GiftCertificates Funding, the leading provider of gift certificates and related services for corporate clients and consumers, announced Wednesday that it has secured $21.7 million in private financing, which includes a $7.5 million line of credit from Imperial Bank, one of the nation’s leading providers of financial services to mid-sized companies including some of the fastest growing industries, such as technology, entertainment, manufacturing, distribution, and residential construction. The company plans to use the additional financing to support general operating expenses, including inventory financing, additional technology investments, and marketing initiatives.

“Continued financial support in today’s challenging environment clearly validates our business model and the success we’ve experienced to date,” said Michael Ahern, CEO of “The additional financing combined with the credit line from Imperial Bank enables us to pursue opportunities fundamental to our growth strategy and to achieve our business objectives – including becoming cash flow positive by the end of the year.”


Established in 1997, is the leading provider of gift certificates and related services for corporate clients and consumers. The Company’s direct sales force has worked with over 5,000 businesses in all major industries to implement gift certificates in their corporate incentive, loyalty, and promotional campaigns, primarily through the use of the SuperCertificate(TM), a flexible gift certificate that can be redeemed at for original gift certificates to hundreds of participating merchants. The Company represents more than 700 merchants, including national retailers Bloomingdale’s, Eddie Bauer(R), and Crate and Barrel; luxury retailers Neiman Marcus and Dean & DeLuca; travel-related services American Airlines(R) and Marriott Hotels; service merchants Merry Maids and Terminix; and popular restaurants T.G.I. Fridays, Red Lobster, and McCormick & Schmick’s. Merchant gift certificates and SuperCertificates can be delivered through standard or express mail. Email delivery is also available for SuperCertificates and select merchant gift certificates. For more information, visit and SuperCertificate are trademarks of, Inc.

About Imperial Bank

Imperial Bank, a Comerica Incorporated company that was founded in 1963, has been a technology banking leader for nearly a decade, and offers a wide range of financial services tailored to corporate customers, entrepreneurs and professionals. The Emerging Growth Division provides credit and financial services and products to young, growing professionally backed technology companies in the computer products, Internet services, telecommunications, life sciences and e-commerce industries. Within the Emerging Growth Division is Venture Capital Services, which is dedicated to providing venture capitalists a full range of banking services. From offices located in the U.S., Imperial’s senior level venture backing team serves all major technology centers.

Comerica Incorporated is the 19th largest bank holding company in the nation, with $50 billion in assets. Comerica acquired Imperial Bancorp, the former holding company of Imperial Bank, on January 31, 2001.


BannerDirect Gets Grogan

BannerDirect of New York, NY, is pleased to name Bill Grogan to fill the new position of National Category Director, starting immediately. BannerDirect created this position in order to continue the growth that has marked this as a watershed year for the firm and to broaden BannerDirect’s expertise in additional industries. Mr. Grogan will be reporting to Patricia Kelly, Vice President, and Director of Sales and Marketing. ‘Bill’s twenty-two years of marketing experience in the insurance products and services industry make him an excellent candidate for this new position,’ says Ms. Kelly.

Based in New York, NY and Long Island, NY, Mr. Grogan will be responsible for generating new client relationships in all categories, but with an emphasis in the insurance industry.

‘BannerDirect is always expanding its reach in order to service its clients and maintain the level of excellence for which the company has come to be known. Each member of our team works closely in partnership with each of our clients, to achieve successful, cost-efficient direct marketing strategies ‘ said Christine Fontana, President. ‘Bill will be a key player on this team.’

Bill Grogan’s prior positions include President of George Gwen Associates, Inc., a group insurance marketing firm and Vice President of Northern Intelligence, a regional insurance claim servicing organization. Married with two children, Mr. Grogan lives in Sands Point, Long Island and will be working out of the Long Island and New York offices.

BannerDirect is a full-service direct marketing agency recognized for the development and execution of direct response marketing programs for clients in the financial, entertainment, telecommunications, association, retail, and medical publishing industries. Its expertise includes comprehensive marketing strategy and planning; creative development; production management; list procurement; list processing; and, data analysis. BannerDirect is headquartered in New York City; production coordination and fulfillment are managed from BannerDirect’s Wilmington (NC) office. BannerDirect has sales offices in New York City, Milwaukee (WI), Carson City (NV), Charlotte (NC), and Long Island (NY).



WI-based Metavante Corp. has closed its deals on Atlanta-based Derivion and San Jose-based CyberBills. Both acquisitions were announced in May. Metavante said the acquisitions will round out its EPP offerings to include bill service provider and consumer service provider capabilities, document composition technology, and Internet banking capabilities. Metavante has 3,500 clients including nearly 2,500 EPP clients.


Concord Stock

Concord EFS announced this morning a public offering of 22.5 million shares at $49.50 per share. The shares offered include slightly more than 17 million shares held by selling stockholders, most of whom were the former owners of Star Systems, which was acquired by Concord in February, plus an additional 5.5 million shares being sold by Concord. Concord intends to use the net proceeds it receives from the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes. The offering was managed by Salomon Smith Barney, Goldman, Sachs, William Blair, Banc of America, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Keegan.


Hart on Actrade Board

Actrade Financial Technologies, Ltd., a leading provider of electronic payment technologies that deliver financial solutions for commercial trade, announced that Alex W. “Pete” Hart, has joined its Board of Directors. The addition of Mr. Hart increases the size of Actrade’s Board from six to seven members.

As a pioneer in the global payments industry, Mr. Hart’s distinguished career includes such prominent roles as President and Chief Executive Officer of MasterCard International (1988 to 1994), and Chief Executive Officer of the Advanta Corporation, a diversified financial services organization (1994 to 1997). He currently serves as a consultant to the industry, where he specializes in payment services and consumer finance with a focus on emerging technologies.

“One of my recent interests is the potential for electronic payment technologies to facilitate commercial transactions beyond that of commercial credit cards — specifically, for large dollar transactions — which represent a significant market opportunity,” said Mr. Hart. “Actrade has a distinct and proven business based on the success of their E-TAD Payment Solution and its supporting electronic payment technology, which is specialized for conducting large dollar commercial transactions. I am excited about the opportunity to serve as a Director on Actrade’s Board, and to be a part of Actrade’s vision for establishing their E-TAD Payment Solution as the standard for commercial trade.”

Prior to joining MasterCard International, Mr. Hart spent ten years at First Interstate Bancorp, the 17-state multibank holding company that is now part of Wells Fargo; initially as President and Chief Executive Officer of First Interstate Services Company, the system-wide technology and operations subsidiary, and then as Executive Vice President of the parent, where he was responsible for consumer banking and operations.

Mr. Hart currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of several prominent companies, including Global Payments Inc., HNC Software, Sanchez Computer Associates and Silicon Valley Bancshares.

“With Pete’s extensive background in the global payments industry, he brings the type of industry knowledge and insight that will be invaluable to us as we continue to expand distribution of our E-TAD Payment Solution,” commented Alexander C. Stonkus, President and Chief Executive Officer of Actrade Financial Technologies, Ltd. “Pete is an industry visionary and he is highly regarded in the banking, financial services and payments industry. And what is most important to us is that he understands the current and future capabilities of our E-TAD Payment Solution and its ability to capitalize on the vast market opportunity for conducting large dollar commercial transactions. We are honored to have representation on our Board of Directors by an individual with the industry background and professional caliber of Mr. Pete Hart.”

About Actrade

Actrade Financial Technologies, Ltd. (Nasdaq: ACRT) ([][1]), is a leading provider of electronic payment technologies that deliver financial solutions for commercial trade. Administered by the company’s subsidiary, Actrade Capital, Inc., the company’s leading product is the Electronic Trade Acceptance Draft (E-TAD(TM)) Program. E-TAD is an irrevocable and negotiable electronic payment obligation, issued by a buyer for a specific sum, to be paid on a definitive date through automatic debiting of a buyer’s designated bank account. E-TAD technology provides online credit, payment, settlement and integration solutions. Through E-TAD, buyers can pay for purchases with terms up to six months while suppliers receive immediate payment. E-TAD facilitates commercial trade by providing a secure, streamlined payment solution for both offline and online purchases. Actrade Capital, Inc. has offices in the U.S. and Canada, through its subsidiary Actrade Capital Canada, Inc.

The company’s International Merchandise Trade division represents various U.S. and foreign manufacturers by buying and re-selling their products in international markets through the application of specialized trade finance techniques.



Latin America 2000

MasterCard outpaced VISA in Latin American card growth last year but VISA continues to dominate the region with a market share of nearly 85%. According to data released today by The RAM Report, gross purchase and cash volume in Latin America increased more than 27% during 2000 while total transactions increased nearly 26%. MasterCard added four million new cardholders last year to bring its total Latin America cards to 29.6 million. VISA holds an overwhelming lead in merchant acceptance locations by nearly a two to one ratio. Among the fastest growing Latin America countries with at least US$1 billion in volume: Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica.

Gross $US Volume: $151.6b (+28.6%) $27.5b (+21.1%) $179.1b (+27.4%)
Total Transactions: 2.2b (+29.4%) 532.3m (+18.6%) 2.7b (+25.6%)
Cards-in-Force: 110.5m (+10.2%) 29.6m (+15.6%) 140.1m (+11.2%)
Merchant Locations: 1.8m 1.1m NM
Source: The RAM Report (


NPC Signs Brinker

National Processing Company a leading provider of merchant credit card processing and a wholly owned subsidiary of National Processing, Inc. announced the signing of a multi-year credit card processing agreement with Brinker International. Under the terms of the agreement, NPC will provide merchant processing solutions for all Brinker International Visa and MasterCard transactions.

Brinker International, the world’s premier multi-concept casual dining restaurant company, operates over 1,100 locations in 47 states and 20 countries. NPC will provide Brinker front-end authorization and settlement services to all its locations.

“NPC is delighted to have Brinker International back in our processing portfolio,” said Drew Soinski, senior vice president of Travel and Entertainment for NPC. “Since losing the Brinker account, NPC has made a substantial investment in developing products and services specifically for the restaurant industry. We are honored to have earned their business back.”

“NPC is delighted to be processing again for such a premier company as Brinker International,” said Mark Pyke, executive vice president of Merchant Services for NPC. “Our commitment to the restaurant industry, and understanding its needs and future trends has allowed us to deliver the most cost-effective solutions. Like NPC, Brinker’s growth and success is due to their commitment to quality and service, and continuing to provide innovative products for their customers.”

“We are pleased to be partner again with NPC,” said Chuck Sonsteby, chief financial officer for Brinker International. “NPC’s national presence fits well with our growth strategies — allowing us to focus on our customers.”

About Brinker International

Brinker International is the world’s premier multi-concept casual dining restaurant company. Brinker operates over 1,100 units in 47 states and 20 countries under the names: Chili’s Grill & Bar, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Corner Bakery Cafe, Big Bowl, Cozymel’s Coastal Mexican Grill, and EatZi’s Market & Bakery.

About National Processing, Inc.

National Processing, Inc. through its wholly owned operating subsidiary, National Processing Company (NPC(R)) is a leading provider of merchant credit card processing. National Processing is 87 percent owned by National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC) ( ), a Cleveland based $91 billion financial holding company. NPC supports over 500,000 merchant locations, representing nearly one out of every five Visa(R) and MasterCard(R) transactions processed nationally. NPC’s card processing solutions offer superior levels of service and performance and assist merchants in lowering their total cost of card acceptance through our world-class people, technology and service. Additional information regarding National Processing can be obtained at .


AmEx Starwood

American Express and Starwood Hotels & Resorts unveiled a new co-branded credit card yesterday. The ‘Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express’ will integrate Starwood’s current rewards program with new incentives and a general purpose credit card. Cardholders will earn one ‘Starpoint’ for every eligible dollar charged for purchases plus two additional ‘Starpoints’ for every eligible dollar charged at participating Starwood hotels. Starwood ‘Preferred Guest Gold’ and ‘Platinum’ members earn three ‘Starpoints’ per eligible dollar spent. Other card benefits include bonus points during the first year for charging Starwood stays on the card, an annual 50% off coupon, and complimentary membership in ‘Preferred Plus’, a new level of the ‘Starwood Preferred Guest’, offering complimentary upgrades, late checkout, and free newspapers. Points are redeemed for free Starwood nights or can be transferred into 29 different airline program at a 1:1 ratio. The card offers a six-month 2.9% intro APR on purchases followed by a prime +9.99% interest rate. The card also carries a $30 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. The card has a 20 day grace period and offers credit lines up to $100,000. Starwood Hotels include: The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points and W Hotels.



Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. announced that
Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company, Limited has implemented its
StrategyWare decision engine for new account origination to boost
the volume and profitability of its portfolio. Japan’s leading credit
card issuer will use StrategyWare to streamline and automate its
account origination operations and greatly enhance its risk management
decisions to meet changing marketplace demands.

“Until recently, Japanese financial institutions have primarily
invested in their technology infrastructures, and have not focused as
much on risk management issues,” said Andrew Jennings, Vice President
of International Markets for Fair, Isaac. “Using StrategyWare to
implement targeted risk management solutions will help Sumitomo Mitsui
boost the profitability of their portfolio.”

There are approximately 205 million consumer credit cards issued in
Japan, compared with
nearly 1.4 billion issued in the U.S. Over the last decade it has been
very difficult for issuers in Japan to grow their portfolios–not only
because of the country’s economic problems, but also because of
Japanese consumers’ preference to use cash, or to pay off monthly

StrategyWare is a comprehensive and flexible decision strategy
management system that gives business users a sophisticated ability to
design, test and execute complex decision strategies, without relying
on programming support. It processes decision requests by applying
user defined decision strategies and generates decision responses
including decisions and actions. These can be used by systems such as
the client’s credit application processing system to speed responses
to an applicant, match products to applicants more effectively and
control risk.

About Fair, Isaac

Fair, Isaac ( is a global provider of customer
analytics and decision technology. Widely recognized for our
pioneering work in credit scoring, Fair, Isaac revolutionized the way
lending decisions are made. Today the company helps clients in
multiple industries increase the value of customer relationships.
Fair, Isaac has made the Forbes list of the top 200 U.S. small
companies eight times in the last nine years. Headquartered in San
Rafael, California, Fair, Isaac reported revenues of $298 million in
fiscal 2000.


Monogram Late Fees

The U.S. Supreme Court this week refused to consider an appeal by GE in regard to the state bank status of GE’s Monogram Credit Card Bank of Georgia. The appeal centered on a federal trial judge’s ruling that Monogram is not a state bank as defined by the ‘Federal Deposit Insurance Act’. The ruling in crucial in determining if Monogram is allowed to export credit card pricing to residents of other states without regard to local laws limiting such fees. This week’s decision is seen as victory in a class action suit filed on behalf of a Louisiana resident. In 1995, Patricia Heaton used a ‘Campo’ credit card issued by Monogram and was subjected to annual interest rate of 21.84% and an $18 annual fee. After accumulating $297 in late fees, Heaton filed suit claiming the APR and late fees violated Louisiana law.


TradeCard Signs Playthings

TradeCard, a financial supply chain service provider, announced that International Playthings, the New Jersey-based toy company, has selected TradeCard to replace letters of credit for their trade transactions with overseas vendors.

International Playthings believes the move will yield both process efficiencies and cost savings. Chief Financial Officer Michael Varda said: “In Asia alone, we have 18 vendors who send us hundreds of shipments of toys annually using letters of credit a cumbersome process which often involves frustrating and costly paper chases. But TradeCard gives us the tools we need to streamline and take control of our transactions. We can see every step of a transaction through the TradeCard system, and as a result both manage our working capital better and rein in transaction costs.”

TradeCard offers a single platform which hosts a suite of financial services that enable virtually any type of domestic or cross-border trade transaction to be initiated, tracked and settled in an automated, collaborative environment. Employing these services can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. According to a recent Cap Gemini Ernst & Young benchmarking study of 150 large companies, companies that automate the financial supply chain with TradeCard could save up to 50 to 100 basis points in process costs, which include labor and fees related to purchasing, invoicing, accounts receivables, accounts payables, risk management, and treasury management.

Kurt Cavano, TradeCard Chairman and CEO, said: “We’re delighted to have International Playthings as a customer. TradeCard allows them to focus on their core business instead of getting bogged down in the costly and complex paper process.”

International Playthings has been singled out for over thirty industry awards in the last year alone including the Oppenheim Toy Portfoloio Award and the American Specialty Toy Retailing Award. Their Tomy, Calico Critters and Earlyears brands, among many others, are carried in specialty toy stores throughout the United States.

TradeCard, which has been processing transactions since 1999, launched commercially in April, 2000. Since then, the company has expanded its offerings beyond its signature product, which enables credit-assured cross border trade transactions. Now, through a single platform that hosts a suite of financial services, TradeCard enables virtually any type of domestic or cross-border trade transaction. TradeCard’s platform infrastructure combined with a powerful transaction network and product features comprise a complete financial supply chain offering. A financial supply chain platform can help buyers and sellers better manage their accounts payables and receivables processes by providing more accurate information and visibility into their transactions while automating many of the labor-intensive aspects of payables and receivables management.



Nationwide, the world’s largest building
society, will be the first UK financial services provider to install NCR
Corporation’s advanced cash and check deposit technology using
NCR’s Personas 70 ATM coupled with a Personas 72

Under a multi-million pound agreement, the machines will be rolled out
across 80 Nationwide branches and branded as Nationwide Fast Cash & Cheque.
The agreement also covers professional services, software development, project
management and ongoing maintenance from NCR.

Fast Cash & Cheque performs all the usual ATM functions, such as
dispensing cash and balance information, via a touch-operated color screen.
In addition, Nationwide’s members can

* Deposit up to 30 banknotes, which are immediately credited to the
account and available for withdrawal;

* Deposit checks, for which a receipt incorporating a scanned image of the
check is provided;

* Obtain a building society check.

Eighty percent of those visiting a bank or building society branch do so
to carry out one or more of the above transactions. Unusually, holders of
passbook accounts*, as well card-based ones, can use Fast Cash & Cheque.

Robin Bailey, Nationwide’s branch network director, said, “Adding self-
service options such as Fast Cash & Cheque gives our members greater choice in
the way they carry out everyday transactions with us. It also means our
employees have more time to give the friendly help and advice that our members
expect from Nationwide. Many of the large banks are closing branches. Our
strategy is different. Self-service devices such as Fast Cash & Cheque help
ensure our branches remain economically viable by driving higher volumes of
business through them.”

Andy Morss, NCR’s Financial Solutions Division vice president for Northern
Europe, said, “NCR’s ground-breaking technology is like a branch in the box.
It is easy to use and frees branch staff to deal with customers’ more complex
needs. We worked closely with Nationwide to meet the specifications designed
for their members. Nationwide has once again shown it is a world leader in
adopting technology that improves customer service.”

* Passbook holders need to register their account first and obtain a PIN
number. Card-based accounts can use it immediately.

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship
Technology(TM) solutions to customers worldwide in the retail, financial,
communications, travel and transportation, and insurance markets. NCR’s
Relationship Technology solutions include privacy-enabled Teradata(R)
warehouses and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, store
automation and automated teller machines (ATMs). The company’s business
solutions are built on the foundation of its long-established industry
knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer
support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and
leading edge hardware technology. NCR employs 33,200 in more than 100
countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. More
information about NCR and its solutions may be found at http// .