Mobil’s ‘Speedpass’, a wireless credit card payment system, will add 900 locations this morning to bring the total number of Mobil stations equipped with ‘Speedpass’ technology to over 3,300. Also this morning, ‘Speedpass’ will be introduced in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Milwaukee and Las Vegas metro areas, thus completing the roll-out of the program to all of Mobil’s major gasoline marketing areas in the U.S.. Mobil’s wireless payment program was introduced last year in 20 major U.S. metro areas and now has more than 1.5 million motorists enrolled in the program. Consumers must enroll to acquire a ‘Speedpass’, which is a transponder device attached to a key chain or the rear window of the car. There is no fee and enrollment is handled via telephone, Mobil’s Web site or by completing a form at Mobil’s service stations.Details
Loyalty cards are red hot in the U.K. with more than 40 million such cards in circulation representing a market penetration of 75%. Sainsbury’s ‘Reward’ card, slightly more than two years old, recently surpassed the 10 million cardholder milestone. A study released last week by the Kingston Business School confirmed there is no “loyalty fatigue” for reward card programs in the U.K. so far. Kingston found that nearly 50% of all U.K. shoppers preferred a reward card over a discount.Details
Columbia Capital Corp announced Friday that it has signed a Letter of Intent to acquire Berwyn Holdings, Inc., from the majority shareholders of CLCK, Glenn Gallant and Douglas Baetz. Gallant and Baetz will receive additional shares in CLCK in return for 100% of the stock in Berwyn. The final price for the acquisition will be determined by a fairness opinion and approval of the purchase will require the unanimous consent of the independent Directors of the Columbia.
Ken Klotz, president of Columbia, said that Berwyn would be operated as a separate subsidiary of Columbia, upon completion of the acquisition. Berwyn, with offices in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Wilmington, DE, and Thornton, CO, provides a full complement of credit card services, including credit processing, customer service, collections, accounting and settlement for over 560,000 accounts presently processed by First Independent Computers, Inc., (FICI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia. Harold Hendrickson, president of Berwyn stated, “This union will expand the capabilities of both companies and provide a synergy which will give Columbia a distinct advantage over other card servicers and processors, by providing marketing, processing, and servicing to all potential clients. Finally, financial institutions can go to one vendor for all of its needs, truly one-stop shopping. Not only can we market cardholder servicing to our client banks, we will now have the ability to offer a full banking solution with the Kirchman Dimension 3000, fully Year 2000-compliant, system.”
The addition of Berwyn will add a significant new facet to the services available from Columbia, making it possible for Columbia to offer true turnkey solutions to any financial institution. Armed with the recent agreement with PaySys International, Inc. (PaySys), the VisionPLUS management solution and processing system will allow Berwyn to process and service all types of accounts. “We will not be forced to make old software fit the new, non-traditional card products that the banks are now offering or considering,” said Hendrickson. Klotz stated that, at present levels, the acquisition of Berwyn will produce an additional $20 million in revenues for CLCK, annually. For the first five months of the year, Berwyn had gross revenues of $6,876,879 and net income, after tax, on an unaudited basis, of $1,055,525.
Columbia Capital Corp. operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, First Independent Computers, Inc., which is a multi-faceted information and transaction processing service organization. The services provided by the Company include credit and debit card processing, transaction processing for the health care industry, bank and financial services processing and document management and distribution services. The Company concentrates on a niche market, consisting of small to medium-sized financial institutions, and health care providers that have not achieved the economies of scale to operate their own in-house programs and systems.Details
Three Discover ‘Private Issue Card’ celebrity artists assembled this week at Les Celebrites Restaurant in New York’s Essex House Hotel to celebrate the opening of the new Celebrity Gallery, displaying works by artists that have been featured on the ‘Private Issue Card’. Phil Collins, Randy Travis and Patrick Ewing along with actor and fellow artist Billy Dee Williams and actress and singer Deborah Gibson serving as co-emcees, pulled golden cords to release a burgundy sash across the entrance to The Private Issue Gallery at Les Celebrites. The art will be on loan to the restaurant indefinitely. Since 1995, Private Issue has featured works of celebrity artists on its card, including those by Ringo Starr, Jane Seymour, Anthony Quinn and Florence Griffith Joyner.Details
NationsBank announced Wednesday it will begin offering its payroll debit card to its commercial and corporate customers, effective immediately. ‘CashPay’ enables employers to pay employees electronically and offers employees the benefit of having 24-hour access to their money. If an employee chooses to receive pay via ‘CashPay’, their money is deposited directly into their ‘CashPay’ account on payday. They can then access it at any automated teller machine or PIN-based POS terminals. Employers can include their ‘CashPay’ employees on the same tape or transmission they currently send their bank to support direct deposit of payroll payments via the ACH. NationsBank says employers will no longer have to support two systems for payroll; nor will they have to deal with safely transporting checks to remote company offices or arrange for check cashing agreements with banks in areas not supported by their primary financial institution.Details
American Express made an undisclosed, minority investment in CA-based CitySearch yesterday. The two companies also signed a joint marketing agreement. CitySearch, with 550 employees nationwide, works with local media, government, community and business groups and educational institutions to develop comprehensive, up-to-date online city sites. The company has 16 city sites launched or underway, some through its newspaper company partners. Current city sites include New York City, Portland, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Sydney and Toronto. They feature original content covering arts and entertainment events, community activities, recreation, shopping, news, sports and weather. In addition, CitySearch provides small- and medium-sized businesses with affordable Web site development and hosting services.Details
Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services signed a five-year, $5 million processing agreement with NM-based CUSO, CU Anytime. Currently there are fourteen major New Mexico credit unions with 73 ATMs who have transferred the management and operation of their ATMs to CU Anytime. ACS will convert all these ATMs to its operating platform, and perform all the processing for the CU Anytime ATM Network. Also under terms of yesterday’s agreement ACS will provide a electronic commerce services for CU Anytime and its participating credit unions. These services include production and distribution of ATM and debit cards, all authorizations, and complete electronic funds processing.Details
U.S. Wireless Data Inc. announced Wednesday it has renewed its consulting agreement with Liviakis Financial Communications Inc. for a new period beginning August 1, 1998 and ending March 15, 1999.
CEO Evon Kelly commented, “Liviakis Financial has been very productive and instrumental in much of our corporate evolution. We are proud to continue the association.”
John Liviakis also commented, “Like many small, fast growing young companies, U.S. Wireless Data has been facing and prevailing through many challenges. Its absolutely clear to us, though, that the company’s pioneering technology and its competitive position cannot be taken lightly. The recent signing of three national sales and marketing agreements with Ameritech, Bell Atlantic and GTE validates our theorem and establishes a formidable distribution infrastructure. Additionally, we believe the company’s unique recurring revenue strategy, participating in each credit card swipe, creates a compelling long term economic model. Finally, as a positive gesture to the financial markets, our firm has volunteered to lock up its large stock holdings in USWD for an extended period. This, along with our new contract agreement, serves as further commitment and enthusiasm for this project.”
U.S. Wireless Data Inc. has developed, tested and is now delivering new proprietary products, programs and standards for the transaction processing and credit card industry which utilizes wireless cellular digital packet data (CDPD) networks. USWD delivers the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solution to retail merchants in the United States today. The company has joint marketing initiatives in place with Ameritech, GTE Wireless and Bell Atlantic Mobile.Details
SAP AG, a leading provider of enterprise client/server business solutions, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, a leading management and technology consulting firm, have agreed to develop extended applications within the Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) set of solutions for SAP Banking. SAP Banking contains a comprehensive set of integrated industry-specific solutions that enable line and executive management to have a consistent view of their business. This consistency helps to improve efficiency and competitiveness. By combining SAP’s technology and business solutions expertise with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ SAP experience and banking industry knowledge, the two firms will deliver a robust, flexible solution that will enable banks to become more agile and competitive.
The SEM applications enable a large financial institution to track and monitor the key drivers of profitability from a consistent set of data using advanced technology. The world-class functionality delivered through these applications eliminates inconsistent data and numerous reconciliation points that have traditionally been problems for banks.
The recently announced SAP Banking SEM solution includes Risk Analyzer, Profit Analyzer and Strategy Analyzer. The SAP and PricewaterhouseCoopers collaboration will lead to the creation of new components within Risk Analyzer for Credit Risk, and within Strategy Analyzer for Advanced Performance Measurement. These new components will include:
— credit risk and counterparty limits with exposure tracking Strategy Analyzer
— enhanced business planning and forecasting to build upon the existing Asset Liability Management (ALM) capability
— Risk Adjusted Return on Capital (RAROC), free cash flow valuations, balanced scorecard reporting, and value-based reporting
All of the new components can be integrated within the SAP Banking SEM, the SAP Business Framework. Profit Analyzer, Risk Analyzer for Market Risk components are now available globally and Strategy Analyzer for ALM will be released in August 1998.
“This cooperative venture combines the world-renowned SAP capabilities in delivering business solutions and technical architectures with the excellent Banking industry and SAP expertise of PricewaterhouseCoopers,” said Bernd Dexheimer Director of the SAP Industry Business Unit for Banking. “Together, SAP and PricewaterhouseCoopers will add significant capabilities for strategic management of financial institutions.”
SAP and PricewaterhouseCoopers are currently defining the business and technical requirements of the enhanced SEM solution, including Risk Analyzer for credit risk and Strategy Analyzer for Advanced Performance Measurement, in the spirit of TeamSAP , where SAP, its partners and customers work together to ensure successful customer implementations. Over the next several months, SAP and PricewaterhouseCoopers will work with charter customers in North America and the United Kingdom to provide input and priorities for development. These institutions will have a unique opportunity to help guide the development process for one of the most exciting set of applications for the banking industry.
“We are very excited about working with SAP on this truly revolutionary suite of products. Our extensive financial services industry experience, coupled with our proven track record of success in implementing SAP at large, global enterprises will be leveraged to develop a product that is in direct response to the precise needs of the financial services community” said Steve Watson, financial services partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London.
“This functionality provides an integrated solution to meet the ever changing demands of the financial services industry. By leveraging the core R/3(TM) product and SEM functionality, financial institutions will be now be able to deliver enterprise wide information across management-defined dimensions in a streamlined and efficient manner,” comments Dan DiFilippo, financial services partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York. “This platform is envisioned to be flexible enough to provide for the integration of proprietary systems and/or third party components where appropriate.”
SAP is a market and technology leader in client/server enterprise application software, providing comprehensive solutions for companies of all sizes and all industry sectors. Cultivating innovative technologies on a solid foundation of business experience, SAP delivers scalable solutions that enable its customers to continually improve upon best business practices. SAP products empower people to respond quickly and decisively to dynamic market conditions, helping businesses achieve and maintain a competitive advantage.
Founded in 1972, SAP is based in Walldorf, Germany, and employs more than 15,000 people at offices in more than 450 countries who are dedicated to providing a high level of support and service for the more than 15,000 installations of R/3 worldwide. The SAP World Wide Web site can be found at .
PricewaterhouseCoopers ([http://www.pwcglobal.com]), the world’s largest professional services organization, helps its clients build value, manage risk and improve their performance.
Drawing on the talents of more than 140,000 people in 152 countries, PricewaterhouseCoopers provides a full range of business advisory services to leading global, national and local companies and to public institutions. These services include audit, accounting and tax advice; management, information technology and human resource consulting; financial advisory services including mergers & acquisitions, business recovery, project finance and litigation support; business process outsourcing services; and legal services through a global network of affiliated law firms.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers Financial Services Industry practice provides a wide range of professional services including accounting, tax, regulatory and management consulting services to commercial banks, savings institutions, securities firms, investment and insurance companies, and real estate firms. With several key areas of specialization, the practice helps financial institutions manage their growth, performance, costs, operations, information systems, and credit, market and operating risks.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the largest SAP product implementers in the world. The PricewaterhouseCoopers Global SAP Practice is a leader in the market in terms of live implementations, global infrastructure and training to support the consistent delivery of SAP implementation services around the world, and a suite of integrated tools including an on-line integrated methodology. PricewaterhouseCoopers has more than 6,500 trained SAP consultants in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. The firm received seven SAP Awards of Excellence in 1997.
SAP, R/3, SAP Banking, TeamSAP, SAP Business Framework and all SAP product and service names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG.
Star Banc and Firstar signed definitive agreements yesterday to merge, thus creating the 21st largest U.S. bank holding company with assets of more than $38 billion.The combined company will have more 3 million customers via 720 branch locations in eight Midwest states and Arizona, plus trust operations in Florida. The merged company will also have more than $1.2 billion in credit card receivables and more than 962,000 accounts. Star Banc and Firstar have more than 1,400 ATM’s between them. Since the two companies have no geographical overlap there are no merger-related branch closings planned. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter or early in the first quarter of 1999.
MERGER CREDIT CARD SNAPSHOT (EOY 1997)
RECV ACCTS ACTIVES CARDS
Firstar $803,000,000 710,000 598,000 1,115,000
Star Banc $436,100,000 252,246 163,000 366,000
TOTALS $1,239,100,000 962,246 761,000 1,481,000
VISA U.S.A. announced yesterday it will extend its sponsorship of the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team through the 1999 season. Under terms of the original agreement, signed in January, VISA receives brand exclusivity worldwide, as well as branding on team apparel and on all team support vehicles. VISA and the Postal Service said yesterday they will jointly celebrate the sponsorship extension and the cycling team’s inclusion in the 1998 ‘Tour de France’ with a special cardholder promotion at 765 USPS retail postal stores nationwide. Through the end of July, consumers who use their VISA cards for a purchase of $15 or more at the postal stores will receive a free water sports bottle. VISA said yesterday it logged 35.7 million postal transactions representing more than $1.2 billion in purchases for the twelve-month period ending May 31.Details
First Data Corporation has retained American Express Retirement Services, a division of American Express Financial Advisors Inc., and American Express Trust Company, to provide investment funds, daily recordkeeping, trust services and employee education for its $600 million Incentive Savings Plan, effective November 1, 1998.
“We’re very excited about our relationship with First Data,” said Ward Armstrong, president of American Express Retirement Services. “With First Data as a fellow member of the financial services industry, our plan recordkeeping, our products and our services are an excellent fit with First Data, and we look forward to the working synergy that this relationship will produce.”
! American Express Retirement Services will provide services for First Data’s qualified and non-qualified plans. More than 22,000 employees — or over 60 percent of its total workforce — currently participate in the plans.
The Incentive Savings Plan will offer investment options provided through American Express Financial Advisors Inc., American Express Trust Company and the SmartPartners alliance, comprising a three-tier menu of plan options with a total offering of 15 investment funds.
First Data Corporation is among the world’s leading providers of payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or stored-value card at the point of sale or over the Internet, by check or wire money. First Data Corporation has 36,000 employees worldwide.
In conjunction with American Express Trust Company, American Express Retirement Services provides services for combined defined contribution and 401(k) assets of $35 billion and a participant base of nearly 800,000. The division, based in Minneapolis, provides corporations and municipalities with a complete package of employee education, recordkeeping and trustee services for qualified retirement plans. Additionally, American Express Retirement Services sits on the policy board of the American Savings and Education Council (ASEC) and holds one of three American Express positions on the current White House Task Force on Savings.
American Express Retirement Services makes investments available through American Express Financial Advisors Inc. American Express Retirement Services is a division of American Express Financial Advisors Inc., a subsidiary of American Express Financial Corporation, an American Express Company.
For further information about assessing one’s retirement plan, consult “The 401(k) Site” online at: