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.


Graham Goes to Natl City

National City Corporation announced Friday that Cynthia A. Graham has joined the company as executive vice president, Retail Sales and Distribution and will lead its database marketing and data warehousing efforts.

Graham, former president of Barnett Card Services Corporation in Jacksonville, FL, has a long history of successfully managing database marketing efforts in the consumer finance arena.  While at Barnett, Graham managed the company’s successful development of database marketing programs for credit cards.  Graham’s specialties include using database tools to analyze customer profitability and to conduct customer segmentation modeling to direct targeted marketing efforts.  She has held responsibility for business lines with $1.6 billion in outstanding receivables and managed database marketing efforts targeted at both customer households and non- customer prospects.

Graham will report directly to National City executive vice president James R. Bell III, who heads the company’s retail sales and distribution functions.

“After conducting a nation-wide search, we are very excited to find and hire someone of Cynthia’s caliber and are eager to see her put her skills and experience to work at the helm of our database marketing efforts,” Bell said. “Database marketing has become one of our most important and successful sales initiatives in recent years and it is crucial that we have a top-notch expert such as Cynthia to lead this program into future phases of development,” he added.

National City’s database marketing efforts have been in place for approximately three years and over the last two years have expanded to include data warehouse functions.  The programs use computer modeling of customer data to determine which National City products and services best suit any given customer’s needs at each point of their life cycle.  The programs maintain strict confidentiality of customer data, while enabling the company’s various business units to target specific customers for marketing efforts.

“I am extremely pleased to find and join a company that incorporates leading-edge technology into these sophisticated marketing strategies,” Graham said.  “I am a big believer that database marketing not only can produce excellent marketing results at lower costs, but at the same time can reduce the aggravation of inappropriate marketing efforts to customers who do not need or want particular bank products.  Clearly, database marketing is the way to bring the right product to the right customer at the right time.”

Profile of National City Corporation:

National City Corporation is an $83 billion bank holding company based in Cleveland, Ohio.  The company offers a full range of financial services, including investment banking, brokerage, insurance and traditional banking services, to individuals and businesses.  National City has offices in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.  National City can be found on the World Wide Web at .


Super Data

AR-based Acxiom Corp. announced the development of ‘InfoBase Profiler’ via the ‘Acxiom Data Network’. The program is due for release Apr. 1. ‘InfoBase Profiler’,  will be the first and only consumer data product that can take a consumer’s telephone number and/or name and address, and return demographic data. Leveraging the ‘Acxiom Data Network’, ‘InfoBase Profiler’ delivers a comprehensive census and household data profile and profile score in sub-second time. The program provides sub-second and express batch access to demographic data for integration with customer’s marketing and operations-level applications. ‘InfoBase Profiler’ also provides the option of using ‘InfoBase Lifestage Segmentation Codes’ (scores) or using InfoBase data to create or customize segmentation scores.  ‘InfoBase Lifestage Segmentation Codes’ is a segmentation system divided into 42 major life segments that can be further fine-tuned into 252 sub-segments.  Acxiom’s ‘InfoBase’ currently collects data from over 15 million major data sources and provides over 1.5 billion source records.  It contains demographic information on 95% of U.S. households.


BankBoston Debit

BankBoston and First Data Resources signed a five year agreement Friday to provide off-line debit card processing for more than one million BankBoston debit accounts. First Data also provides credit card processing services for BankBoston through an agreement with Partners First Holdings, LLC., a credit card services company formed in January of this year by Bank of Montreal, Harris Bank, BankBoston, and First Annapolis.