MBNA Chip Deal

GO-RACHELS.COM, manufacturer of Rachel’s Gourmet Potato Chips and distributor of Y2K and Millennium Chocolate Coins, Wednesday announced an arrangement with MBNA America to offer Rachel’s Gourmet Potato Chips to all the MBNA INDY RACING LEAGUE credit card holders.

MBNA America, with $59.6 billion in managed loans and more than $15 billion in deposits, is the largest independent credit card lender in the world. MBNA also provides consumer financing options and insurance products and offers a variety of superior deposit accounts. MBNA has more than 19,000 people working to provide top-quality Customer service in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada.

James M. Garlie, Chairman, Pres, & CEO of GO-RACHELS.COM, stated, “As you need a credit card to purchase products through the net, I can’t think of a better way to build our e-commerce business. While other internet companies are spending million’s of dollars on advertising, MBNA is affording GO-RACHELS.COM this opportunity for the mere cost of an insert in a monthly statement. All MBNA is asking for is that their customers purchase Rachel’s Gourmet Potato Chips with their MBNA credit card. This could also lead to other companies wanting to advertise on our web site and is one of several opportunities that has come from sponsoring the PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE’S 1998 Indy 500 Winner, and two time Disney 200 Winner, Eddie Cheever. Jr. The snack food industry is a 60 billion dollar industry and GO-RACHELS.COM is well positioned for accelerated growth! This truly is a Win, Win situation for everyone involved!”

GO-RACHELS.COM (OTC BB: RACH), is a full service e-commerce company that manufactures, distributes, and markets eight flavors of Rachel’s Gourmet Potato Chips and name brand confectionery products that include Sour Simons, Gummy Guys, and Loonies, Toonies, Y2K and Millennium Chocolate Coins throughout North America and the WorldWideWeb:

GO-RACHELS.COM’S products are marketed by some of the largest retailers and distributors in North America, including: Wal-Mart, Target, Dominick’s, Costco, Loblaw, SYSCO, and U.S. Food Service. GO-RACHELS.COM’S products are also marketed over the World Wide Web using Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) as it’s e-commerce Web Site Host.

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Bank One Online Bills

Bank One this morning became the nation’s first company to introduce fully-integrated online bill delivery through Integrion Financial Network. The new bill delivery service from Bank One connects the scalability of the Integrion Interactive Financial Services platform with the network of billers in the CheckFree electronic bill delivery and payment system. The new service will enable Bank One’s 300,000 online customers to both receive and pay bills online through the Bank One website. Initially, 15 companies have agreed to deliver their bills online through CheckFree to Bank One customers. To date, seven are actually listed on the Bank One website: American Electric Power, BellSouth, Boston Edison, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Consumers Energy, HomeSide Lending and MCI WorldCom. E-billing is a free feature of the ‘Bank One Online Bill Payment’ service, which allows consumers to make electronic payments anywhere in the U.S. for $4.95 per month.

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FU Data Warehouse

First Union revealed plans Wednesday to triple the capacity of its customer data warehouse to 27 terabytes, a banking industry record, in its quest to deliver customized marketing to its 16 million customers. The amount of disk storage in the data warehouse will be equal to 27 million floppy disks. The data warehouse, an IBM ‘RS/6000 SP’ running on Informix Corp.’s relational database, stores up to 24 months of customer transactions with First Union. The system will Analyze customer behavior, such as how often they contact the company in person, by phone or ATM. Thousands of reports can be customized by users at the corporate level or by state, city, or branch, by customer segment, or product. First Union exited the national credit card business last year to focus on developing deeper customer relationships in its core marketing footprint.

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TRM CFO

TRM Corporation announced this week that Shami Patel will join the company in the position of Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

“The Board of Directors and I are very excited to have Shami join the TRM Team,” said Fred Stockton, TRM’s President and CEO. “His experience in investment banking and his academic background were both great attractions for us. Shami will be involved with assisting the Photocopy and ATM Divisions of TRM Corporation in business development and acquisition work, investor relations, financial structuring and strategic business planning.”

Prior to joining TRM, Patel held a variety of investment banking and consulting positions. Most recently, he was Vice President and Investment Manager for Sirrom Capital Corporation in San Francisco, California, where he was responsible for mezzanine finance investments in the Southern California area. Prior to that, Patel was an Investment Banker with Robertson Stephens & Company, where he executed public and private equity and debt offerings, as well as merger and acquisition transactions. Patel also spent two years as a Senior Consultant with Andersen Consulting. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Philosophy from Trinity University.

TRM Corporation provides convenience photocopy and convenience ATM services located in retail establishments. A total of 31,000 Copy Centers are installed in the United States, Canada, England, Wales, Scotland and France. TRM’s Copy Centers are located in independent as well as large chain retailers, a sample of which include Eckerd, Marsh, American Drug, Martin Retail, BP Express, Silcorp, and Avondale. Last month, TRM Corporation launched its new ATM Division by installing convenience ATM’s into the fastest growing convenience store chain the Southeastern United States.

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US Bancorp Chargeoffs Up

U.S. Bancorp reported Wednesday operating earnings of $368.6 million, or $.51 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 1999, compared with $350.0 million, or $.47 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 1998. Operating earnings on a cash basis increased from $.51 per diluted share in the first quarter of 1998 to $.56 per diluted share, or 9.8 percent, in the first quarter of 1999. Return on average common equity and return on average assets, excluding nonrecurring items, were 24.6 percent and 1.99 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 1999, compared with returns, excluding nonrecurring items, of 23.5 percent and 2.03 percent in the first quarter of 1998.

Including nonrecurring, merger-related charges of $1.8 million, after-tax, the Company recorded net income for the first quarter of 1999 of $366.8 million, or $.50 per diluted share, compared to $328.5 million, or $.44 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 1998.

U.S. Bancorp’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, John F. Grundhofer, said, “Our first quarter results reflect both the challenges and opportunities facing our Company in 1999. We experienced the full financial impact of the loss of a portion of the U.S. Government purchasing card business. However, excluding credit cards and acquisitions, we recorded strong fee income growth of over 10 percent from the fourth quarter of 1998 on an annualized basis. We also had acceleration in commercial loan growth and improved retail sales in our Western region, and continued loan growth in our Central region. I am confident that we will see the results of our continued focus on revenue growth throughout the remainder of 1999.”

Earnings in the first quarter of 1999 included after-tax nonrecurring, merger-related charges of $1.8 million associated with the May 1, 1998, acquisition of Piper Jaffray Companies Inc. (“Piper Jaffray”) and several other small acquisitions. Approximately $11 million, after-tax, in additional merger-related charges are expected to be incurred with respect to Piper Jaffray in 1999.

Comparisons to the first quarter of 1998 are affected by the acquisition of Piper Jaffray. Net interest income on a taxable-equivalent basis in the first quarter of 1999 was higher by $25.4 million, or 3.3 percent, than the first quarter of 1998. Noninterest income, before nonrecurring items, increased by $180.4 million, or 40.5 percent, from the first quarter of 1998, primarily reflecting the acquisition of Piper Jaffray, growth in trust and investment management fees and deposit service charges, offset by the loss of a portion of the U.S. Government purchasing card business. Noninterest expense, before nonrecurring items, was higher than the first quarter of 1998 by $156.8 million, or 28.0 percent, principally due to the acquisition of Piper Jaffray. The banking efficiency ratio (the ratio of expenses to revenues without the impact of investment banking and brokerage activity), before nonrecurring items, for the first quarter of 1999 was 43.3 percent, compared to 45.2 percent in the first quarter of 1998.

Net charge-offs in the first quarter of 1999 were $139.6 million, higher than the fourth quarter of 1998 net charge-offs of $118.2 million and the first quarter of 1998 net charge-offs of $103.2 million. The increase in net charge-offs from the first quarter of 1998 was primarily the result of one large commercial credit, an expected increase in losses on several consumer loan portfolios purchased in 1998 and higher consumer fraud losses. Net charge-offs were .96 percent of average loans in the first quarter of 1999, compared to .81 percent in the fourth quarter of 1998 and .77 percent in the first quarter of last year. Nonperforming assets increased from $304.3 million at December 31, 1998, to $325.8 million at March 31, 1999, as a result of the commercial credit referred to above. The ratio of allowance for credit losses to nonperforming loans continued to indicate strong reserve coverage of 324 percent at March 31, 1999.

On February 18, 1999, the Company announced an agreement to acquire San Diego-based Bank of Commerce (Nasdaq: BCOM), one of the nation’s largest Small Business Association (SBA) lenders. With $638 million in assets at year-end 1998, Bank of Commerce operates 10 full service branches in San Diego and Orange counties, as well as 23 SBA loan production offices in California and 11 other states. Pending regulatory approvals, the acquisition is expected to close at the end of the second quarter of 1999.

FOR MORE FINANCIAL INFO PLEASE VISIT CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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

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Seitz Joins Cross Country

Cross Country Bank has announced the appointment of Paul C. Seitz, CPA, CVA as Senior Vice President and Special Assistant to the Chairman.

Seitz will be responsible for overseeing various operational aspects of the bank including managing the relationships with investment banking firms. He’s also responsible for a variety of administrative functions such as political and community relations.

“The growth of the bank prompted Cross Country Bank to expand its management team. We’re extremely excited to have Paul join Cross Country Bank,” said Rocco A. Abessinio, founder and President of Cross Country Bank. “Paul’s proven management expertise will be a real asset to the continued growth and profitability of Cross Country Bank,” adds Abessinio.

Prior to joining Cross Country Bank, Seitz held management positions with two international accounting firms, Price Waterhouse, where he was the managing partner of the Wilmington office, and Deloitte & Touche LLP. While at those firms, Seitz provided extensive expertise to a wide range of issues for clients in the financial services industry.

Seitz, a Certified Public Accountant in Delaware and Pennsylvania, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware, which awarded him the College of Business and Economics Alumni Award of Excellence. Seitz produced and hosted “Tax Tips” on WNS-TV (Channel 2, Wilmington) for several years.

Seitz serves as a board member of the United Way of Delaware and is a member of its Finance Committee. He is also a past treasurer of the United Way of Delaware. Seitz serves as a board member of the Associated United Ways of the Delaware Valley and serves on its executive committee. Seitz is a past president and vice president of the University of Delaware Alumni Association which also honored him with its Outstanding Alumnus Award. The immediate past chairman of the Delaware State Board of Accountancy, Seitz remains an active board member. In addition, Seitz serves on a committee for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Seitz resides in Wilmington with his wife and two children.

Cross Country Bank, founded by Delaware native Rocco A. Abessinio in July 1996, provides non-traditional VISA and MasterCard products. Rated as one of the fastest growing credit card banks in the country, Cross Country Bank now serves over two million cardholders. Cross Country Bank is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Integration

Associates First Capital says the closing of the Avco Financial Services purchase, the largest acquisition in the company’s history, fueled its first quarter growth. Net first quarter earnings reached $336.8 million, a 20% increase over the same period a year earlier. Associates’ U.S. Consumer Operations, by the end of the quarter, had added a net 400 offices and 2,100 employees from the Avco acquisition. Associates also solidified its position as the number-one issuer of oil private label cards in the USA with the February acquisition of the Shell proprietary credit card program, adding 2.3 million active cardholders. Associates reported yesterday that credit card receivables for the first quarter stood at $10.5 billion compared to $7.9 billion one year ago. Credit card delinquency (60+ day) increased from 3.96% for first quarter 1998 to 4.49% for first quarter 1999. Credit card chargeoffs, as a percentage of average managed receivables, also inched up from 7.15% last year to 7.31% this year.

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PaymentNet & Miva

PaymentNet (www.paymentnet.com), and Miva Corporation announced yesterday that the two companies have completed the integration of the PaymentNet transaction processing service with Miva Empresa, an application engine that includes a powerful XML scripting language (Miva Script), and Miva Merchant, an electronic storefront development and management system.

This integration gives merchants and developers using Miva technology easy access to powerful, highly reliable back office transaction processing services over the Internet.

“PaymentNet’s service is exceptionally easy to integrate, making it ideal both for e-commerce businesses, and the Web developers who support them,” said Joe Austin, founder and president of Miva Corporation. “Just as importantly PaymentNet’s platform is based on a leading edge architecture that delivers reliable, secure, high performance processing.”

“Miva and PaymentNet are a good fit because we both make ease of development, integration and deployment a top priority. We expect our joint solution to be well received among both Web developers and e-commerce businesses,” said Philippe Courtot PaymentNet Chairman and CEO.

Miva Merchant is browser based which dramatically simplifies the implementation of dynamic data driven storefronts with integrated shopping basket, catalog, hierarchical categories, product search, and order processing capabilities. Users have the choice of using Miva Merchant’s built-in templates to quickly implement an e-commerce site, or customize the look and feel of their electronic storefront by manipulating the application’s source code (Miva Script).

— Separately today, PaymentNet, Miva, Cobalt and Thawte Certification announced completion of a collaborative integration project to deliver easy-to-manage, scalable and secure e-commerce solutions, hosted on Cobalt RaQ(TM) products. —

About Miva Corporation

Founded in 1996, Miva Corporation (formerly Htmlscript Corporation) is a leading provider of systems for business users to create and manage commerce sites and data driven Web sites using only a Web browser. The company’s products are open and allow developers to script sites using the popular SML-based scripting language, Miva Script. Since its inception, Miva Corporation has provided its customers with easy-to-use technology that scales to tens of thousands of virtual domains per system. For more information, contact: Miva Corporation, 2629 Ariane Dr., San Diego, Calif. 92117. Phone 619/490-2570; Fax 619/490-0548; Web site: .

About PaymentNet

PaymentNet is a leading e-commerce transaction processing service. The service provides secure, Internet-based transaction and payment processing for a broad range of businesses that sell goods and services through a variety of e-commerce media. It offers industry-leading automation and customer care with its high-reliability credit card, debit card, and electronic check processing services.

The PaymentNet service is based on a scalable, secure TCP/IP architecture that automates the processing of multiple payment instruments. It leverages the Internet as a virtual private network between PaymentNet’s proprietary transaction processing server and individual clients dispersed on Internet and Intranet locations. The service is pre-integrated with many leading “shopping carts” and integrates easily with e-commerce front-ends of many types.

The service has been deployed across a wide range of businesses with excellent results. Notable customers include CBS SportsLine, EC Direct, Network Solutions, Inc., Value America, and Virtual Vineyards.

PaymentNet is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, and can be found on the Web at www.paymentnet.com. Contact PaymentNet corporate offices at 925/225-1670.

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SpeedPass Singapore

Mobil Corp. launched ‘Mobil Speedpass’ Tuesday in Singapore, the first market outside the U.S. to offer the electronic fuels payment system. More than 2.2 million motorists have enrolled in the ‘Speedpass’ program since its launch in the U.S. in 1996. In Singapore, only the vehicle tag is used and Speedpass is linked to the ‘Mobil Easipay’ card, the first fuels credit card incorporating an “Electronic Road Pricing CashCard” that can be used to pay tolls on Singapore’s roads.

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Triple Crown Again

With the Kentucky Derby less than a month away, Visa U.S.A. is saddling up for the 1999 Visa Triple Crown — thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious series.

Tapping the thrill and pageantry of thoroughbred racing, Visa developed a new national television commercial that communicates Visa’s exclusive acceptance at ticket windows at all Triple Crown races. Entitled “Yes,” the commercial has been airing during major Kentucky Derby prep races on ABC Sports and ESPN since January.

Following the theme of Visa’s advertising campaign, “It’s Everywhere You Want To Be,” the spot features trainers, groomsmen, jockeys, fans and owners exclaiming “Yes!” during races and training sessions, while the ticket salesman proclaims “No!” to a spectator who tries to pay for tickets with American Express.

“We developed this spot to build awareness of Visa’s sponsorship and to reinforce our designation as `The Preferred Card of The Triple Crown,'” said Liz Silver, senior vice president, Advertising, Visa U.S.A. “‘Yes!’ also communicates Visa’s overall acceptance message to current and potential horse racing enthusiasts.”

Shot at Churchill Downs during the 1998 Fall Meet, “Yes!” required nearly 100 human extras and dozens of equine stars to produce. The advertisement was developed by BBDO New York.

“The new campaign showcases all the wonderful sights and sounds that are so unique to the Visa Triple Crown and to thoroughbred racing,” said Tom Meeker, president of Churchill Downs Inc. and Triple Crown Productions, LLC. “We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful sponsor like Visa — a partner who has contributed significantly to raising the awareness of our sport.”

The most visual symbol of Visa’s Triple Crown Challenge partnership continues to be its $5 million bonus — one of the largest payouts in the history of thoroughbred racing — awarded to the winner who captures all three Triple Crown races. As part of Visa’s title sponsorship, Visa also receives significant on-track and on-air visibility through point-of-sale signage, out-rider jackets and prolific on-track Visa Triple Crown Challenge signage. In addition, Visa CEO Carl Pascarella is featured in the “Chairman’s Message” on ABC before each race.

Now in the fourth year of its five-year Triple Crown sponsorship, Visa continues to extend the excitement of horse racing for Members, merchants and fans through new advertising, marketing programs and the $5 million Visa Triple Crown Challenge bonus.

The Visa Triple Crown Challenge is comprised of the Kentucky Derby at Louisville’s Churchill Downs on May 1; the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland on May 15; and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York on June 6. There have been only 11 Triple Crown victories in thoroughbred racing history, the most recent by Affirmed in 1978.

As the World’s Best Way to Pay, Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(tm) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than 800 million Visa, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate nearly US$1.4 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at more than 16 million worldwide locations, including at over 480,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com][1].

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

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PriceLine Deal

First USA signed its second major Internet marketing agreement yesterday with priceline.com. The five-year contract with the “name-your-own-price” e-commerce service could potentially yield up to $200 million over five years for priceline.com. In February First USA signed a five-year marketing agreement with America Online worth up to $500 million for AOL, according to CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com). The nation’s largest card issuer also signed up a number of smaller deals this year including an $8 million contract with CDnow during March. Under the priceline.com adaptive marketing program, First USA will enable customers to increase the amount of their priceline.com purchase offers by specified amounts by applying for a First USA credit card or using a First USA credit card to complete their online transaction. For example, a customer offering $200 for an airline ticket who applies for or uses a First USA credit card might have $40 instantly added to the customer’s purchase offer, increasing the customer’s chances of getting a ticket at no additional cost to the customer.

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Digital Coupons

NextCard added customized, digital coupons from e-centives to its Internet credit card program. NextCard cardholders can now register with e-centives to receive promotions and offers from online stores such as Music Boulevard, eToys, Sports Superstore Online and egghead.com. Cardholders can also tailor their coupons to their own personal interests, such as sports, travel, music, etc., and simply click to redeem or store in their personal account to redeem later. The digital coupons from e-centives are the latest addition to NextCard’s ‘GoShopping!’ site. NextCard says as of yesterday the company generated 1.5 million applications for its Internet VISA program since December 1997.

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