Bank Plus Update

Los Angeles-based Bank Plus Corp. has terminated its agreement with one of its affinity credit card marketers, MMG Direct, Inc..  Additionally, American Direct Credit LLC , another affinity credit card marketer, and the bank have agreed to wind down originations under the bank’s affinity credit card program with ADC and terminate the related agreement. As of Sept. 30 the bank had approximately 344,000 total credit card accounts with outstanding balances of approximately $315 million, of which MMG and ADC together accounted for approximately 93% of such balances. Total delinquencies for the credit card portfolio at the end of Sept. were 16.9%, compared to 11.9% at June 30.


Dust Biter

U. S. West and Household Bank announced Monday they have reached an agreement to discontinue the communications company’s MasterCard and VISA programs. Cardholders will be notified by mail this month. U.S. West credit cards currently held by U. S. West residential customers will remain open and ultimately will be replaced during 1999.  Those held by U S WEST business customers will be closed on Feb. 1, 1999. The closing of the program is consistent with other recent failures of baby bell co-branded programs.


Advanced Parking Meters

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals announced Monday that is has begun installation of 15 multi-space parking meters in Hollywood, Fla.

The 5 DG4 units and 10 DGLine machines will support over 550 off-street parking spaces. The new systems — which were chosen for their reliability, solar power capabilities and the Schlumberger reputation for customer support — replace existing single space meters.

“Schlumberger is providing us with the highest level of support,” stated Sue Olley, parking operations manager for the City of Hollywood. “When we were hit by Hurricane George earlier this year, we were forced to remove and reinstall the first three units. Schlumberger backed up their commitment to customer service by providing us with strong assistance during this unexpected effort.”

Olley noted that the two different systems were chosen because the city’s needs varied by location. “Some of our parking lots did not have adequate access to electrical power,” she stated. “The DGLine units’ solar power capability made them the perfect selection for these locations, providing all the advantages and reliability of multi-space equipment without the electrical hook-up requirements.”

The Schlumberger DGLine features an option for integrated solar panels that eliminates the need to run A/C power to each unit. This feature lowers initial installation costs and operating expenses, offers easy maintenance and provides reliable operation even when sunlight is minimal.

The Schlumberger DG4 and DG Line equipment that Hollywood has chosen are both “Pay by Space” systems that enable parking officials to manage multiple spaces with minimal equipment. The systems are configured to accept both coins and currency. The motorist simply enters the space number into the nearest multi-space terminal and inserts payment.

The system prints a receipt with all necessary information and the user may leave the parking lot without returning to the vehicle. Networking capability enables enforcement officers to retrieve information and monitor the entire lot by entering a special code into any meter. The system scans every current transaction, verifying the amount paid and the expiration time. The officer can print an enforcement report listing either paid or unpaid spaces and their time status.

The Schlumberger DG Line and DG4 meters are state-of-the-art parking payment systems in which a single multi-space meter replaces approximately 80 traditional single-space meters for off-street applications, and 10-20 meters when used on-street. All Schlumberger multi-space meters feature high quality construction, electronic locks and high-security ball locks that deter theft and vandalism, while the user-friendly keyboard assistance and display codes make trouble shooting procedures simple. The aesthetic design of the meters blends into most environments, and they can be configured to accept bills, coins, tokens, credit and debit cards, and smart cards.

Schlumberger is a world leader in multi-space parking technology, with over 80,000 installed multi-space meters controlling nearly 500,000 parking spaces worldwide, including over 60,000 parking spaces in the U.S. and Canada.

About Schlumberger

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals is the leading provider of smart card-based solutions worldwide, shaping the new world of smart solutions by providing leading-edge technology to enable innovative smart card and terminal applications that enhance the security and convenience of businesses and communities of all kinds. Schlumberger smart card solutions encompass a wide range of cards, terminals, development tools and support in open configurations for operators, developers, integrators and distributors worldwide.

As part of the Smart Village(R) vision, the Schlumberger offer includes the milestone Cyberflex(tm) card, the industry’s first Java(tm)-based smart card. The Smart Cards & Terminals group operates 45 facilities in 34 countries across the globe. Additional information is available on the World Wide Web at .

Schlumberger Test & Transactions is the parent division for Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals and Schlumberger Automated Test Equipment, leveraging the combined strengths of the two business units to provide leading-edge, cost-effective solutions to customers.

Schlumberger Test & Transactions is a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, a $10.65 billion global technology service company providing oilfield services, natural resources management, transactions-based technology and associated systems, and semiconductor test equipment.

Cyberflex is a trademark and Smart Village is a registered trademark of Schlumberger. Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.


Delta Vouchers

Delta Air Lines is now offering ‘Holiday SkyMiles’ vouchers good for travel around the world. ‘Holiday SkyMiles’ can be combined with a current SkyMiles account to help customers, employees, friends or family obtain airline tickets and other rewards offered by Delta’s award-winning frequent traveler program.  Gift certificates in increments of 500 SkyMiles are available for $10 each, with a minimum purchase requirement of $100 plus tax. This special offer is valid through Dec. 31.


Citibank Card Bonds Rated

Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. (DCR) has assigned ratings of ‘AAA’ (Triple-A) to the $750 million Class A credit card participation certificates and ‘A+’ (Single-A-Plus) rating to the $48 million Class B credit card participation certificates issued by Citibank Credit Card Master Trust I.  The Class A certificates have a coupon of 5.30 percent and the Class B certificates have a coupon of 5.55 percent.  Both classes have a final maturity date of January 9, 2006.

This ninth series of the year represents the 38th deal outstanding. Series 1998-9 features a fixed coupon and five year tenor and is included in Group One of Citibank Credit Card Master Trust I.  The 11% credit enhancement level for the Class A is identical to that of the other series issued by the master trust, while the credit enhancement level is 6 percent for this Class B Certificate.  The enhancement contemplates supporting the weighted-average coupon (WAC) of the master trust, and therefore, does not vary from uncapped floating-rate deals to fixed-rate coupon deals.

Based upon DCR’s modeling, current credit enhancement more than covers potential investor loss caused by either a rapid and sustained increase in losses or coupon expenses, or the simultaneous occurrence of both.  The impact upon master trust WAC is measured given the respective coupons and series termination dates.  DCR recognizes the benefit of including this relatively low rate deal  upon master trust carrying costs, albeit for a short period. Citibank continues to manage the respective series expenses and staggered maturities to mitigate concerns of spiraling coupon expenses as the trust matures.

Being part of a socialized master trust, this transaction requires enhancement levels that recognize the carrying costs of the entire trust, including the WAC.  DCR computes the WAC of the trust over the legal final life-span of all currently outstanding series and a worst case assumption of each index used on every floating rate deal.  The master trust currently supports 37 other deals, 25 of which carry a fixed rate, two of which are zero-coupon series with the balance floating with one of number of different indices.  The trust also benefits from the socialized structure of the master trust, wherein all series aggregate collections and share in any excess or shortfall to the same degree.  Available cash collateral amounts are to be fast-paid, or turbo-paid, in the event certain pay-out events occur.

For a copy of the New Financing Report Summary on this transaction, please call the DCR Hotline at 312-368-3198 or e-mail [][1].



On-Line Shopping

A record 8.75 million U.S. households will shop on-line for the holidays this year, up from 5.2 million in 1997, according to a recent survey conducted by the Yankee Group. These on-line shoppers will spend up to $2.55 billion on holiday items this year, up from $800 million last year. The $2.55 billion represents 34% of the total expected $7.2 billion in 1998 Internet sales. The Yankee Group’s ‘1998 Interactive Consumer’ survey shows 35% of on-line homes expect to shop on-line for the holidays this year. The Yankee Group attributes the growth in on-line holiday sales to several primary factors, including VISA USA’s embrace of Internet commerce. Yankee has conducted a number of surveys for VISA over the past four years.


IDRC Appointments

IDRC (International Data Response Corporation), a world-class provider of outsouced teleservices and customer service solutions, has made two strategic appointments to its senior management team.  IDRC recently appointed Rod Cunniam as Vice President Information Systems and Marie Wallace as Vice President Human Resources for S&P Data Corp., an IDRC subsidiary within its International operating division.

In his new position, Cunniam will guide the activities of S&P Data Corp.’s Canadian information systems teams located in Toronto, North Bay, and St. Catharines, Ont., as well as IDRC’s Inbound & Customer Care information systems teams in San Diego, Calif. and Buffalo, NY.

Cunniam comes to IDRC with an extensive and varied technology and communications background including his most recent position as Director, Wealth Management Systems for Canada Trust.  Prior to that Cunniam has held managerial positions in technology and communications with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bell Canada.

Cunniam is a graduate of the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute with a Bachelor of Business Management Degree and a Computer Systems degree.  Cunniam has also taken various technical and management development courses in his continuing career development.   Cunniam will report to David Parkes, President & CEO of S&P Data Corp./IDRC International. Marie Wallace’s experience is also impressive.  She comes to IDRC with an extensive and varied human resources management background including her most recent position as Vice President, Human Resources for Sales & Merchandising Group.  Prior to that Wallace has held human resource management positions with Purolator Courier, Allergan, AT&T, and Esso Petroleum Canada.  Wallace is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has completed many specific human resources training and development programs in her continuing career development.  In her new position, Wallace will guide the activities of S&P Data Corp.’s human resource teams located in Toronto, North Bay, and St. Catharines. Ont.  Like Cunniam, she will report to David Parkes.

IDRC also has made two strategic appointments to its business development team by appointing Kevin Bradford as Senior Vice President Business Development and Tom Woods as Vice President Business Development for IDRC USA Inbound & Customer Care.  In his new position, Bradford will be responsible for growing IDRC’s revenue by developing IDRC’s relationships with Fortune 1,000 companies as an outsourcing partner for large customer care call center work.  He will concentrate on large, multi-year outsourcing opportunities related to inbound teleservices.    Woods will be responsible for new client development, including inbound sales and service, within the financial services and high-tech industries.

Bradford comes to IDRC with an impressive professional and educational background, including more than 12 years experience in corporate business development in information processing and computer services as well as seven years experience in commercial and investment banking.  He has extensive experience developing and executing revenue growth strategies for various outsourcing companies, including Electronic Payment Services, Inc. (EPS), The BISYS Group, and First Financial Management Corporation (now First Data Corporation).  At EPS, Bradford served as the Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Business Development, responsible for acquisitions, new equity investors and large outsourcing business.  Prior to this, he served as Vice President of Business Development for BISYS Group where he was responsible for the development and marketing of a third-party investment program as well as penetrating new markets.  Bradford’s commercial and investment banking experience included various product management and marketing roles with Union Bank of California, Smith Barney, and Bache Halsey Stuart Shields, Inc. Bradford’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Wesleyan University.  He also completed graduate coursework in business at the University of Texas, Arlington.  Bradford will report to Jill Ward, President of IDRC USA Inbound & Customer Care, and will be based in San Diego. Woods also brings a great deal of talent and experience to IDRC.  Woods has more than 15 years of experience in sales and marketing.  Prior to joining IDRC, he served as Director of Business Development for Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing where he was responsible for new client development and consulted on database-marketing and teleservices initiatives.  Before this, he served as marketing director for Stream International, a technical support provider to Fortune 1000 companies.  Prior to Harte-Hanks, Woods served as Vice President for Technology Research Group where he consulted on new market development for AT&T, IBM, United Technologies, and other clients.  Woods has published articles on a variety of topics for publications such as Forbes, CFO Magazine, The Boston Globe, Marketing Computers, and Marketing News, among others. Woods’ educational background includes an MBA in Marketing and Strategic Management from Boston College, an MA in Journalism from the University of New Hampshire, and a BA from Brown University.  Woods will also report to Jill Ward, and will be based in a satellite office in Boston, Mass.

The headquarters for IDRC USA Inbound & Customer Care are located at 5590 Morehouse Dr., San Diego, CA 92121. For more information, you may contact Kevin Bradford at 619-799-6130 or Tom Woods at 508-893-8070.

One of the world’s leading telemarketing and customer service outsourcing firms, IDRC specializes in providing inbound and outbound telephone and Internet based solutions that target businesses and consumers in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, financial services, and insurance, among others.  Employing customized, state of the art computer and telephone based technologies in its operations; IDRC’s mission is to create value for our clients and opportunity for our people by providing customized call center solutions based on advanced telephony and Internet communications.  With 23 locations within the U.S. and Canada, IDRC employs nearly 6,300 professionals and operates over 3,500 workstations.

IDRC is divided into two geographic functional units  IDRC International and IDRC USA.  Headquartered in Toronto, Ont., S&P Data Corp. operates within IDRC’s International division, and is comprised of three facilities located in Toronto, North Bay, and St. Catharines, Ont.  Combined, these facilities employ nearly 1,800 professionals and have more than 900 workstations.  Recently ranked by Call Center Solutions as a “Top  10” teleservices agency on its annual Top 50 inbound and outbound rankings, S&P Data Corp./IDRC International specializes in providing premier teleservices expertise to the world’s dominant industries.  Their customized programs help clients create value and customer loyalty.

The headquarters for S&P Data Corp./IDRC International are located at One Concorde Gate, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3C 3N6.  For more information, you may call Antje Cavanagh at 888-4SPDATA or 416-443-6864.


Fall Spurt

Revolving credit card debt grew at an annual rate of 8% during October compared to an annual growth rate of  5.3% one year ago. According to preliminary figures released Monday afternoon by the Federal Reserve, consumers added $3.6 billion in revolving consumer credit during October, the largest increase since June. Overall consumer credit is growing 9.0% annually according to the FRB. At the end of October, American consumers were $1.288 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.

            Oct98 Sep98 Aug98 Jul98 Jun98 May98 Apr98 Mar98 Feb98 Jan98
%GRWTH:      8.0%    2.3    4.4  -5.1    9.2    -1.4     5.4 9.1     5.1     4.3
$OWED:     $549.6  546.0  545.0  543.0   545.3   541.2   541.8   539.4 535.3   533.0

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 12/07/98; also note the FRB incorporated new seasonal adjustment factors for January 1993 onward; for complete historical data visit [][1].



First Cross-Border ACH

First of Omaha Merchant Processing announced on September 15, 1998, an Automated Clearing House (ACH) cross- border transfer of corporate debit to Insight Direct’s bank account at Toronto Dominion, Canada.  This marks the one of the first transfers of this type via VisaNet’s ACH Cross-Border Service.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) services have been commonplace to the merchant processing industry.  However, the services have been generally limited to domestic markets.  Only recently, have cross-border ACH transfers been piloted.

“This is an important milestone for First of Omaha.  It is one where continental barriers are dissolving; allowing a financial synergy between two countries and two currencies,” stated Michael Phelan, senior vice president of business development, First of Omaha.  “Transferring funds in this manner results in increased savings to our clients, improves their cash flow and also provides alternatives to traditional treasury funding.”

First of Omaha Merchant Processing

First of Omaha Merchant Processing is a premier processor of domestic and international bankcard transactions for direct marketers, retailers, associations/franchise groups and banks.  Known for its superior customer service, First of Omaha specializes in providing the latest in card processing technology, including an interchange management system which helps clients receive one of the lowest effective interchange rates in the industry.  A wholly owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha, First of Omaha is one of the few remaining in-house bank processors.  First National Bank of Omaha, founded in 1863, is the 32nd oldest nationally chartered bank in existence.


NDC Deal

National Data Corp. announced Monday that it has signed an agreement to provide a number of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. stores with credit card processing services. Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. is the first and largest franchise system of retail stores catering to the backyard bird feeding hobbyist.  The company opened its first store in 1981 and it now has locations throughout North America.


Yahoo! VISA Remodels

First USA and Yahoo! announced a new and improved ‘Yahoo! Platinum VISA’ last week. Apparently in response to NextCard’s success, the ‘Yahoo! VISA’ has cut its introductory rate and now offers a instant, online credit feature. The co-branded card now offers an introductory 3.9% rate for new cardmembers for the first five months. The card’s primary rate is a 9.99% fixed APR with no annual fee. The ‘Yahoo! VISA’ also offers an instant credit feature enabling applicants to immediately go shopping online. For existing cardholders as well as new members, the card program now offers e-mail bill payment option and a personal shopping assistant. In addition to having online access to their account and rewards program information 24-hours-a-day, cardmembers now have the ability to get paperless statements delivered directly through their e-mail address.