CheckFree Federated

More than 70 million Federated credit card customers can now receive and pay their bills online at their choice of more than 300 CheckFree-powered sites including banks, brokerages, credit unions and Internet portals. Under the program, Federated card customers can view their credit card bill 24 x 7, review current and outstanding account balances and access the full bill detail from their personal computer. Consumers can approve the bill and schedule the date of the payment with the specified amount deducted electronically from their designated bank, credit union or brokerage account. CheckFree i-Solutions currently has 271 billers under contract. Federated operates 450 stores across 34 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, including Bloomingdale’s, The Bon Marche, Burdines, Goldsmith’s, Lazarus, Macy’s and Rich’s, as well as macys.com, bloomingdales.com and Bloomingdale’s By Mail.

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Leapfrog CEO

Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc. announced that Randall Schrader, former Chief Operating Officer senior executive Strategic Resource Solutions, Inc. was voted unanimously as Chief Executive Officer and President, assuming the reins from co-CEO and President Dr. Les Bromwell. Schrader brings over 25 years of operational and direct marketing experience to Leapfrog, and will now take the lead in championing the firm’s sales, marketing, and operations. Co-CEO and co-founder Dale Grogan will assume the position of President of Leapfrog Healthcare Solutions.

“We are pleased to have Randall take on the CEO role at Leapfrog,” commented Dr. Bromwell, who will continue as a board member. “He is a well-qualified and professional leader.” Bill Baker, current board member added, “Our products are already adding considerable value to the company. Randall is the right person to rapidly grow our business. His business knowledge, passion for the smart card business and operational experience will serve Leapfrog well.”

Schrader joins Leapfrog after spending over 25 years in numerous senior management positions. Throughout his career, Schrader has demonstrated a unique ability to strategically focus an organization to drive sales, revenues and profitability. Most recently Schrader was President and CEO of Realistic Solutions, Inc, an energy consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia and Chicago. Previous to his CEO role at Realistic Solutions, Schrader had been President of Target Energy, Inc. as well as, President of Budson International, Ltd.

“Of all the career opportunities I was considering, I found the CEO position at Leapfrog and the related market opportunity to be the most promising and exciting challenge for me,” said Schrader. “The organization has made considerable progress in product development and early validation of the business model. Leapfrog’s unique niche as a Smart card and security software provider for Healthcare and Government entitles is a fresh approach.” Once Schrader officially assumes the role on August 25, Dr. Les Bromwell will serve as a consultant to the company.

About Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc.

Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc. is a world-class leader in Smart card software development, biometrics and system solutions integration. Located in Maitland, Florida, Leapfrog is dedicated to creating wide sweeping applications for Smart cards. Smart cards are credit card-sized pieces of plastic with a computer microprocessor embedded within. Current applications of Smart card software include personal identification, e-purse transactions, loyalty point storage, physical and logical access, as well as portable storage of medical records. Leapfrog, through its General Services Administration (GSA) master contract, is also certified as a contractor with the United States Federal government. Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc. is publicly traded on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol “FROG”.

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CashTech Gets Black

CashTech Solutions, a global provider of solutions for corporate electronic banking and cash management, with offices in India, Singapore and the United States, announced the appointment of Robert J. Black to the position of SVP and Director of Sales, continuing the company’s expansion in North and South America.

CashTech’s product suite represents the next generation of corporate Internet banking, incorporating the latest advancements in both features and technology. The system allows for extreme flexibility in both client configuration and tailorability to take advantage of market opportunities.

Prior to joining CashTech, Mr. Black was a member of Ernst & Young’s National Cash Management Practice. As a part of the Practice, Robert was primarily responsible for the development, sale, and production of their highly successfully currency forecasting software suite.

“As we continue to extend our industry leading cash management solutions throughout the western hemisphere, we needed an individual with exceptional leadership and sales skills, industry knowledge and contacts, and an unmatched desire for success. Robert possesses each of these characteristics,” said Ed Herman, CEO of the Americas for CashTech. “We anticipate that Robert will produce excellent results for his clients and our organization.

Mr. Black can be reached at robert.black@cash-tech.com or at (312) 674-4543.

About CashTech Solutions

CashTech Solutions is a global leader in providing corporate electronic banking and cash management solutions to financial institutions worldwide. Its CashIn product suite represents the first real innovation in cash management software in a decade and has been installed in more than 37 locations worldwide. Current customers include ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, BNP and HSBC. The company has offices in the United States, Singapore and India and employs more than 165 professionals worldwide. Please visit their Web site at [www.cash-tech.com][1] for additional information.

[1]: http://www.cash-tech.com

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S2 & Stratus

S2 Systems, Inc., a global provider of transaction processing, authorization and integrated solutions for the banking, financial and retail sectors, announced a global marketing agreement with Stratus Technologies, maker of the world’s most reliable server technologies, to deliver continuously available next-generation payment solutions for Microsoft Windows 2000 operating environments. This joint initiative reaffirms and extends a long-standing relationship between S2 and Stratus, leveraging Stratus’ fault-tolerant technology with S2’s mission-critical transaction processing applications for open platforms.

The newest partnered solution from S2 and Stratus enables OpeN/2(TM) to provide 24×7 availability of business-critical transaction processing systems on the ftServer in a Windows(R) environment. The combined synergy between Stratus and S2 builds upon earlier industry benchmarks achieved by each company, both separately and together as partners. For two decades, Stratus has been solely focused on providing fault-tolerant technology to meet the availability needs of mission-critical applications. And for more than 18 years, some of the world’s largest organizations have relied on S2 products to drive their high-volume transaction networks.

“Our most recent collaboration with Stratus is the next logical step in a long history of providing global financial and retail payment solutions,” said Stephen Clark, president and CEO of S2 Systems. “We expect the additional support of the Stratus ftServer family to strengthen S2’s industry position as the preferred choice for transaction processing solutions in the Windows(R) environment. By leveraging the latest S2 open systems technology with the Stratus ftServer platform’s 24×7 availability, we are also extending OpeN/2’s proven capabilities further.”

S2’s OpeN/2 provides the robust and scalable online transaction processing (OLTP) capabilities that are integral to real-time e-business. The OpeN/2 core transaction engine is built for high volume throughput and peak performance — with applications for EFT, card activity and check management. Unlike proprietary systems that are hard to maintain and even more difficult to change, OpeN/2 provides the power of object-oriented programming and industry-standard relational database drivers on UNIX(R) and Windows(R) 2000 operating systems.

“The deployment of fault-tolerant server technology for 24×7 availability in electronic transaction processing is a major competitive advantage for our customers and partners,” said Steve Kiely, president and CEO, Stratus Technologies. “The Stratus ftServer platform for Windows(R) 2000 offers simple installation and manageability at a very low cost. The combined solution of S2’s OpeN/2 distributed architecture and the ftServer system provides industry-standard reliability, with capabilities for EFT, ATM networks, POS, wireless and other emerging technologies.”

The Stratus ftServer system is built around Intel(R) processors and supports the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 2000 operating system, giving users the powerful option of a fault-tolerant family of servers at industry-standard prices. The inherent reliability of its hardware fault-tolerant design is integrated with unique software-availability features and service technology that allows the Stratus ftServer system to prevent critical system downtime and data loss.

About Stratus Technologies

Stratus Technologies offer a proven range of continuously available computer platforms, application solutions, professional services, and technologies for mission-critical business operations. Many Stratus customers are highly visible industry leaders such as prominent U.S. securities firms, major credit card companies, the largest stock exchange in Asia, the largest options exchange in the world, and 15 out of the world’s 20 largest banks. The Stratus 24-7 Technologies Division licenses technology for fault tolerance to technology companies. Stratus has offices and a comprehensive network of customer service centers worldwide, and 1,100 employees. Visit the company’s Web site at [www.stratus.com][1].

About S2 Systems

S2 Systems, Inc. is a leading global provider of e-business solutions for the banking, financial services, retail and travel & hospitality industries. For more than 18 years, some of the world’s largest organizations have relied on S2 products to drive their high-volume e-commerce transactions. Today, our leading-edge technology enables businesses worldwide to implement Web-based initiatives that improve operational efficiency, enhance customer service and generate new revenue streams. S2 Systems is headquartered in Dallas and has offices in Atlanta, London, Paris, Maarssen, Stockholm, Dubai, Riyadh, Hong Kong, Beijing, Melbourne and Sydney. For more information about S2 Systems, visit its Web site at [www.s2systems.com][2].

[1]: http://www.stratus.com
[2]: http://www.s2systems.com

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Rate Cut

Interest rate spreads for credit card portfolios will get a boost today as the Federal Reserve will most likely lower short-term interest rates by at least a quarter point. The effects of the rate cut will be enhanced due to the triggering of floor interest rates and the prevalence of fixed APR pricing on bank credit cards. Only $234 billion of the $575 billion in total U.S. credit card receivables will be re-priced due to variable rate structures. Nearly half of all credit cards in the U.S. have variable interest rates. Three years ago, about three-quarters of credit cards had variable rates. About 25% of credit cards have floor rates. Since January the Feds have cut short-term interest rates by 275 basis points which has knocked the prime rate from 9.50% to 6.75%.

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Provident Sale

Cincinnati-based The Provident Bank announced yesterday it is unloading about 80% of its bank credit card portfolio and entering into an agent bank relationship. Direct Merchants Bank signed the contract to purchase approximately 130,000 total accounts with $160 million in receivables and to offer bankcard products to Provident’s 400,000 consumer banking customers. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]), Provident had 230,000 accounts and about $200 million in outstandings at the end of the first quarter. However, only about 36% of Provident’s credit card accounts were active in 1Q/01 and 4Q/00 compared to an industry average of 56%. Direct Merchants, one the nation’s fastest growing sub-prime credit card issuers, says it expects the deal to close by September 30 and the conversion to be completed by year’s end. Metris Companies/Direct Merchants recently crossed the $10 billion mark in credit card receivables and has approximately 4.6 million accounts.

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

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CIBC 2Q/01

Toronto-based CIBC reported yesterday that credit card revenue for the third fiscal quarter ending July 31 was $266 million, up $20 million from the same quarter of 2000 primarily due to a 19% growth in average balances and lower cost of funds. The gain was partially offset by the loss of revenue from the sale of the Merchant Card Services business. Revenue was up $12 million from the prior quarter after excluding the gain. This was due to a 3% increase in average balances under administration, an 18% increase in purchase volumes, lower cost of funds and three extra days in the quarter, which more than offset the loss of ongoing revenue from the Merchant Card Services business. CIBC realized an after-tax gain of $43 million from the sale of the Merchant Card Services business to Global Payments, Inc. Global agreed to purchase CIBC’s merchant acquiring business in November and closed on the transaction in March. Under terms of a ten-year marketing alliance with CIBC, Global will offer VISA credit and debit card payment products and services to merchants in Canada.

For more information on CIBC’s 2Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]) (CF Library 3/21/01)

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

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Consumer Advisory Board

MemberWorks Incorporated, the leader in bringing value to consumers through innovative membership programs, announced that, as part of its overall campaign to focus on consumer issues, it has created a Consumer Advisory Board.

Consisting of Chairperson Patricia Royer, former Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley, Mary Heslin, Nicholas Willard, Dianne Goss and Robert Marotta, the board will help guide the company as it works to further improve marketing practices and customer service. Combined, the board members bring over a century of experience in consumer advocacy, public service and industry leadership.

“This is a consumer `dream team’ we have been fortunate enough to put together,” said Gary Johnson, president and CEO of MemberWorks. “These individuals have been at the forefront of the consumer movement for decades. Their focus and experience will provide a unique and healthy balance to MemberWorks’ marketing initiatives, taking our ongoing efforts to improve customer service to a higher level.”

The Consumer Advisory Board will work with MemberWorks’ newly created Office of Consumer Affairs to advise senior management on a host of consumer-related issues, including improving customer service and ensuring that the company’s policies are consistent with both legal and industry standards. In addition, the Consumer Advisory Board will advise the company on its implementation of its national Best Marketing Practices.

“We applaud the formation of an advisory board as a positive step toward enhancing the business-customer experience,” said Marzia Puccioni Jones, president of the Better Business Bureau of the Heartland. “The Better Business Bureau hopes the Consumer Advisory Board will assist the company in further responding to consumer-related issues and the ever-changing concerns of the marketplace.”

Chairperson Pat Royer has a rich history as a consumer advocate in both the public and private sectors, having served as the Vice President of Consumer Affairs for leading healthcare company Merck Medco and as the Director of Consumer Affairs for the State of New Jersey. Frank Kelley served as Attorney General for the State of Michigan for over 37 years. During his tenure, he developed an aggressive consumer protection program, which included the creation of the nation’s first Consumer Protection Division within an Attorney General’s office. The board’s other members have served in various leadership roles protecting consumers in the states of Ohio and Connecticut and for such organizations as the AARP.

In addition to their professional experience, the members serve in leadership positions in a variety of national, state and local consumer organizations, including the National Consumers League, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the New Jersey Consumer League, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and the National Association of Food and Drug Officials. Many additional national, state and local organizations have also recognized the members for their devotion to serving consumer interests through the years.

Recently, MemberWorks became the first company of its kind to implement a national Best Marketing Practices. The four point set of standards is aimed at ensuring that all of its customers: (1) are informed of the full terms and benefits of the programs; (2) are aware of the programs’ cancellation and payment terms; (3) understand and consent to the terms of the program before being enrolled; and (4) can receive a no-questions-asked refund for any unauthorized charges.

MemberWorks already contracts with independent research firms to determine how well consumers understand the terms of MemberWorks’ programs and its sales scripts, but will employ the expertise of its board to further ensure that its consumer outreach and written materials are as clear as possible.

“The establishment of this board clearly shows just how serious MemberWorks is about protecting and serving consumers,” said Consumer Advisory Board Chairperson Patricia Royer. “The proactive steps they have taken to improve customer service put them at the forefront of the membership services industry. We on the board are encouraged by this pioneering spirit and look forward to helping propel the company’s consumer efforts even farther ahead. And while we are confident that the Board will positively influence MemberWorks, we hope that our work will bring about change in the entire industry.”

Once they have become familiar with the operations of MemberWorks, the board’s six members will select one additional member, bringing the ultimate total to seven.

About MemberWorks

Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, MemberWorks is a leader in bringing value to consumers by designing innovative membership programs that offer services and discounts on everyday needs in healthcare, personal finance, insurance, travel, entertainment, computing, fashion, and personal security. As of June 30, 2001, 7.9 million members are enrolled in MemberWorks programs, gaining convenient access to thousands of service providers and vendors. MemberWorks is a trusted marketing partner of leading consumer-driven organizations, and offers them effective tools to enhance their market presence, to strengthen customer affinity and to generate additional revenue.

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ORSUS UNO

Orsus Solutions, a leading provider of technology that aggregates,
integrates and delivers information to web and wireless users, announced
that Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s oldest and largest banks, is using Orsus
Uno to power Israel’s first wireless financial services portal. Using Orsus
Uno, a comprehensive platform for rapidly creating and deploying web and
wireless applications, Bank Leumi is able to provide its mobile customers
with access to 22 types of financial and personal banking services,
including comprehensive information for checking, savings and foreign
currency accounts, in both Hebrew and English. Additionally, mobile
customers are able to access credit card and loan information, obtain
foreign exchange rates, receive alerts and more.

Orsus’ experience in the financial services sector brought to Bank
Leumi a domain expertise and comprehensive technology that allowed the bank
to quickly implement a wireless financial portal, benefiting its mobile and
wireless customers. Orsus’ easy-to-use graphical design interface enabled
Bank Leumi’s internal team to develop personalized applications for
customer deployment after one week of Orsus’ technical training.
“Bank Leumi is a highly valued customer. We are proud that within a
short time we succeeded in providing them with the ability to adapt to the
mobile world quickly,” said Aryeh Finegold, founder and chairman of Orsus
Solutions. “The banking sector has unique demands, and Orsus is confident
in its ability to offer quick solutions to meet these demands.”

Available to Orange and GoNext Customers

Bank Leumi wireless services are available to customers of Orange
Israel and GoNext. Prior to the launch of the newly created banking portal,
Bank Leumi customers were limited to wireless access via Orange phones
utilizing SMS technology. Now, customers of Orange and Israeli wireless
operator GoNext can benefit from wireless banking services, by simply
accessing the bank’s new wireless portal on the mobile Internet.

Orsus Uno

The Orsus Uno platform includes Uno Studio, an environment for
developing complete web and wireless applications, and Uno Server, a
scalable, standards-based deployment server for Java and Windows.
Professional and novice developers use Uno Studio’s graphical process and
interface editors to prototype applications in hours and perfect them in
days. Depending upon complexity, the accelerated deployment time assists
organizations in meeting their information needs without placing additional
strain on IT resources.

Uno Server is built on a scalable Java architecture that is based on
platform, data-access, web and wireless standards, and runs on Windows
2000, HP, Sun and Linux servers. In addition, Orsus Server runs on J2EE
appservers based on WebLogic/BEA, iPlanet, HP Bluestone, jBoss and JRun.

About Orsus

Orsus is a leading provider of business solutions that transform
enterprise and web information into task-based, personalized applications
for any device or platform. Orsus products empower businesses to
consolidate resources across an enterprise, build intuitive applications
and portals for wireless and web delivery, integrate data and services from
different web sites, and provide employees, customers and partners with
mobile access to corporate systems. Orsus Solutions is headquartered in
Silicon Valley, has a European subsidiary in London, a full-service
Asia-Pacific subsidiary in Singapore, and an R&D center in Israel. For more
information, call 650-988-9100, go to www.orsus.com, or send email to pr@orsus.com.

About Bank Leumi

Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s oldest banks, with over 90 years
experience and branches worldwide, offers its customers a full range of
banking products, securities, insurance, asset management and other
financial services. Bank Leumi worked with Orsus to build Israel’s first
wireless financial portal, bringing robust financial information services
and personal banking to the bank’s mobile customer base.

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ADS Signs Harlem

Alliance Data Systems Corp. announced Monday it has signed a five-year agreement with retailer Harlem Furniture to provide a full-service private label credit card program and implement new technology for streamlining the credit application processes.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will provide a turnkey private label credit card program that will include account acquisition and activation; receivables funding; card authorization and data capture; private label credit card issuance; payment processing; statement generation; and customer service.

Additionally, Alliance Data will provide 70-75 new POS terminals for Harlem’s 13 retail locations in Chicago and surrounding areas. The new terminals equipped with touch screen features and proprietary software designed to make the decision processing time approximately 90 percent faster than the current process. The terminals will be deployed throughout the sales floor, allowing customers greater convenience and faster access when applying for private label card accounts.

“We were impressed with Alliance Data’s capabilities not only in providing a comprehensive private label program, but in their ability to deliver innovative POS technology as well,” said Bruce Berman, president, Harlem Furniture. “Alliance Data clearly understands consumer demands and the importance of strong customer service in today’s competitive retail marketplace. As such, we’re excited about implementing their services to help drive sales, build our customer relationships and grow our private label customer base.”

“We’re looking forward to offering customized business solutions and services to Harlem,” said Ivan Szeftel, president, retail credit services, Alliance Data Systems. “Historically, Alliance Data has been a leader in providing unsurpassed customer service and developing innovative products that fit our clients’ wide-ranging needs. We’re delighted about the opportunity of working with Harlem and helping them achieve their business goals.”

About Harlem Furniture, Inc.

With more than 500 employees, Harlem Furniture, family owned and operated since 1912, services Chicago’s highly competitive furniture market by offering the value conscious consumer excellent service and selection at affordable prices. Harlem Furniture, headquartered in Lombard, Illinois, currently operates 13 stores in the metro Chicago area.

More information on Harlem Furniture is available at [www.harlemfurniture.com][1].

About Alliance Data Systems

Based in Dallas, Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services, assisting retail, petroleum, utility and financial services companies in managing the critical interactions between them and their customers. Additionally, Alliance Data operates and markets the largest coalition loyalty program in Canada. All together, each year, the company manages over 2.5 billion transactions and 72 million consumer accounts for some of North America’s most recognizable companies. Alliance Data Systems employs approximately 6,000 associates at more than 20 locations in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. For more information about the company, visit its web site, [www.alliancedatasystems.com][2].

[1]: http://www.harlemfurniture.com
[2]: http://www.alliancedatasystems.com

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BASE 24

ACI Worldwide, a leading international provider of enterprise e-payment
solutions, announces the licensing of its BASE24 e-payment processing
software to Deutsche Bank S.p.A, one of Italy’s Top 10 banks and top credit
card issuers/processors. Deutsche Bank will use BASE24 to authorize, route
and switch both ATM and POS transactions, and to meet processing
requirements for EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) smart card transactions.
The BASE24 system will be integrated with the ACI Commerce Gateway
(formerly known as e24(R)) Deutsche Bank recently licensed from ACI. Once
integrated, the ACI Commerce Gateway will format and manage the security of
credit card transactions initiated by consumers on the Internet and pass
the transactions on to BASE24 for routing and authorization. Additionally,
the BASE24 system will help Deutsche Bank meet EMV deadlines from Visa,
MasterCard and the Italian Banking Association.

“ACI’s presence in Italy, coupled with the company’s international
experience implementing e-payment systems, led us to expand our partnership
through the licensing of BASE24,” said Fabrizio Girardi, Credit Card
Division CIO of Deutsche Bank Italy. “The product is scalable and reliable,
and allows us to leverage the investment we’ve made in Internet payments
technology. The system also gives us the ability to add services to our
card processing environment, such as mobile commerce services, that will
share the same capabilities.”

“BASE24 is a powerful processing engine that can handle Deutsche
Bank’s current volume, and scale to meet future needs,” said Richard
Launder, managing director of ACI Worldwide’s Europe/Middle East/Africa
operation. “In addition, BASE24 offers Deutsche Bank the ability to
integrate additional services and technologies–from smart cards to mobile
commerce–that share the same communication links to hosts and interchange
networks, and the same always available processing capabilities.”
BASE24 is used by more than 340 ACI customers around the world to
manage devices, route and switch transactions, and provide authorization
support for high-volume payments processing. The software operates on
Compaq NonStop Himalaya systems to provide 24/7 support for ATM and POS
networks, manned teller systems, telephone banking, mobile commerce, and
Internet banking and commerce.

About ACI Worldwide

Every second of every day, consumers are initiating electronic
payment transactions–getting cash at ATMs, using debit and credit cards to
make purchases in stores and on the Internet, banking by phone and PC,
paying bills online. Twenty billion times a year, ACI software is used to
process these transactions, powering the world’s online payment systems.
ACI was founded in 1975 and pioneered the development of applications and
networking software for online transaction processing. Today more than 500
customers in 79 countries use ACI supplied software. Visit ACI Worldwide on
the Internet at www.aciworldwide.com .

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Xmas Forecast

In terms of consumer spending and credit card use, the fourth quarter could be the weakest since the recession of 1990-91. The 2001 forecast by PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts holiday retail sales will grow a mere 2.5% compared to 4.5% for 2000 and 7.5% for 1999. During 1991 retail sales increased by 2.75%. At mid-year, bank credit card charge volume grew at an annual rate of 14%. At year end 2000, U.S. charge volume increased 13.2% over the previous year. If retail sales plummet as expected, some credit card issuers may experience flat charge volume for the fourth quarter based on last year’s 4Q data.

CHARGE VOLUME
ISSUER 4Q/00 4Q/99 CHNG
MBNA $29.5b $29.0b +1.7%
FUSA $37.1b $37.5b -1.1%
DISC $22.8b $20.5b +11.2%
AMEX $59.0b $51.7b +14.1%

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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