and Thomson Financial jointly developed the FraudBAN platform in the WesPay service area over the past two years. With limited participation and utilizing a prototype system, FraudBAN has achieved significant early success. In its initial rollout, FraudBAN identified a large check-cashing ring perpetrated at two financial institutions. The ring used legitimate consumer checks — lost, stolen or discarded check stock — and criminals impersonated bank customers. Check amounts were usually relatively small and under the review thresholds for many institutions. Four suspects were jailed in connection with the case, and the ring has ceased its activity. In addition, more than 4,300 counterfeit checks totaling $21.6 million were attempted against those institutions during that period. The pilot resulted in crime reports being filed with 29 police departments, three sheriff’s departments, and two with federal law enforcement officials. FraudBAN greatly reduces the time and effort necessary for law-enforcement and financial institutions to bring a case to prosecution.

Fraud committed in WesPay’s service area is part of a growing, nationwide problem. According to American Banker, overall fraud at financial institutions rose 32 percent from 1997 to 1999. The American Bankers Association, in its Check Fraud Survey Report in 2000, stated that more than $2.2 billion worth of check fraud was attempted against financial institutions in 1999; actual fraud losses were $679 million.

How FraudBAN Works

To participate in FraudBAN, financial institutions submit payments fraud activity into a secure online central repository. Check, wire transfer, ACH and credit card fraud activity are eligible for reporting. Direct links to payments fraud databases in larger institutions are anticipated. When fraud data is transmitted, FraudBAN searches for matches of names, addresses, account numbers and IDs used in other payments frauds.

Once a confirmed match occurs in the database, FraudBAN automatically sends an electronic alert to participating financial institutions, which then take defensive action. Joint notices to law enforcement on behalf of multiple victim institutions are also prepared. FraudBAN’s ability to aggregate information quickly allows member financial institutions to work together to build a strong case for joint prosecution with law enforcement. Only those institutions providing data to FraudBAN have the opportunity to share information provided by other financial institutions.

Previously a regional service only, FraudBAN is being rolled out by Thomson Financial Publishing to any financial institution across the country. WesPay encourages all members to participate and will automatically enroll members with less than $100 million in deposits in the service. WesPay has more than 1,000 member financial institutions.

Given FraudBAN’s success thus far and increased industry attention to fraud losses, Thomson Financial Publishing expects that more than 1,000 financial institutions will join the network in the next 12 months.

“FraudBAN is a next-generation solution that uses the Internet, as well as the cooperative spirit of financial institutions to crack down on thieves,” Gottfried said. “The greater the participation from financial institutions, the greater the value to every single bank, thrift and credit union in the country. Working together, we can significantly reduce fraud through FraudBAN.”

About WesPay

The Western Payments Alliance is one of the nation’s largest regional payment associations, with more than 1,100 members in the western U.S. and Pacific region. The Western Payments Alliance serves as a cooperative, non-profit organization enabling member financial institutions to efficiently process paper-based and electronic financial transactions. Each day, WesPay collects and clears more than five million checks totaling $7 billion in value. As a NACHA member, the Western Payments Alliance also acts as the rulemaking authority governing member transactions flowing through the Automated Clearing House (ACH). For more information, call 415/433-1230, or visit [][2].

About Thomson Financial Publishing:

Thomson Financial Publishing (TFP), a division of Thomson Financial’s Banking, Insurance & E-Commerce Group, is a leading provider of regulatory compliance solutions to financial institutions worldwide. TFP products ensure compliance with various regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Bank Secrecy Act and aid in the detection of money laundering and fraud. TFP also maintains the most authoritative and comprehensive databases of financial institutions. These databases are used to realize higher straight-through-processing rates for payments and to facilitate the repair of rejected transactions. Additionally, TFP facilitates global inter-bank communication and marketing, providing the widest array of print publication and marketing services. As official routing number registrar for the American Bankers Association, TFP issues, retires and maintains a record of all U.S. routing number assignments. For more information, visit Thomson Financial Publishing on the Internet at [][3] or call 847/676-9600. Thomson Financial’s Banking, Insurance & E-Commerce Group is a division of Thomson Financial, a US$2 billion provider of e-information and integrated work solutions to the worldwide financial community. Through the widest range of products and services in the industry, Thomson Financial helps clients in more than 70 countries make better decisions, be more productive and achieve superior results. Thomson Financial is part of The Thomson Corporation (TSE:TOC), a leading, global e-information and solutions company with annual revenues of approximately US$6 billion. The Corporation’s common shares are listed on the Toronto and London stock exchanges. For more information on Thomson Financial, visit [][4].



Norwegian Cruise Lines VISA

MBNA announced that Norwegian Cruise Line has endorsed MBNA’s credit card products and services for NCL’s customers.

Issued through MBNA America Bank, N.A., the Norwegian Cruise Line VISA will be available in late fall. Customers will enjoy no annual fee, the highest credit lines in the industry, rebates of 3% on all purchases and 4% on all purchases of NCL products, and the opportunity to redeem rebates for stateroom upgrades or “good-as-cash” cruise certificate credits with all the brands in the Star Cruises Group — NCL, Orient Lines and Star.

“We selected MBNA because of their solid reputation and outstanding track record with credit card partnerships,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. “We feel MBNA is the best structured credit card company to effectively handle NCL’s rewards program, which will better serve our customers. The rewards program on this card is the most comprehensive of any in the cruise industry, enabling cardholders to sail free on any of our three brands to more than 300 destinations spanning all seven continents.”

“MBNA is pleased to be partnering with NCL to offer credit card services to NCL’s customers,” said John R. Cochran, MBNA’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We look forward to providing Norwegian’s customers with products and services that exceed their expectations.”

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is an international cruise company and industry innovator that currently operates a fleet of nine ships sailing to more than 200 ports around the world. NCL took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Sun, in August 2001. NCL is currently building two additional ships: Norwegian Star, a 2,200-passenger ship that will be NCL’s largest (delivery in October 2001), and Norwegian Dawn, a 2,200-passenger sister ship to Norwegian Star (delivery in December 2002).

About MBNA

MBNA Corporation, a bank holding company and parent of MBNA America Bank, N.A., a national bank, has $92.6 billion in managed loans. MBNA, the largest independent credit card lender in the world, also provides retail deposit, consumer loan and insurance products.


Hooters Cards

Paymentech and Hooters of America have teamed to offer a gift card program during the upcoming holiday season. Hooters customers will be able to choose from 10 collectable cards featuring the ‘Hooters Girls’. Hooters electronic gift cards can be used at any location for all restaurant charges and will include a pre-paid amount of credit. The gift cards will be processed through the Micros interface, so Hooters can process through the same terminal used for traditional credit and debit cards. Atlanta-based Hooters of America is an operator and franchiser of over 280 Hooters locations in 41 states and twelve countries.



E*Trade Bank has signed exclusive agreements with VISA U.S.A. and VISA DPS. Under terms of the deal, E*Trade will be able to issue a single card that can be used by all its customers for access to E*Trade Bank and E*Trade Securities. E*Trade says it is developing next-generation functionality in partnership with VISA DPS to create the industry’s first card that will provide customers with consolidated ATM access. Customers using selected E*Trade ATMs will have the ability to make withdrawals, request balance inquiries and transfer funds from and between E*Trade Bank and E*Trade Securities accounts. E*Trade anticipates upgrading approximately half of its ATM network with this advanced functionality in the next twelve to eighteen months.


September Sales

Same-store retail sales climbed 90 basis point for September based on check writing data. According to First Data’s TeleCheck Services, the Southeast region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Midwest, the West, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. The index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 272,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending and remain second only to cash as the most popular method of payment.


Ruling Impact

Tuesday’s ruling by Judge Barbara Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that VISA’s and MasterCard’s exclusionary rules are anti-competitive may have little effect on the industry in both the short-term and the long-term. Both VISA and MasterCard indicated yesterday that an appeal may be forthcoming which could delay any lifting of VISA’s bylaw ‘210(e)’ and MasterCard’s ‘Competitive Programs Policy’ for two or three years. Furthermore the consolidation underway in the credit card industry may accelerate further in the face of declining profitability produced by the recession and the impending “war economy”. This will limit the number of significant players that may consider issuing an American Express or Discover card to some or all of their customers. With the recent collapse of the travel industry it is even less likely banks will seek to develop travel-related card products that could include AmEx cards. The most likely scenario is that AmEx or Discover will be acquired by a bank seeking the total branding power of a closed network in addition to offering VISA or MasterCard products.


Ruling Response

Discover said yesterday it looks forward to the “additional consumer choice that will result from the elimination of all VISA and MasterCard anti-competitive rules and practices, which have been selectively applied only to Discover and American Express but not to each other or to Citibank’s ‘Diners Club'”. Melvin Schwarz, who was lead trial counsel in the antitrust case before re-joining the Dechert law firm, says the ruling is a “significant and groundbreaking decision because the court condemns the use of market power by owners of nominally not-for-profit joint venture associations to tilt the competitive playing field against their competitors, regardless of whether those competitors are corporate, for-profit ventures or those competitors have some other means of sales distribution to consumers.” Schwarz also noted that the Court’s rejection of the Government’s effort to end dual governance was now of far less competitive concern because, as Judge Jones noted, dual governance has been virtually ended as result of steps taken by the associations since the Government’s suit was filed.


UATP Signs 3 Airlines

Universal Air Travel Plan, Inc. announced the addition of three airlines as acceptors (“Ticketors”) of the UATP corporate payment system. European Air Express, Royal Tongan Airlines and Solomon Airlines have joined the UATP acceptance network, which boasts membership of over 180 other airlines worldwide.

Michael Patzer, UATP Vice President of Marketing and Industry Affairs, said, “UATP works with airlines of all sizes and geographic locations, in an effort to relay our direct, cost-saving and relationship-building corporate payment solution to airlines worldwide.”

Universal Air Travel Plan Inc., formerly known as Air Travel Card(R), is the world’s first business travel payment system. Founded in 1936, UATP was an innovator in the charge card industry, developing such standards as the magnetic strip and lodged accounts. With annual global billings over USD 8 billion, UATP is owned and operated by each card-issuing airline and accepted by virtually every airline in the world. UATP offers the most complete data and lowest administrative cost of any charge product and is the industry’s own solution to combat rising credit card costs. Multi-national corporations, including over 70 percent of the Top 100 Global, utilize UATP to better manage travel expenses. Airlines currently issuing UATP accounts include Aer Lingus, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), Austrian Airlines, British Airways (NYSE: BAB), Continental (NYSE: CAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), Japan Airlines (Nasdaq: JAPNY), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (NYSE: KLM), Lufthansa German Airlines, QANTAS, Scandinavian Airlines System, TWA Airlines, LLC, United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) and US Airways (NYSE: U). For more information, visit [][1].



Economic Confidence

Nearly three quarters of Americans are confident that a strong economy will return next year. About 75% say they are acting on President Bush’s request to return to normal and maintain their past spending patterns, and that they view this as part of their patriotic duty. The findings come from a post-Sept 11th survey conducted by BIGresearch. With regard to the holiday shopping season, 70% of the survey respondents plan to spend about the same as last year on their holiday purchases. However, the survey did find that respondents’ recent worries about the economy and their own financial situation appear to be impacting their store choices. Roughly one-third of respondents say they have spent less money in upscale specialty stores since September 11. About one in five are shopping less at the traditional types of department stores.



Baltimore Technologies announced the appointment of Bijan Khezri as the
Company’s Chief
Executive Officer, effective immediately. Bijan replaces Paul Sanders who
served as interim CEO from July 2001.

Bijan Khezri has a thorough understanding of Baltimore Technologies and
the security industry, having joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director in
1998, and he assumed executive responsibilities for corporate strategic
development from November 1999 until May 2000 and left the Board in November
2000. Bijan rejoined the Board in July 2001 as a Non-Executive Director.

Bijan brings substantial business leadership and corporate finance
expertise through his Board level positions. Bijan acted as strategic advisor
and Board member of Jetter AG, a technology Company listed on the Frankfurt
Stock Exchange, helping to build the company into one of the world’s leading
Ethernet-based industrial automation companies, converging IT technologies
with robot automation. He was also a Director on the Board of a Silicon
Valley-based network security company, VPNet Technologies, where he
successfully devised and implemented corporate strategy. In early 2000, he
co-founded UK-based Despatchbox, a PKI-centered application vendor for secure
communications and data sharing.

Commenting on today’s CEO appointment, Peter Morgan, Chairman of Baltimore
Technologies said, “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Bijan as
Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore Technologies. His thorough knowledge of
our industry and company-specific challenges, his proven leadership and
corporate development skills, make him an exceptional choice as CEO. Bijan
enjoys the trust and support of our senior management and has the required
experience, energy, drive and foresight to lead this company.”

Bijan Khezri, Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore Technologies commented,
“Our employees, technology and installed customer base are first class. Our
challenge is to successfully combine all three. We need to focus on both our
customers’ needs and our core competencies. Usability and return on
investment to the end-user and corporate profitability will determine the path
of our authentication and authorization businesses going forward.”

Mr. Khezri continued, “Technology and services related partnerships will
be critical to allow applications to drive demand for our infrastructure
products, more effectively leverage professional services and move towards a
variable cost model.

“Our restructuring programme, announced on August 22, is under way. We
are fully committed to it. Its completion should provide the Company with the
necessary resources to take it into the next growth phase.”

The Company also announced today that Paul Sanders has resigned as Acting
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer with immediate effect.
The Company has commenced a search for a new CFO and in the meantime, Bijan
will assume Board level responsibility for finance. Paul Sanders joined
Baltimore Technologies in December 2000 to financially manage the Company
through its aggressive merger and acquisition program. Subsequent
developments caused Baltimore Technologies to switch its strategic focus away
from acquisition activity. Paul has played a central role in developing this
restructuring program and now that the Company is focused on optimising the
business he feels that the time is right to move on.

“On behalf of the Board and the Company, I would like to wish Paul Sanders
every success in the future and thank him for his contribution to the
restructuring of Baltimore Technologies,” said Peter Morgan, Chairman of
Baltimore Technologies.

Following Baltimore’s voluntary delisting from the NASDAQ market and
subsequent move to the OTC Bulletin Board, the Company will only be announcing
full financial results for the half year and year end. Today, Baltimore
Technologies announced financial highlights for Q3 2001, based on unaudited
management accounts:

* Total revenues for the period of Stg 15 million pounds sterling. Demand
for Baltimore’s security technology was underpinned by deals with
customers worldwide including Bundesamt fur Informatik und
Telekommunikation (Swiss Government), Australian Tax Office, Tradelink,
Verizon Communications and Chase Manhattan Bank.

* The cash balance as at 30 September 2001 was Stg 32.4 million pounds.


Antitrust Ruling

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York late yesterday ruled against VISA and MasterCard in the Government’s antitrust lawsuit regarding the card associations’ exclusionary rules which prohibit members from issuing American Express or Discover cards. However Judge Barbara Jones did not order the networks to change their dual governance structure. News of the decision immediately lifted AmEx stock in after hours trading Tuesday and pre-trading activity this morning. In a 157-page ruling, the judge said VISA’s bylaw ‘210(e)’ and MasterCard’s ‘Competitive Programs Policy’ weaken competition and harm consumers in a number of ways. The court ruled that debit cards were included in the prohibition of VISA and MasterCard’s exclusionary rules. However the ruling stated that including debit cards as a necessary part of the remedy does not put it in the same product market with general purpose payment cards. In discussing the dual governance issue, the judge said that with the exception of the associations’ failure to name each other directly in past advertising, the government’s examples failed to prove that dual governance has significantly diminished competition and innovation in the credit and charge card industry.



Amicus Financial, the electronic
banking division of CIBC, announced it has been awarded the opportunity
to solicit all of the Credit Card Center’s former merchant customers in
an effort to assume management of nearly 15,000 ATM terminals located
throughout the United States. Currently, Amicus Financial manages more than
8,000 ATMs in the U.S. and Canada.

“Today’s announcement about our growing remote banking network – one of
the largest in North America – is yet another milestone in our journey to grow
North America’s largest electronic bank,” said Brian Cassidy, chief executive
officer of Amicus. “Thanks to our thousands of bank machines, Amicus Financial
is offering unprecedented access and convenience to our nearly 800,000
customers across the continent.”

On Friday, Aug. 24, a federal bankruptcy court judge in Philadelphia
awarded XtraCash ATM, the ATM operating arm of Amicus Financial, the exclusive
rights to petition all of CCC’s former merchant customers with an incentive
program in an effort to convert nearly 15,000 already-installed ATMs. That a
reputable banking organization won this right is good news for merchants who
had contracted with CCC and for consumers who relied on the convenience of
these ATMs.

“Amicus Financial’s long-term ATM strategy is to create North America’s
largest and most comprehensive bank machine network,” said Eugene DeSilva,
chief officer of Amicus Financial’s Remote Banking Division. “We want to
ensure that our ATMs provide fee-free access to funds for Amicus Financial
banking customers and reliable, convenient access to cash for the public.”

Amicus Financial’s Remote Banking Division manages three distinct
businesses: an owned ATM network, which includes private label bank machines
like those of Marketplace Bank and Safeway SELECT Bank; a managed ATM network
where Amicus Financial provides other ATM network owners with servicing and
maintenance; and an independent sales operator (ISO) network, managed by
XtraCash ATM, which provides service and back office processing to individual
ATM operators such as convenience stores and gas stations. Bank machines
formerly managed by CCC would fall under this last category.

Most Amicus Financial ATMs will provide a range of services, including
cash dispensing, deposit taking, and account access and management. Future
services and features may include online banking capability, check cashing,
advertising, money transfer, and access to web-based services.

About Amicus Financial

Amicus Financial, a division of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce,
provides electronic financial services for many great brands in North America
including President’s Choice Financial, Marketplace Bank and Safeway SELECT
Bank. Through its network of more than 350 banking pavilions, contact centers
open 24/7, and more than 8,000 ATMs, Amicus Financial currently services
almost 800,000 customers and is acquiring more than 30,000 new customers each
month. Amicus Financial offers a superior customer experience by combining
self-service with a new standard of friendly, helpful, and responsive customer
service, and with better rates and no fees on day-to-day banking.