CardWorks – plaNet

plaNet Consulting and Cardholder Management Services, a CardWorks subsidiary, have formed an alliance to provide bill presentment and payment to CMS client banks and their cardholders via the Internet. Under the terms of the arrangement, plaNet will provide the ability for CMS clients and their cardholders to access credit card statements and related transaction data electronically via the Internet and standard Internet browsers. plaNet will lease its ‘Intelligent Commerce’ products to CMS. The agreement calls for plaNet to develop, install and host the software at its data center in Omaha, NE, on behalf of CMS. CardWorks was formed in 1999 as a holding company to capitalize on opportunities in the non-prime credit card business and is now the largest privately held servicer of MasterCard and VISA cards, providing third-party customer service, collections, risk management and portfolio management for more than 1.5 million credit card accounts for approximately 50 financial institutions.

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New NCR Position

NCR Corporation named William (Bill) J. Amelio to the newly created position of executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Retail and Financial Group, reporting to NCR chairman and CEO Lars Nyberg. Amelio will be responsible for driving the performance of four of NCR’s five businesses — Retail Solutions, Financial Solutions, Worldwide Customer Services and Systemedia — and will focus on strengthening the company’s leadership in store automation, automated teller machines, service delivery, and consumable and media products.

NCR’s fifth business — Teradata Solutions, the global leader in data warehouses over one Terabyte in size — will continue to be led by Mark Hurd, reporting to NCR chairman and CEO Lars Nyberg. Hurd is promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Teradata Division.

“With two very strong leaders focused on the distinct operational needs of our different businesses, we will enhance our ability to execute better and faster, and to capitalize on our strengths as a solutions provider,” said Lars Nyberg, chairman and CEO of NCR. “By grouping together those businesses with similar operational requirements, while allowing the data warehousing business to focus on its needs, we are refining our model to enhance the ability of all NCR businesses to win in the marketplace.”

To illustrate the different needs of those businesses in NCR’s Retail and Financial Group versus the Teradata Division, Nyberg added, “When ATMs were first introduced, it was a race for market leadership. We have done very well in that regard, but as the market matures the race for our Financial Solutions business changes to one of productivity efficiency and service leadership. This also is true for our Retail Solutions, Worldwide Customer Services and Systemedia businesses. However, the race for NCR in data warehousing is one of market penetration and awareness, which requires a different set of operating principles.”

Amelio joins NCR from Honeywell, where he was president and CEO of the Transportation and Power Systems Divisions with revenues of over $2 billion. Preceding this, he had responsibility for the Turbocharging Systems business at AlliedSignal, prior to its merger with Honeywell. Amelio was responsible for developing and implementing the strategy that turned this business into one of the company’s fastest growing and most profitable businesses.

His career also includes 18 years with IBM in a variety of progressively senior engineering and technical leadership roles, including responsibility for worldwide engineering and manufacturing operations for IBM’s personal computer business. Amelio holds a M.S. in management from Stanford University, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Lehigh University. He also holds eight U.S. patents for various technology innovations.

“Bill has proven ability developing and executing new strategies that change the dynamics of a market, and will be a strong addition to NCR’s senior management team. I’m confident his business leadership, experience and personal drive will help move NCR to the next level,” said Nyberg.

Hurd joined NCR in 1980 and has held increasingly responsible management positions in professional services and marketing. Prior to assuming leadership of NCR’s data warehousing business in 1999, he was vice president of worldwide marketing and Americas region sales for the National Accounts Solutions Group, which focused on data warehousing solutions for all industries except retail and financial.

“Mark has been a leading force in driving all measures of growth in data warehousing at NCR, a business we expect to deliver revenue growth of 25 percent this year,” said Nyberg.

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a US$6.2 billion 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 32,000 in 130 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://www.ncr.com][1].

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

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Sybase Wireless Banking

Sybase and Ericsson officially announced a global partnership to develop and deliver the mobile banking solutions. Sybase plans to establish a test center in Sweden, with twenty employees, for joint development of m-business applications powered by Sybase’s ‘iAnywhere Wireless Server’ targeting Ericsson ‘Epoc’-based mobile phones. Ericsson and Sybase plan to co-develop and deliver mobile banking and trading applications based on WAP. The software developed is expected to hit the market one year from now. Both firms declined to reveal their investments in the joint venture.

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Zale Sale

Specialty jewelry retailer Zale Corp. confirmed this morning it has sold its private label credit card portfolio to Associates First Capital. Under the terms of the agreement, Associates will acquire Zale’s portfolio of approximately $620 million in credit card receivables and nearly 840,000 active accounts. The Associates will also assume responsibility for all operations, including the credit card servicing facilities in San Marcos, TX; Clearwater, FL; Tempe, AZ; and San Juan, PR. Zale and The Associates have also entered into a ten-year agreement for Zale’s ongoing credit card business. Associates Commerce Solutions will manage the private label portfolio, including customer service, billing and other functions. Zale operates 1,360 specialty retail jewelry stores throughout the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico. The deal is expected to close at the end of this month.

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Greenland – ACS Sign

Greenland Corporation announced that it has signed systems development and work agreements with ACS’ Retail Solutions division to provide Greenland’s proprietary back office check cashing software and processing capabilities for over 200 ACS retail customer sites to be installed beginning later this year. Having earlier announced an ACS hardware distribution agreement with Greenland, these agreements are the next step towards providing the most economical and user friendly self-service check cashing solution available in this exciting emerging market today. Long-term, joint work contracts are currently under final negotiations and are expected to be complete by mid-July. Upon consummation of the final contracts, retail locations, hardware identification, team members and customer identifications will be announced.

In support of ACS customer initiatives, Greenland has been developing unique thin-client Java software that will connect approximately 200 check cashing stores with Greenland’s Oceanside, California support center and with ACS Retail Solutions Technical Assistance Center [A-TAC(TM)] in Dallas, Texas. Greenland will be providing its state-of-the-art communication technology and check cashing service center technology to transport and process in real time all check cashing transactions.

In addition, Greenland is providing its call center technologies to virtually duplicate the Greenland Oceanside processing center in the A-TAC facility in Dallas, Texas. Using the latest Cisco Systems intelligent routing capabilities, ACS will become Greenland’s mirror processor providing call center load balancing, help desk support services and, eventually full disaster recovery in case of business interruption at the Oceanside facility. Plus, as the number of customer transactions grow from both Greenland supplied machines and/or other check cashing services clients, Greenland will use ACS’ call center expertise and capabilities to process an increasing number of transactions through the A-TAC facility.

Dr. Louis T. Montulli, Chairman and CEO of Greenland Corporation stated, “The fact that ACS chose Greenland’s proprietary state-of-the-art technology to accomplish this major check cashing services introduction is the most important single event in the history of Greenland Corporation. The selection of Greenland acknowledges the significant accomplishments made by Greenland to bring the best that Internet technology has to offer to the emerging self-service financial transactions market. The Greenland solution has been identified as the best in the industry and we are extremely pleased to join with ACS Retail Solutions as a part of this exciting new program. We look forward to providing the best check cashing services possible to the customers using these 200-plus self-service locations.”

Mr. T. A. “Kip” Hyde, Jr., Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ACS Retail Solutions stated, “After a thorough search for the best-of-breed in self-service check cashing technology, and after two months of intense teamwork, we are exceptionally pleased to have Greenland as a check cashing services partner. By adding ACS’ core competencies in help desk and customer support to Greenland’s outstanding web-based technologies, we are creating a check cashing services provider second-to-none. We look forward to the launch of the first locations this fall and to a long and successful relationship with Greenland.”

About Greenland Corporation

Greenland Corporation is a developer and manufacturer of automated payroll check-cashing machines with full ATM functionality, phone card sales, money order dispensing and payday advance services. The Company’s automated financial services machines are being developed to provide dispensing of travelers checks, wire transfers, bill paying and electronic benefit transfers in addition to cashing payroll and government checks. The company’s common stock trades on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol “GLCP”. Visit Greenland Corporation on the Internet at [http://www.greenlandcorp.com][1].

About Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.

ACS is a Fortune 1000 company providing technology solutions to commercial and government clients worldwide. The company delivers e-solutions; consulting and systems integration services; and complete technology and business process outsourcing solutions to a diverse base of clients and industries. ACS solutions are designed to promote value and enhance business performance and are delivered by more than 17,000 people in 20 countries. The company’s Class A common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ACS”. ACS makes technology work for out clients. Visit ACS on the Internet at [http://www.acs-inc.com][2].

[1]: http://www.greenlandcorp.com/
[2]: http://www.acs-inc.com/

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Diebold’s Tyler Promoted

Diebold, Incorporated announced that John H. Tyler has been promoted to vice president, Western division, for the company’s North American Sales and Service organization. He is responsible leading the sales, service and administration organization in the Western division. As a corporate officer, he reports directly to David Bucci, Diebold’s senior vice president of NASS.

Tyler has held numerous sales, headquarters and management positions within Diebold. Most recently, Tyler was vice president of NASS sales operation and support. Prior to this position, he was an enterprise sales director for Compaq Computer Corporation in Houston. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacagdoches, Texas. A Houston native, Tyler currently resides in Spring, Texas.

Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, Diebold employs more than 10,000 associates with representation in more than 75 countries worldwide and headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of $1.3 billion in 1999 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.diebold.com][1] .

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

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B2B Report

Electronic commerce, particularly electronic procurement, is undergoing explosive growth. For financial institutions looking to stem the flow of disintermediation of financial services to non-financial sectors, this burst of e-commerce brings many opportunities – opportunities they must seize to reprise their traditional roles of providing trust and security for trading partners and in payment services. Meridien Research looks at what banks must do to win the e-procurement battle in its latest report, “B-to-B: Where’s the Payment?”

“Offering Internet-based services no longer means banks have to `go it alone’ with expensive, time-consuming in-house solutions,” said David Potterton, research director at Meridien Research. “Security solutions and new payment options are available from technology companies, software vendors, and integrators who are working together to nurture e-commerce development.”

A key part of the solution is that financial institutions must guarantee the identity, integrity, confidentiality and non-repudiation of data, transactions and individuals. While the report observes that security has not been fully or adequately integrated into the business-to-business process, it also points to sound security solutions that are commercially viable and available.

Another critical issue is that truly successful Internet procurement efforts demand that the entire process must be automated. Too often, time and money saved at the beginning of the process are offset by manual and traditional processes at the back end with payment, settlement, and reconcilement with back-office systems.

Banks can take advantage of the current marketplace. While the Internet has accelerated the pace towards automated procurement solutions by allowing the benefits, time and cost savings of online solutions, the plethora of options and security concerns has left many companies confused. Now is the time for the financial services industry to step in and re-establish its dominance in the value-added domain of payment and financial services.

“Financial institutions are best suited to bring value-added services such as identity verification, credit authorization, and financial services for business-to-business commerce, including e-procurement,” said Elizabeth Achorn, Meridien Research senior e-payment analyst. “Banks must take the lead in trust services as well as in expanding payment services to allow the settlement of all trade transactions, as well as foreign exchange and cross-border transactions.”

Highlighted in this report are case studies of Chase (New York) and Intelysis; Deutsche Bank (Germany) and SAP; and Wachovia Bank (North Carolina) and Clarus Corpration.

About Meridien Research

Meridien Research of Newton, MA provides analytical research services to users and providers of financial technology. Meridien Research targets three technology areas of strategic importance to financial services firms: eFinancial Services, Trading & Risk Management and Customer Management. Each practice delivers quarterly reports and monthly briefs, detailing new issues and challenges. Visit [www.meridien-research.com/press][1] to register for announcements as new research becomes available.

[1]: http://www.meridien-research.com/press

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Holiday Volume

VISA reported Friday that its U.S. cardholders spent about $1 billion on travel-related products and services over the July 4th holiday weekend. VISA says this represents a 10% increase over last year. For the study, VISA compiled a list of 15 merchant categories as a proxy for travel-related spending. The analysis was the first time that VISA has monitored such spending. Among the findings was that gasoline consumption, on a dollar volume basis, rose significantly, reflecting the rise in gas prices. VISA spending at automated gas pumps nationwide rose 48% to $20.7 million, versus $13.9 million last year. There was also a surge in spending at tourist attractions across the country, as U.S. consumers spent some $8.2 million dollars, increasing 72% over spending in 1999. VISA dollar volume at campsites jumped 14% to $6.4 million, versus $5.6 million last year. Amusement parks across the country saw a lot of traffic, with $16.3 million in VISA dollar volume, up 34% from last year. Public golf courses experienced a 28% increase as golfers spent $25 million on their VISA cards. Fast-food restaurants showed steady growth with an increase of 13%. Surprisingly, car rentals were down this year compared to the same 4-day holiday weekend last year. VISA cardholders in the U.S. spent $100.7 million this year, down 17% from last year.

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McWhinney Promoted

Engage, Inc., the leading provider of next generation online marketing solutions and a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, Inc., announced the promotion of Deborah McWhinney to the newly created position of Group President of Media.

Currently, McWhinney holds the position of President of I/PRO, a division of Engage.

The new Group Media organization represents the centralization of Engage’s media businesses for the purposes of leveraging Engage employees, products, and abilities to accelerate profitability goals and execute on customer commitments. McWhinney will be responsible for overseeing the operations of Engage Media, and Engage AdKnowledge. McWhinney will also continue to run the Engage I/PRO organization.

Formerly the executive vice president of Business Planning and Strategy of Visa International, McWhinney is a seasoned executive with broad business expertise and the ability to create effective and efficient operating environments. She has also worked with Bank of America where she served as head of BankAmerica Corporation’s Consumer Electronic Banking Division. McWhinney has a degree in communications and business from the University of Montana where she serves on the Foundations’ Board of Trustees.

In addition to McWhinney’s promotion, Engage has also named Engage Chief Operating Officer David Fish to the position of Executive Vice President of Corporate Development. In his new role, Fish will be responsible for identifying and driving significant new waves of opportunity that are critical to the ongoing growth and profitability of Engage. Engage’s Corporate Development organization will benefit from both Fish’s strategic expertise as well as his depth of experience in general management, development, finance, and entrepreneurship.

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E-Banking

MA-based TowerGroup released a consumer e-banking report this morning that projects that by 2003, 12 million U.S. households will be utilizing EBPP. TowerGroup projects that by 2010, 40% of all bills will be presented to consumers and businesses via the Internet. This equals more than 11 billion bills-a dramatic increase from the 10 million sent online in 1999. The research firm also believes that the number of U.S. banks offering Internet-based services will double over the next two years. Tower projects spending by U.S. banks on Internet technology will grow to over $2 billion within the next five years or at a compound annual growth rate of 31%.

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IT Talent Shortage

Employment figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that at 4.0 percent, national unemployment rates continue near their lowest level in more than three decades.

According to industry surveys, banks list low unemployment as the chief reason for difficulty attracting and retaining employees — a problem that has significantly increased in the past year. Over 60 percent of banks with assets over $200 million report difficulty in attracting workers and nearly 43 percent report difficulty retaining employees (Community Bank Competitiveness Survey). Banks initiating and expanding Internet services and e-commerce strategies have the added problem of competing for highly skilled IT labor, where there is expected to be a shortfall of almost 850,000 workers this year alone, according to a report issued by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). In 2001, it gets worse, when another 1.6 million IT workers will be in demand.

On-Line Banking to Soar

Already well-established in Europe, online banking is rapidly becoming a standard offering in the U.S. By 2002, 15 million households, or 12 percent of the market, will use online banking services, and banks are gearing up for the challenge (Tower Group). With customer retention in mind, the number of banks offering online services by 2003 is expected to increase 1,278 percent, or 13 times as many as in 1998. To effectively handle this boom, banks need highly-trained IT professionals to make the transition easy for both institutions and customers.

“Banks large and small are already hard hit by the labor shortage,” said Doug Merritt, CEO of Icarian, Inc., the leading provider of Workforce Management software solutions. “Now they must adapt to changes in their market brought about by the Internet — and compete for scarce IT professionals with many other industries. In my view, banks who are leading the way in offering online services are also those most open to changing their hiring and retention practices to suit the information age.”

Putting A Premium on Employee Recruiting and Retention

Institutions and companies willing to update hiring and retention practices to optimize on Internet efficiencies can net substantial competitive advantages. Using a shared, Internet-based workforce solution, companies can decentralize the hiring process and establish a company-wide collaborative process, thereby reducing the time it takes to hire overall and including line managers in hiring decisions. The same system can also help companies promote from within and maximize internal resources more effectively through online profiles that track employees’ interests, skills and promotion history.

To support major initiatives like these, and to stay ahead of competitors generally, banks seek talented IT professionals to complement their existing workforces. While banks are generally opting for outsourced solutions, to integrate new services they are bolstering in-house IT resources by adding more computer programmers and developers, and by scouting for tech-savvy executives to help make strategic decisions about IT investments. Industry-wide consolidation is raising the skill-level of bank employees generally, and employees at many levels must be trained to use marketing data obtained through IT sources wisely.

Responding to the challenge to attract prized programmers, some regional banks have reported success by revising their compensation guidelines and work environment, emphasizing job rotation and the satisfaction of meaningful work (Forrester Research). The willingness to adapt hiring practices to the labor market may be viable option for national and regional banks struggling to compete for limited resources.

Numbers Don’t Lie

The raw numbers underscoring the move to on-line banking and commerce are as relentless as they are compelling, Consumers will obtain 9 million loans and credit cards over the Internet in 2003 worth almost $167 billion according to Forrester Research, with mortgages accounting for the bulk dollar volume. By 2006, approximately 30 percent of mortgage loans will originate online, as compared to three percent last year (Tower Group).

Spending on IT services is rising steadily as more banks adopt IT and e-commerce strategies in order to reap the rewards of customer acquisition and loyalty, transaction processing and cross-selling. According to Datamonitor, overall bank spending on IT will escalate to $31 billion in 2002, a six percent annual increase from 1998. Increasingly, banks must also plan to fend off competition from non-bank Internet portals such as Quicken, MSN Money Central, Yahoo! and Excite, which offer a range of financial services and online comparison shopping.

Signaling the trend to invest in IT services and e-commerce opportunities, several of the largest national banks have recently announced their plans to expand service offerings and B2B ventures through the Internet. This spring, Bank of America announced the Banc of America Marketplace, a suite of Internet financial services for e-commerce; Wells Fargo launched a network of Web-enabled ATMs, redesigned to optimize on Internet functionality; and BankOne announced The One Net Cross Border Payments(SM) to enable customers to transmit wires and drafts in foreign currencies using the Internet.

About Icarian

Icarian, Inc. is the market leader in Workforce Management solutions for streamlining the planning for, acquisition, deployment and development of employees in global organizations. Icarian Workforce(SM) utilizes the power of the Internet to bring workforce plans into alignment with business imperatives, dramatically slash time-to-hire through process automation and extranet connectivity with the talent supply ecosystem, and significantly reduce the costs associated with hiring and deploying talent. Privately funded, Icarian is located in Sunnyvale, CA. For more information, visit [www.icarian.com][1].

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

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