NYCE Expansion

NYCE has signed Sovereign Bank as a participant in the NYCE Network. Upon completion of the purchase of assets and deposits from FleetBoston Financial, Sovereign Bank will be a $35 billion financial institution with more than 600 community banking offices located from north of Boston to south of Philadelphia. Sovereign will add 500 ATMs and 770,000 ATM/debit cards to NYCE and is expected to be operational in the Network by the end of March. The Bank recently supplemented its electronic payments program in the Mid-Atlantic region with the acquisition of more than 550 ATMs in New England which were already participating in the NYCE Network.


LINQ Calling Card Deal

LINQ Telecom, Inc., based in Fort Worth, announced an agreement Tuesday with Affiliated Foods Southwest.

The agreement outlines an exclusive partnership to provide calling cards to Affiliated member supermarkets and convenience stores.

“This is an exciting move by our sales and marketing group,” said Travis Hamer, president and CEO of LINQ Telecom, Inc. “Through our association with Affiliated, we see an opportunity to step up into an important segment of the demographic market. It also opens doors to all Affiliated distributors who service more than 1,000 stores in a seven-state area — Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.”

Reid Fitzgerald, vice president of sales and marketing for LINQ Telecom, Inc., says there is “no set value on the contract” at this time.

“However, we’re projecting a direct sales increase between $3 million and $5 million this year from the Affiliated contract,” he predicts. “We attribute this business deal to the brand equity we’ve built in this market over the past five years.”

John May, general manager of Sure Valu Stamp Company, a subsidiary of Affiliated Foods Southwest, says reliability influenced their decision to partner with LINQ.

“We were looking for a quality, reliable brand of calling cards to supply to our stores, and we believe the LINQ partnership will provide our customers with that service,” said May. “We’ve already received a positive response from store owners.”

LINQ Telecom, Inc., established in 1989, recently was recognized by Consumer Reports as the No. 1 service provider in the calling card industry for value and service. The company also was recognized last year by Intele-Card News as one of the top 10 companies to watch in 1999, and Telecom Business as one of the top 500 telecom firms in the world.

LINQ is a facilities-based telecommunications company that provides global long-distance services, primarily through calling cards. With offices in Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles, LINQ phone cards are available in retail locations throughout the United States, through distributors and online at [][1]. For additional information, visit LINQ’s Web sites at [][2] and [][3].



Globeset CFO

Globeset, Inc., the world’s leading supplier of payment solutions for secure eCommerce, has appointed Duane W. Bell as Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Bell served as a Partner and Chief Financial Officer for KPMG Consulting, the consulting arm of KPMG LLP, a leading international public accounting and consulting firm. Bell also spent significant time on the firm’s merger and acquisition activities.

“Duane’s senior management experience with initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, will be instrumental in helping Globeset move to the next level,” said Michael Cation, CEO of Globeset.

Between 1988 and 1996, Bell held Chief Financial Officer and/or Chief Operating Officer positions with the technology consulting firm Cotelligent, the law firm of Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger, and the engineering consulting firm Exponent. Prior to 1988, he was a tax partner with KPMG.

About Globeset

Globeset is the world’s leading software and services provider for the secure online payment infrastructure necessary to connect both buyers and sellers to their financial service providers. Globeset offers software products and services to the financial services industry, including banks, credit-card issuers and processors. Globeset also serves traditional software and service suppliers of the financial services industry and other participants in eCommerce, including portals and online merchants. The company’s products and services include electronic wallets and banking applications, and corporate applications, such as industry-leading electronic cash management system/automated cash management (e-CMS/ACM) software. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at: [][1].



AmSouth Joins PULSE

AmSouth Bank, one of the premier financial institutions in the Southeast United States, has joined the PULSE EFT Association, significantly expanding the network’s presence in that region.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, AmSouth last fall merged with First American National Bank, which was a PULSE member. Now all 660 branch banking offices will be displaying the PULSE brand and AmSouth ATM cardholders will be able to access their bank accounts through the network.

“The addition of AmSouth to the PULSE program is a significant step toward increasing PULSE’s operations and visibility in that part of the country,” said Leah Huffmeister, PULSE senior vice president. “With its recent acquisitions, AmSouth is one of the leading financial institutions in the Southeast, including Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, all states in PULSE’s primary service area.”

AmSouth Bancorporation began business operations in 1972 and has been involved in numerous mergers and acquisitions during the ensuing years.

Besides the switching and settling of ATM transactions, AmSouth officials are looking forward to taking advantage of the broad range of services that PULSE provides to its members.

“We have been impressed with PULSE’s strong commitment to providing outstanding service to its financial institution members and their customers,” said Greg Miles, AmSouth Bank senior vice president and manager of electronic banking. “We look at ATM cards as an important part of our strategy of providing convenience and service to our customers, and our affiliation with PULSE will strengthen that relationship.”

Mr. Miles is also a recent addition to the PULSE Board of Directors.

AmSouth Bank offers a complete range of consumer and commercial banking and trust services to businesses and individuals through branch banking offices in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia.

PULSE is a shared EFT network serving more than 2,100 banks, credit unions and savings and loans in a nine-state primary service area including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The network processes in excess of 40 million transactions monthly and features more than 52,000 ATMs and 229,700 PULSE(R) PAY point-of-sale terminals in all 50 states. For more information, visit the PULSE Web site at [][1].



Metris New Ops Ctr

Metris Companies Inc. marked the grand opening of its new operations center in Tulsa, Okla., with a gala celebration.

Gov. Frank Keating, U.S. Rep. Steve Largent and Tulsa Mayor M. Susan Savage were expected to join Metris President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald N. Zebeck, other dignitaries, project partners and more than 800 employees for the event.

The new facility is at 51st and 129th streets in Tulsa. It consists of more than 100,000 square feet of space on three levels. The building currently houses Metris employees who work in customer service, collections and operations.

“The opening of our new Tulsa facility is another sign of the tremendous growth and success of Metris Companies,” Zebeck said. “We’re very proud of our new building and our reputation as an employer of choice in this market.”

To reinforce the company’s commitment to helping employees balance work and family issues, the new facility features a company-operated and subsidized Metris KIDS childcare center for employees’ children. The site also includes a company-subsidized cafeteria.

The Tulsa expansion marks one of several recent facility additions for the company, including new offices in Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale, Ariz. Later this year, Metris will open a new corporate headquarters facility in suburban Minneapolis.

The new building is a project of Told Development. Manhattan Construction is the general contractor. The building was designed by Korsunsky Krank Erickson Architects, Inc.

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and fee-based services primarily to moderate-income consumers. Based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Metris also has operations in Jacksonville, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; Baltimore, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. It employs more than 3,100 people.


E.piphany Signs Wingspan

E.piphany announced that it has extended its reach in the financial services going live with and adding two financial services customers, Fleet and Scotiabank. These wins build on the successful deployments of E.piphany solutions within other leading financial institutions, including Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab, Citibank and Halifax Bank and American Express.

“We are proud to be an integral part of the customer efforts at so many leading financial services institutions, helping them to increase revenue and improve overall profitability and effectiveness,” said Roger Siboni, president and CEO of E.piphany. “With E.piphany, these companies can gain insight into customer needs and behavior to maximize cross-channel customer interactions and improve personalized offering to its entire customer base.”, a division of First USA Bank, N.A., was founded in mid-1999 to solve the frustrations associated with personal banking. is more than an online bank, it’s a versatile one-stop resource where customers can manage almost every significant aspect of their financial life.

“E.piphany’s Web-based solutions are so easy-to-use that we were up and running quickly,” said Michael Cleary, president of “We will gain a better understanding of our customers. In the competitive financial services business, creating customer loyalty is a primary focus. With E.piphany, we deliver a highly-personalized experience to our customers that is relevant, rewarding, and secure.”

“We chose the E.piphany E.4 integrated system to move Scotiabank to the next generation of customer segmentation. We will substantially improve our ability to define and then execute highly value-added marketing programs and campaigns throughout our international markets,” said Tim Hayward, senior vice president & chief administration officer. “E.piphany will enable our staff throughout the International Division to more fully understand and better manage customer relationships.”

Scotiabank, the most international of Canadian banks, provides a complete range of retail, commercial, corporate, investment and international banking services to customers around the globe. Through more than 1,700 branches and offices in more than 50 countries, the 42,000 employees deliver quality services that has made Scotiabank one of North America’s premier financial institutions.

Fleet Bank has selected E.piphany’s Real-Time Personalization Solution as part of an overall strategic effort in their credit card group to service customers in a more personalized way.

E.piphany is the provider of real-time analytical applications that create a single enterprise-wide view of the customer enabling insight and personalized action across all touch points. The E.piphany E.4(TM) system is designed to help companies establish, maintain and improve customer relationships for the new customer economy. The E.4 system is an integrated suite of software solutions that enable companies to profile and analyze individual customer characteristics and preferences and then leverage that information to drive marketing campaigns and individually tailored products and services.

E.piphany, E.4 and the E.piphany logo are trademarks of E.piphany, Inc.


ACE Card Meltdown

Dallas-based UICI revealed late Friday that the financial situation of its credit card subsidiary is much worse than previously reported. As a result the firm says it is selling off its CrediServ credit card unit. One week ago, UICI’s United Credit National Bank, headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD, filed with the OCC an amended call report for 1999 which shows additional pre-tax operating losses of $63 million beyond the $79 million pre-tax loss previously reported. For the full 1999 year, UICI currently expects to report a pre-tax operating loss at its United CreditServ subsidiary in the amount of approximately $147 million. Losses at UICI’s United CreditServ unit have created liquidity issues for the company. Since the company first announced losses at its United CreditServ unit in December, UICI through United CreditServ has contributed to the bank as capital an aggregate of $88.0 million in cash, including additional cash in the amount of $28.0 million contributed one week ago. The bank is currently operating subject to a ‘Consent Order’ issued by the OCC on February 25. UICI’s bank intends to submit to the OCC for approval, a plan for the orderly exit from the credit card business. At year-end 1999, the bank held approximately $300.0 million in gross credit card receivables, subject to a loan loss reserve of $108.0 million, leaving a net receivable position of approximately $192.0 million. UICI’s United CreditServ launched the sub-prime ‘ACE VISA’ credit card program last year. Under the ‘ACE VISA’ program applicants are offered a $400 minimum credit line in exchange for charging a $300 personal finance educational program, a $19.00 processing fee and a $49.00 annual fee. According to CardTrak ([][1]) the required $300 personal finance educational program consists of five booklets and two videotapes produced by a group called: American Credit Educators. The ‘ACE VISA’ program is similar to the now defunct ‘Best Bank VISA’ program which offered a $600 credit line in exchange for charging a $500 travel club membership fee. (See CF Library 12/10/99 and 12/22/99)



Vicinity BofA Deal

Vicinity Corp., a leading provider of Internet-based marketing infrastructure services, will provide its Telephone Business Finder services to Bank of America to help direct customers to the bank’s more than 4,500 banking center and 14,000 ATM locations by simply picking up the telephone.

Vicinity’s Interactive Voice Response application will automatically provide Bank of America customers with the nearest Bank location — no additional dialing and no Internet access required. The service is expected to be available by late April 2000.

In addition to accessing the nearest location, Bank of America customers will be able to search for alternate locations by entering a zip code or phone number.

“Providing an easy way to locate the nearest Bank of America ATM or banking center is one step in our continuing effort to enhance our customers’ telephone experience with us,” said Colin Wong, vice president, Telephone Channel Strategies & Development, Bank of America.

“We are proud to be providing the largest bank in the United States with our Telephone Business Finder service,” said Emerick Woods, president and chief executive officer of Vicinity Corp. “Vicinity makes sure that all of our clients can reach their customers — ‘wired’ or not — with the most comprehensive marketing solutions.”

About Vicinity Corp.

Vicinity Corp. is a leading provider of Internet-based marketing infrastructure services for brand-name Global 2000 companies. The company’s clicks-and-mortar solutions, available in 14 countries and in 10 languages, enable its more than 300 clients to direct consumers searching for a specific product or service to the nearest brick-and-mortar store that carries that product or service.

Vicinity’s customers include FedEx, Ford, GM, Hewlett-Packard, Hilton Hotels Corp., Marriott, McDonald’s, NEC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Starwood Hotels, Taco Bell, Toyota, Levi Strauss & Co. and UPS. Its suite of private-label and co-branded content and services — available via the Internet, cellular phones, WAP phones, wireless devices and landline telephones — includes Business Finder(SM), Telephone Business Finder(SM), Wireless Business Finder(SM), BrandFinder(SM), SiteMaker(SM), MailMaker(SM), MapBlast!(R) Mapping Services, and Business Directory.

Publicly traded on Nasdaq under the symbol VCNT, Vicinity’s investors include CMGI (Nasdaq:CMGI). Vicinity’s strategic alliances include Inktomi (NASDAQ:INKT), Palm Computing (NASDAQ:PALM) and it is a member of the (NASDAQ:PHCM) Alliance Program. Vicinity was established in 1995, is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., and has an office in Lebanon, NH. Vicinity(R) is a registered trademark of Vicinity Corp.


Providian’s New TX Ctr

Providian Financial’s outstanding 57% growth in new customers was highlighted today by the opening of the company’s new customer service center in San Antonio, Texas.

Providian’s 60,000 square feet of space at 4300 Centerview Drive in San Antonio will be home to approximately 600 employees dedicated to providing customer service for the company’s credit card business. Providian experienced strong growth during 1999, adding 4.5 million new customers, and bringing Providian’s total customers in the U.S. and U.K. to 12 million. As a result of that growth, the company continues to add to its talented employee population.

At today’s opening celebration, local business leaders and elected officials joined Providian senior management and employees in a ribbon cutting ceremony. “The tremendous success of Providian’s credit card business has created the need to add resources. San Antonio’s hospitable business climate and the area’s very strong and qualified labor force make it an excellent place to for us to expand,” said Shailesh Mehta, Providian’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Providian is proud to join the San Antonio community and we plan to be an active member of it.”

As a part of its community commitment, today Providian awarded $25,000 to Smart Start, a non-profit corporate child care collaborative dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of child care services for San Antonio’s working families. “Providian’s donation helps fund Smart Start’s popular 65-SMART bilingual hotline, an essential community service providing parents with immediate answers to their questions about finding, evaluating, and using area child care services,” said Dawn White, program coordinator for Smart Start. “We are grateful to Providian for their contribution and for joining us in our efforts to make high quality child care a reality for all San Antonio families.” Providian’s donation is part of the company’s national Child Care Initiative.

San Francisco-based Providian Financial employs more than 11,000 people in the United States and in the United Kingdom, with facilities in San Antonio, Austin and Arlington, Texas, as well as Henderson, Nevada; Fairfield, Oakland, Pleasanton, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Louisville, Kentucky; Concord and Tilton, New Hampshire; and London, England.

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([][1]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the United States and also offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. The sixth largest bankcard issuer in the U.S., Providian Financial was recently named one of America’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine.

Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products that include credit cards, secured cards and membership services. With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian’s mission is to help customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit by providing a quality borrowing experience that leads to active and lasting customer relationships. Providian has more than $23 billion in assets under management and over 12 million customers.



Bowie Palm Bank

The Internet’s first private label bank has opened for business and is accessible via the ‘Palm VII PDA’. This new, cutting-edge bank is also built around the celebrity of David Bowie., announced this weekend, the launch of an enhanced version of ‘BowieBanc’ in conjunction with an alliance with David Bowie and UltraStar Internet Services. The bank site is designed around David Bowie’s music, art and lifestyle. The new site also features complete wireless access for banking products and services provided through Wireless users are able to obtain full account access, bill payment, and other financial services via a new wireless platform designed for use on the ‘Palm VII PDA’ and cellular phones in the Sprint PCS product line. Access modules may be downloaded free-of-charge beginning today. ‘BowieBanc’ also offers a MasterCard ‘MasterMoney’ ATM/debit card. The card is linked a free checking account which pays an annual yield of 5% on balances over $1.00. The account also gives customers up to five, fee-reversible withdrawals from any ATM in the world that charges $2.00 or less per transaction.


Greenland Distributorship

Greenland Corporation, a provider of automated financial services machines that provide payroll check-cashing, payday advances, ATM functionality, phone card sales and money order dispensing services and bill paying, announced that it has repurchased the rights to the Master Distributorship contract for its automated financial services machines from RBSA and its affiliate, SmartCash ATM. Ltd. The purchase was in an undisclosed amount of cash and stock. RBSA, a leading national distributor of ATM machines will continue to operate as a key distributor of Greenland and will market and sell Greenland’s financial services machines on a non-exclusive basis.

“The repurchase of the rights to the Master Distributorship from RBSA provides Greenland several outstanding advantages,” said Greenland Corporation’s CEO, Dr. Louis T. Montulli. “First, it increases Greenland’s gross hardware and software profits by approximately 25%. Second, it allows Greenland to work directly with the hundreds of Independent Sales Representatives signed up to sell Greenland’s machines. Third, it provides Greenland Corporation unencumbered access to corporate chain market sales such as Wal-Mart and Piggly Wiggly.

Although RBSA has made a major contribution to the sales and marketing efforts of Greenland and we fully anticipate that they will remain a key distributor for Greenland, Greenland needed the flexibility to control its sales and marketing to meet the demand from various chains and potential institutional customers.

Dr. Montulli further stated, “This transaction is an excellent opportunity for Greenland and RBSA and we look forward to an excellent future relationship.”

More than ten million dollars and five years time has been spent in developing Greenland’s automated financial services machines, which, unlike its competition, offer numerous automated banking features. In the future, Internet sales shall be added to complete the process of offering the customer the maximum financial and commodity point of sale services where he or she shops every day. The Company estimates that the payroll check-cashing industry alone serves a population that transacts approximately one trillion dollars annually and generates an estimated $1.5 billion in annual fees.

Additionally, it has been estimated that about 28% of working Americans do not have a formal banking relationship. As a result, check-cashing and payday advance businesses are proliferating throughout the U.S.

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 [][1].



Beenz Platforms announced Friday that its ‘beenz’ currency will be earnable and spendable on five new technology platforms. The platforms include: the mobile phone, the personal digital assistant, interactive television, games and the smart card. celebrated its first anniversary last week and now has more than one million users. In December the company signed an agreement with Mondex International to develop a smart card that will enable users to earn and spend their beenz off-line. says it will also soon roll beenz transaction capability for the Palm OS. The company’s strategy will enable providers of content to the Palm platform to charge or pay beenz for access to services and information delivered through Palm and compatible devices. The company has completed initial trials of its micropayment and reward solution for video game developers. To trial the technology, three browser-based games have already been developed with California-based Nuvo Studios Inc. Since the games were installed on one month ago, nearly 200,000 games have been played by beenz consumers.