To speed a final package to President Bush, the supporters of the ‘Bankruptcy Reform Act’ now want the House to either approve the Senate version, or make changes in it and send it back to avoid having to negotiate the differences between the two versions. Issues discussed in this negotiation are likely to be the Lloyd’s of London provision, knocked out shortly before the Senate approved the bill, which would have prevented foreign courts from collecting judgments against any American investors if the investors could demonstrate that they were victims of misrepresentations or omissions from 1975 through 1993; and the homestead exemption, which would limit the amount of home equity that debtors can keep out of the reach of creditors in bankruptcy court to $125,000. President Bush has signaled that he would sign the bankruptcy bill into law, but he is opposed to national caps on homestead exemptions. The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the bankruptcy reform bill last Thursday by a vote of 83-15. The U.S. House passed its version of the legislation on March 1. The House approved H.R.333 by a 306 – 108 vote.Details
Inc.ubator Capital Inc. announced that eCard Solutions Inc., an Inc.ubator portfolio company, completed an investment in Junum.com, a financial services technology company.
eCard received $5.1 million in convertible preferred stock in consideration for the contribution of a portfolio of $352 million of non-performing consumer loans previously purchased at a discount, described below.
In February of 2000, Inc.ubator acquired Series A Convertible Preferred Stock in eCard Solutions (f/k/a Brunswick Capital Partners) from Thesseus International Asset Fund in exchange for 2 million restricted common shares. The preferred stock held by Inc.ubator in eCard entitles Inc.ubator to convert its holdings at its option into 40 percent of eCard common shares.
The Junum preferred stock now held by eCard is convertible into no less than 5.1 million Junum common shares. As described above, Inc.ubator has a $6.1 million preferred interest in the assets of eCard, or 40 percent of the company if converted. eCard’s primary material asset is now the Junum convertible preferred stock described herein, which, if converted to common stock, would represent a significant gain based on the current trading price of Junum common shares. There are certain performance representations made in connection with the portfolio and a 24 month restriction. If certain customer acquisition targets are not met, Junum has the right to redeem substantially all of the preferred stock after 24 months, which would materially affect the economic benefit to eCard and its shareholder, Inc.ubator.
“We are pleased to have a relationship with dynamic innovators such as Junum and are excited to see them offering new credit facilities to customers in the portfolio, including a new unsecured credit card,” said Harry Weitzel, chairman of Inc.ubator. “We are equally pleased that the Junum.com range of membership services fulfills virtually all product and technology development objectives that Inc.ubator sought to accomplish with its CASA investment, as described in our past SEC filings.”
CASA is a distinct investment from eCard made by Inc.ubator. The CASA business plan generally intends to deliver niche financial services via the Internet to middle American consumers.
Inc.ubator is also seeking ways to maximize the value of this investment for its shareholders, which may include certain spin-off or other disposition of the eCard minority share holding in the near future in connection with its anticipated reorganization.
About JUNUM Inc.
JUNUM is a financial technology company engaged in Credit Management, Debt Exchange and Financial Services. Credit Management works to improve a member’s credit rating and protect their credit identity through the removal of inaccurate, outdated and unverifiable information from their credit reports. This membership service is for individuals, small business and corporations with reoccurring monthly charges. Debt Exchange offers consumers and small businesses who may have become delinquent on a debt the opportunity to regain their credit standing. Financial Services uses the company’s patent-pending Analysis Engine to match its members’ credit status with loans, leases and other credit offers from the company’s lending partners. The company has filed nine applications for patents surrounding its three main business components. More information is available through the company and its Website: [http://www.junum.com].
Ecard is a niche consumer financial services organization specializing in credit card programs, including the Balance Transfer Program used for restoring financial performance for debt portfolios. The debt portfolio which is the subject of this announcement contains 189,000 individual accounts of non-performing debt originated from GE Capital Services Inc., a member of General Electric Co. (NYSE : GE); CitiFinancial, a unit of Citigroup Inc. (NYSE : C); Bank of America (NYSE : BAC); American General Finance Group, a division of American General Corp. (NYSE : AGC); Discover Financial Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (NYSE : MWD); FirstUSA, a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE : ONE); Household Finance Corp., a unit of Household International Inc. (NYSE : HI), and the Credit Card Services division of Chase Manhattan Corp., which recently merged with J.P. Morgan Co. to form J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE : JPM). Due to the difficulty and inability of these companies to collect such non-performing credit card debt, portfolios are generally sold for a small percentage of their face value.
Inc.ubator is an Internet oriented company that invests in businesses (“Network Companies”), that use (or will use) the Internet to provide Internet-related support and access services to the novice computer user or “Newbies”, and to the small business/home office market. This segment of the population has been shown by government studies to be underutilizing the benefits of the Internet (“The Digital Divide”). The existing Network Companies, and ThemeWare intend to offer consumers and small businesses various bundled packages of services and technology which include access devices, support services, affinity discounts on non-discretionary purchases, as well as offering important financial services through Visa/MasterCard and other financing programs Inc.ubator is developing.
For a Complete Investment Profile, please contact 1-800/773-7317.
Operating rules for the ACH Network become effective today that permit companies to originate ACH debits that have been authorized by consumers over the Internet. A new ACH transaction code, ‘WEB’, specifically identifies consumer ACH debit transactions authorized over the Internet. The new rules in their entirety, as well as additional guidance from NACHA, are contained in both the ‘2001 ACH Rules’ and the ‘Corporate Edition of the 2001 ACH Rules’. Under the new rules, a company offering an ACH debit as a payment method is required to perform the following actions: implement commercially reasonable fraudulent transaction detection systems; verify the validity of routing numbers provided by consumers; establish a secure Internet session prior to the consumer key entering any banking information; and, conduct an annual audit to ensure that financial information obtained from consumers is protected by adequate levels of network and physical security as well as personnel and access controls.Details
Official Payments Corporation announced the company has launched a concentrated national consumer advertising campaign that will run between now and the April 16 tax deadline. The campaign has been designed to build consumer awareness of the company’s credit-card payment service for federal and state income taxes, which is available over the telephone and Internet. The media campaign, which is budgeted for up to $4 million, will run on national radio networks, major market metro radio stations and in national newspapers including the Wall Street Journal. New to this year’s efforts will be a series of commercials on network and cable television.
The theme of the campaign builds on the previous year’s highly successful radio and newspaper campaign and publicizes the convenience, cash management and credit card rewards attributes of the company’s service. In addition to the consumer campaign, Official Payments is also targeting accountants and tax preparation professionals in separate print executions in several accounting trade publications.
Official Payments is authorized by a contract with the Internal Revenue Service to accept Form 1040 Balance Due Payments, filing and payments with Form 4868 Extension of Time to File, and 2001 Form 1040ES Estimated Payments on the Internet at [www.officialpayments.com] or by telephone at 1-800-2PAY-TAX. The company has similar agreements with 18 state governments.
The campaign’s creative executions were developed internally at the company in consultation with Bruce S. Nelson, who serves on the Board of Directors of Official Payments. Mr. Nelson, who is a renowned brand strategy executive, is also Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE: IPG). “From a marketing perspective, Official Payments is in a highly desirable position. The company has the advantage of a concentrated selling season during tax time, which allows us to leverage an intense awareness campaign with a highly efficient budget,” said Mr. Nelson. “Another impressive advantage is that the credit card companies and the IRS are conducting unilateral marketing efforts to drive awareness of the credit card payment option. When you combine the efforts of Official Payments, the IRS and the credit card companies, it generates a truly impressive frequency and reach,” Mr. Nelson added.
In 2001, taxpayers can use the American Express(R) Card, Discover(R) Card, and MasterCard(R) to make their tax year 2000 balance due, tax year 2000 extension, and tax year 2001 estimated payments by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX or by visiting [www.officialpayments.com] on the Internet. Official Payments will charge taxpayers a convenience fee of 2.5% of their tax payment for the service. For example, a taxpayer who makes a $500 tax payment would be charged a total of $512.50; $500 for the tax payment, and a 2.5% fee, or $12.50, to cover the cost of the service.
About Official Payments Corporation
Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. The company is unequaled in market penetration and national footprint. Official Payments is the incumbent in contracts with the Internal Revenue Service, 18 state governments, and well over 700 county and municipal governments in 43 states across the United States. In 2000, Official Payments collected and processed over $925 million in federal, state, and local government payments.
Official Payments was founded in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market. The company has experienced rapid and sustained growth over the past six reported quarters in revenue, new client acquisition, and addition of incremental services to existing clients. The company’s success can be attributed to the combination of an enormous market opportunity with a highly skilled and experienced management and staff, aggressive sales and marketing, and a core competency in developing and implementing leading-edge technical systems.
Electronic Clearing House, Inc. announced that it has created a joint marketing alliance with Provident Bank to offer Consolidated Returns Services to ECHO’s customers and prospects nationwide. Consolidated Returns service is an effective method of consolidating a company’s returned checks into one bank, even if the company has multiple depository banks nationwide. This allows a company to better control their collection process by speeding the collection of returned checks through electronic re-presentment and provides significant cost savings on banking fees usually associated with NSF items.
! Another major benefit of utilizing the Consolidated Returns Services is reducing the return check process to as little as 72 hours. This gets the bad check writer into ECHO’s NCIS negative database faster and eliminates the chances that any additional checks written by the same bad check writer will be approved.
“We are pleased to work with Provident Bank in offering Consolidated Returns Services. This alliance will enhance our ability to offer merchants the most comprehensive check services in the country and also continue to strengthen our NCIS database,” stated Joel M. Barry, CEO of ECHO.
About Provident Bank. The Provident Bank is the main subsidiary of Provident Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:PFGI), a Cincinnati-based company with $13.9 billion in on-balance sheet assets and $19.6 billion in managed assets. The Provident Bank provides full-service retail and commercial banking operations regionally and nationally. Additional company information is available at [http://www.provident-bank.com].
About ECHO. Electronic Clearing House, Inc. provides debit and credit card processing, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, check re-presentment, check collection, and inventory tracking to over 58,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation.
CollectionsX, the leading online exchange for the debt collections industry, announced the addition of Gregory M. Shelton, as Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Shelton joins CollectionsX, as part of a reassignment within the CyberStarts family of companies. Mr. Shelton will provide strategic management expertise, assist with business development efforts, and oversee CollectionsX’s day to day operations.
“We are thrilled to add an individual with the stature and experience of Greg Shelton to our management team,” said Alec Smythe, CEO of CollectionsX. “Greg’s experience and knowledge of the receivables management space will greatly assist us in delivering leading debt sales and contingency placement solutions to the industry.”
Mr. Shelton has over 30 years of collections industry expertise. Prior to joining the CyberStarts family of companies, Mr. Shelton founded AMO and served as its President and CEO. In 1995, Mr. Shelton co-founded OSI, today the nation’s largest receivables management company, where he served as EVP and COO. From 1992-1995, he headed First Financial Management’s banking and retail divisions as EVP, leading the combined sales and marketing efforts. >From 1986-1992, Mr. Shelton worked with CitiBank, as VP of the U.S. Card Products Group and National Recoveries Director for Visa and MasterCard Products.
CollectionsX is the leading online B2B exchange for the debt collections industry, making it easier, faster, and more convenient for collection agencies and credit grantors to interact with each other. CollectionsX utilizes advanced, custom auction capabilities to help companies buy and sell debt portfolios more easily. The company also assists creditors in placing debt portfolios for contingency collection by leveraging proprietary information, analytics and cutting edge technology. CollectionsX is based in Atlanta and has offices in New York, Chicago and Miami. For more information, visit [http://www.CollectionsX.com].
CyberStarts is a technology holding company that focuses on opportunities in the financial services sector. Its mission is to invest in and operate technology companies in under-served markets with financial services; currently, CyberStarts focuses on collections, insurance, payments, and investments sectors. CyberStarts’ strategic investors and partners include Marsh & McLennan Capital, NCO Group, iXL, Guyton Partners, Wachovia Capital, and First Data.
Response rates to direct mail credit card solicitations continue to stagnate. Meanwhile, 5% of consumers now use the Internet to shop for a new credit card compared to 2% in 1999. The latest data from BAIGlobal shows the response rate to direct mail credit card offers have dropped to 0.60% compared to 1.6% in 1Q/99. The mail volume of credit card offers exceeded 3 billion between 3Q/99 and 3Q/00.
DIRECT MAIL CREDIT CARD OFFERS
PERIOD MAIL VOLUME RESPONSE RATES
3Q/00 888.0m 0.6%
2Q/00 991.8m 0.4%
1Q/00 629.4m 0.7%
4Q/99 510.2m 0.7%
3Q/99 710.3m 0.9%
3Q/98 811.3m 1.3%
3Q/97 748.1m 1.3%
3Q/96 562.8m 1.4%
3Q/95 662.7m 1.6%
3Q/94 550.0m 1.6%
3Q/93 380.5m 2.6%
3Q/92 223.9m 3.3%
m-millions Source: BAIGlobal, Inc.Details
Measuring traffic to Web sites is far from an exact science . . . . infact it is closer to a rough guess. DoubleClick and comScore Networks announced Friday a new, online, audience measurement product that closely matches the server logs of individual sites. The resultant data confirms that actual traffic to most Web sites is substantially higher than has been reported by other syndicated ratings services. Furthermore, privately-owned Web sites with substantial traffic are often excluded by the syndicated ratings services. The ‘netScore’ service represents a major breakthrough in accuracy of traffic measurement, by resolving two key issues that have existed in ratings services: specifically, massive sample sizes and adequate representation of all key consumer segments: at-home, at-work, at-school and International. As an example of the degree to which site traffic has been understated by current ratings services, Media Metrix reported 51.9 million unique U.S. visitors for Yahoo during December 2000, while netScore reported 81.3 million unique U.S. visitors, a 56% difference. Yahoo self-reported 181million unique worldwide visitors for December 2000, while netScore closely matched that number by reporting 177 million unique worldwide visitors for that same time period. In contrast, Media Metrix reported 89.4million unique worldwide visitors for December 2000.Details
Prologic Corporation, a leading global developer of web-enabled financial services software, announced today that it has changed its name to Fincentric Corporation. The new name, which is effective on March 15, 2001, represents a more accurate reflection of the company’s current market position and customer centric approach.
Prologic Corporation, formed in 1984, developed the world’s first PC-platform core retail system, which was marketed to small, North American credit unions. In 1999, Prologic expanded its focus and entered the large, global financial institution market sector with the introduction of the i-Wealthview(TM) enterprise wealth management software solution.
“We have demonstrated an enormous amount of success and market leadership in the last two years since launching i-Wealthview(TM),” commented Mike Cardiff, chief executive officer and president of Fincentric. “We now market our wealth management system to top-tier, global financial institutions in more than 30 countries. The name ‘Fincentric’ better reflects our current business and position in our industry.”
Fincentric is a leading developer of software solutions for the global financial services industry. Fincentric, formerly Prologic Corporation, has over 350 customers worldwide, including 7 of the 25 largest banks in the world.
Fincentric technology enables financial institutions to quickly deploy solutions for their converging financial service offerings, while also supporting capabilities for increasing profitability, customer acquisition and retention. Fincentric’s i-Wealthview(TM) enterprise wealth management solution features e-banking, e-brokerage and e-insurance. Through strategic alliances with Microsoft, Compaq Computer Corporation, and other international partners, Fincentric delivers complete, end-to-end, multi-channel wealth management solutions. The company recently announced a record increase in quarterly revenues of 259%. For more information, visit Fincentric’s home page at [http://www.fincentric.com], or call (604) 278-6470.
NCO Group, Inc. and NCO Portfolio Management, Inc. confirmed Thursday that their Baltimore collection center, where historical Creditrust documents are maintained, was the subject of a search conducted by the FBI. The search warrant related to alleged pre-bankruptcy activities of Creditrust prior to their transaction with NCO.
A representative of the Justice Department confirmed that neither NCO Group, Inc. nor NCO Portfolio Management, Inc. are in any way the subject of this investigation. The search did not cause any material disruption of activities in that office, and will have no impact on the office’s operating results.Details
Electronic Clearing House, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the company to repurchase up to 1 million shares of the corporation’s outstanding common stock for cash in open market transactions at market and as business conditions warrant. As of Dec. 31, 2000, the company had 21.8 million shares outstanding.
Joel M. Barry, ECHO’s chairman and CEO, noted that the Board approved this course of action after a review of the company’s financial position and investment alternatives. “We believe that the current valuation of our stock inadequately reflects the financial performance of our company and the performance expectation of our 2001 fiscal year and beyond,” stated Barry.
The stock repurchase is effective immediately through Sept. 15, 2001. ECHO will buy back its stock “from time to time,” depending on share price and general market conditions. ECHO’s stock price has been flat since November 2000. In May 2000, the stock rose to a 52-week high of $5.50. The 52-week low was $0.50.
Electronic Clearing House, Inc. provides debit and credit card processing, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, check re-presentment, check collection, and inventory tracking to over 58,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation.Details
Poised to tap Korea’s burgeoning consumer credit market as part of its global expansion, Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. said this week it will provide a range of products and services to one of Korea’s leading credit card issuers.
Seoul-based Samsung Card Co. Ltd., a unit of the Samsung Group, will deploy a number of Fair, Isaac decision technology solutions to help establish long-term, personalized relationships with its eight million credit card customers. The technology will also help Samsung rapidly expand its customer base in this growing market.
Korea currently has about 20 million credit card holders, and this number is expected to grow rapidly as a result of government incentives, changes in consumer spending habits of Koreans and the absence of a check payment system. Along with Fair, Isaac, Samsung is betting heavily that credit card applications and usage will expand as non-cash payment methods become more commonplace.
Tom Grudnowski, Fair, Isaac’s CEO, said recently, “We are extremely pleased that Samsung has elected to use Fair, Isaac’s technology to create really meaningful relationships with its customers in Korea. We are very aware of the special needs of emerging consumer credit markets and the importance of developing loyalty and stepped-up activity with consumers who have little familiarity with credit card use.”
Hyungseok Lee, Strategic Information Team Leader at Samsung, added, “For Samsung, our success in Korea will depend largely on our ability to create appropriate services and convenience for our customers. We chose to work with Fair, Isaac because of the company’s global reputation in helping credit grantors better understand and service their customers. Fair, Isaac enables us to effectively measure many factors about our consumers right at the beginning of our relationship. That means we are better able to tailor product offers to specific needs — an ability that is core to our long-term success.”
As part of the agreement, Samsung will utilize Fair, Isaac’s StrategyWare(R) decision engine for account origination and predictive models to create precise, customer-appropriate offers when accounts are opened. StrategyWare provides risk managers with an ability to design, test and execute complex decision strategies without relying on programming support.
This new agreement extends an already successful and long-term relationship between Samsung and Fair, Isaac, which includes the use of the TRIAD(TM) adaptive control system for customer and account management, behavior scoring models and other Fair, Isaac products.
About Fair, Isaac
Fair, Isaac and Company is a global provider of customer analytics and decision technology. Widely recognized for its 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. For more information, visit [www.fairisaac.com], email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-999-2955.