Union Bank of California has thrown in the towel on credit cards after announcing the sale yesterday of its portfolio to First National Bank of Omaha. Union Bank will continue in an agent relationship with First National Bank of Omaha. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Union expects the sale to close on April 16 and the portfolio to be fully transferred by Oct 31. According to CardData, Union Bank had $273 million in receivables, 195,000 accounts and nearly 400,000 cards-in-force at the end of 1997. FNB Omaha has been on an acquisition hunt, last year acquiring MI-based Old Kent Bank’s card portfolio.


Lost in Space Phone Cards

MCI and New Line Cinema Corporation have joined forces for the first time, launching a series of joint promotions for “Lost In Space,” one of 1998’s most anticipated movie events. To commemorate the film’s April 3rd release for fans nationwide, special promotional limited edition “Lost In Space” MCI PrePaid Phone Calling Cards are being released.

MCI PrePaid also joins the studio and a host of other corporate participants providing prizes for the “Lost In Space” Radisson/Discover Sweepstakes giveaway, with entries located in 193 Radisson Hotels nationwide. Grand Prize is a trip for four to London. Among various prizes, the winning family will receive 500 units of calling time for their travels abroad – courtesy of MCI PrePaid. MCI and New Line Cinema will further distribute special “Lost In Space” PrePaid gift cards in conjunction with radio promotional partners tied to advanced screenings of the film in ten key markets around the country, as well as to guests of the film’s world premiere on March 29th.

“MCI is excited to help promote a highly anticipated film like ‘Lost In Space,’ and the technology theme makes this movie a perfect fit for us,” said Charlie Wiggs, general manager of MCI PrePaid Markets. “These PrePaid cards give consumers a collectible piece of movie memorabilia with a practical purpose – long distance calling.”

TVT Soundtrax (a division of TVT Records), the company releasing the film’s soundtrack for New Line Cinema, will maximize the studio’s new relationship with MCI by distributing 5,000 of these commemorative prepaid phone cards as a special promotional gift packaged onto the soundtrack in select Sam Goody/MusicLand retail outlets nationwide. Each card features “Lost In Space” studio artwork and includes 10 free minutes of domestic long distance calling time. These MCI PrePaid cards (available in select Sam Goody/MusicLand stores in time for the film’s release), are free with purchase of the soundtrack. The cards are not available for sale anywhere.

Additionally, MCI PrePaid serves as one of the promotional sponsors for a special sneak screening invitational event held at the world famous FAO Schwartz toy store on Fifth Avenue in New York City April 1st.

MCI PrePaid offers a wide selection of prepaid phone cards featuring various images, for sale at retailers nationwide and via the Internet at: www.mci.com/prepaid. Sports, entertainment, and “Social Expressions”-themed cards (which include a free personal messaging feature to record customized greetings to the card recipients) are also available to consumers by calling: 1-888/212-6891.

New Line Cinema presents “Lost In Space,” a Prelude Pictures Production in association with Irwin Allen Productions. Mace Neufeld, Bob Rehme, Richard Saperstein and Michael DeLuca serve as executive producers, with Mark W. Koch, Stephen Hopkins, Akiva Goldsman and Carla Fry producing. Michael Ilitch, Jr. serves as co-executive producer. “Lost in Space” is written by Akiva Goldsman and directed by Stephen Hopkins.

Founded in 1967, New Line Cinema is the entertainment industry’s leading independent producer and distributor of theatrical motion pictures. New Line licenses its films to ancillary markets including cable and broadcast television as well as to international venues. The company, which is a subsidiary of Time Warner Entertainment, operates several divisions including in-house theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, television, acquisitions, production, licensing and merchandising units.

MCI, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a leading provider of local-to-global communication services to business, government and residential users. The company’s fast-growing portfolio of advanced data, Internet and IT services now accounts for nearly a quarter of MCI’s $19.7 billion in annual revenue. MCI operates one of the world’s largest and most advanced digital networks, connecting local markets in the U.S. to more than 280 countries and locations worldwide. MCI has agreed to merge with WorldCom, one of the world’s fastest-growing communications companies. The merger, which is expected to be completed by mid-1998, will create MCI WorldCom, a company uniquely positioned in the U.S. local and long distance markets as well as the global data and Internet markets.


More Wal-Mart ATMs

BankAtlantic announced it has signed an agreement with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to install and operate 128 ATMs inside Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores located in Georgia and Alabama. BankAtlantic currently operates 138 ATMs inside Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in Florida. This agreement with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. marks BankAtlantic’s first banking services venture beyond Florida’s borders.

“Today’s announcement of the agreement to install 128 BankAtlantic ATMs in Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in Georgia and Alabama marks another milestone in our four-year relationship with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. We are proud that Wal*Mart has selected BankAtlantic to provide Wal-Mart shoppers with convenient and reliable ATM services at 69 stores in Georgia and 59 stores in Alabama,” said BankAtlantic Chairman and CEO Alan B. Levan. “When these ATM installations are completed later this year, BankAtlantic’s total ATM network will have grown from 265 ATMs in Florida to 393 ATMs in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.”

ATM installations will begin next week in Georgia, and are expected to be completed by mid-April, 1998. More than 30 ATMs will be located in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Other Georgia ATM locations will include Albany, Savannah, Valdosta, Macon, Augusta, Columbus and Athens. Installation of the Alabama ATMs will be completed in June 1998. Alabama locations will include Auburn, Huntsville, Talladega, Decatur, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Thomasville and Tuscaloosa.

BankAtlantic ATMs are also located at selected Exxon stations, on university and college campuses, in shopping centers and aboard 16 Carnival and Celebrity cruise line ships.

Wal-Mart ATMs operated by BankAtlantic may be accessed free of charge by any BankAtlantic customer.

In addition to its Wal-Mart ATM network, BankAtlantic operates 12 full- service branches in Wal-Mart Super Center stores located in eight counties across Florida. More in-store branches are expected to open in 1998.

BankAtlantic, with assets of $3.1 billion and 65 full-service branches in Florida, is the largest financial institution based in the state. BankAtlantic is a wholly owned subsidiary of BankAtlantic Bancorp (NYSE: BBX) (Nasdaq: BANC), whose common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BBX, and the Nasdaq stock market under the symbol BANC.


Cunningham to Head SCIA

The Smart Card Industry Association (SCIA) announced yesterday that Dan A. Cunningham has been retained as an independent consultant to serve as SCIA president and CEO.

As president and CEO, Cunningham is charged with overseeing operations and guiding the association to the next level–realizing SCIA’s mission of promoting the adoption, use, understanding and innovation of smart card technology in the marketplace.

![][1] “SCIA addresses the issues and demands of a burgeoning industry,” says SCIA Vice President Charles Cagliostro. “To continue to do so requires the attention of an industry expert.” Cunningham will work in concert with the SCIA Board of Directors, as well as Creative Marketing Alliance, Inc., which provides association management, marketing and public relations services, to meet SCIA objectives. “I’m excited about having the opportunity to lift SCIA to a higher level,” says Cunningham. “Membership continues to grow and we look forward to assembling a record number of members next month at our annual meeting during CTST.”

Cunningham previously was president of the SCIA Board of Directors and senior vice president, business development, at Phoenix Planning & Evaluation, Ltd. (Phoenix), a Rockville, Maryland-based consulting firm. “We are sorry to lose Dan’s full-time services,” said Phoenix President Gary Glickman. “However, I’m confident his dedication and knowledge will help realize SCIA’s mission. And, we look forward to continuing to work with Dan as a special consultant.”

Prior to joining Phoenix, Cunningham was president and CEO of Gemplus Card International, Corp. and has served on executive committees for the Board of Directors of the Smart Card Forum, the Electronic Funds Transfer Association and CardTech/SecurTech. He is a frequent speaker at industry events worldwide, including CarteS 97 in Paris and The International Card Manufacturers Association Expo `97 in London. He also is a contributing author of Smart Cards, Seizing Strategic Business Opportunities.

SCIA is a global trade association active in the smart card industry which strives to stimulate the adoption, use, understanding and innovation of smart card technology in the marketplace. SCIA is also a co-founder and sponsor of CardTech/SecurTech, the leading advanced card and security technology conference.

For more information, contact SCIA at 191 Clarksville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648; tel: (800) 848-7242 or (609) 799-5654; fax: (609) 799-7032; or access SCIA’s Web site at .

[1]: /graphic/scia/cunningham.gif


Clear Credit Card

GE Capital’s Monogram Credit Card Bank of Georgia and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. jointly rolled out the ‘AE Clear Card’ yesterday. The see-through private label credit card offers a 10% discount with the first AE purchase, discount coupons, special previews of upcoming fashion collections and advanced notice of special sales and in-store events. GE is charging an APR of prime +10.71%, except in IA and ME, where the card will carry a 21% APR. Joining the current late fee trend, GE is charging a $15 late fee with no-grace-period for late payments, except for IA and WI. Cardholders in IA will have a 30 day late payment grace period and WI cardholders will have a five day late payment grace period. American Outfitters has 335 mall locations in 40 states.


VISA Unplugged

VISA revealed for the first time how far it has come in the business card market yesterday. VISA reported its corporate customer base rose 36.3% last year to 4.3 million accounts. Cardholders of ‘VISA Corporate’, ‘VISA Business’ and ‘VISA Purchasing’ cards accounted for $21.9 billion in volume compared to $15.2 billion for 1996. Business card transactions for 1997 hit 128.7 million compared to 98.8 million for 1996. In a private on- the-record interview with RAM Research president Robert McKinley last June in Maui, Carl Pascarella, VISA USA president, said he had no idea how well VISA’s business card market was doing but said data would be forthcoming. One year later the business card figures are impressive, clearly rivaling American Express’ stronghold on the corporate card market. In September 1993 Pascarella told McKinley, two days after he returned from Japan and assumed the U.S. leadership of VISA USA, he would lead the charge to develop the business card market in America. Clearly he has delivered on the promise.

VISA also reported yesterday its share of PCE (personal consumption expenditure) increased last year to 9.6% compared to 8.7% for 1996. VISA also claimed its overall market share increased to 52.3%, based on data compiled by CA-based HSN Consultants Inc.


Home Run

First USA said Thursday it will market credit cards for four additional ‘Major League Baseball’ teams this year. The new teams include the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks were previously signed by Bank One. First USA has assumed responsibility for the marketing of all Bank One credit cards. Last year First USA signed the Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies and the Seattle Mariners to bank credit card deals.


First IFS Gold-Compliant Firm

Integrion Financial Network and Home Financial Network (HFN) announced Thursday that HFN’s Home ATM software has been awarded a Certificate of Validation and is now fully compliant with Integrion’s Gold Message Standard (Gold). In reaching this important milestone, Home ATM now becomes the first home banking software solution to achieve Gold-certification.

At the same time, HFN announced an initiative to introduce fully bank branded, Gold-compliant versions of Home ATM software designed to every Integrion bank. By so doing, HFN streamlines the integration process and reinforces the brand for each Integrion bank that decides to offer Home ATM to its mass/middle market customers. GOLD Certification of Home ATM HFN’s Home ATM software has successfully completed a comprehensive battery of functionality tests to confirm compliance with the Gold Message Standard. “Integrion required the most thorough certification process we have faced to date,” said Bart Barker, HFN’s vice president of research and development. “Our customers have the satisfaction of knowing no stone was left unturned in an effort to deliver superior software that’s problem-free.”

The Gold Message Standard is the open, cross-platform standard messaging interface employed by Integrion for retail banking transactions within the Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform. The Gold Standard and its associated programming framework provide financial institutions and their allied application developers with the capability to utilize functionality, flexibility, and quick implementation of network-based applications. Gold supports the interactive nature of on-line services as well as the batch protocol needed for personal financial management software, while providing a mechanism for easy customization and management of transaction message content with a complete set of tools.

“It has been a priority of Integrion to work with high quality technology providers such as HFN to develop Gold-compliant, bank branded solutions,” said William M. Fenimore, Jr., CEO and managing director of Integrion. “HFN has worked diligently to complete our Gold certification process and become the first software provider to pass the required tests. We are pleased that they have made this strategic commitment to serve the Integrion banks, which represent the majority of North American households.”

Commenting on HFN’s achievement, Daniel M. Schley, HFN’s chairman and CEO said, “We are extremely pleased to announce that we are ready for business with the Integrion banks, and that we accomplished this milestone months ahead of our original development schedule.” Added Schley, “HFN and Integrion share the same objective – that is, helping banks provide low-cost PC and Internet home banking solutions that their customers will actually activate and use. GOLD-certified Home ATM provides precisely that solution, enabling each Integrion bank to reinforce its brand and to retain control of its customer relationships and its technology future.”

HFN Announces Initiative for Integrion Banks

HFN also announced the debut of a campaign to introduce the new Gold- certified Home ATM to Integrion banks. HFN will proactively create and deliver to each bank a fully bank-branded, code-complete version of HFN’s software for evaluation. This gives banks the opportunity to test and review actual software that is ready to be connected and rolled out to their customers. Those banks targeted include both owners and customers of Integrion.

“This campaign is designed to offer Integrion banks an opportunity to bypass the months of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars ordinarily required for design and development of customized software,” said Eric T. Jacobsen, HFN’s president and COO. “Instead, we are offering them a fully branded, Gold-certified solution for their middle/mass market home banking initiatives that is ready to implement today.”

About Integrion ()

Owned by 17 banks, IBM and Visa USA, Integrion Financial Network provides interactive banking and electronic commerce services to financial institutions. Through the Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform, Integrion offers financial institutions a network through which electronic transactions flow from multiple consumer access points to a bank’s host system and/or processor. Technology partnerships with IBM and CheckFree Corporation allow for the delivery of flexible, high utility applications to financial institutions for the benefit of end customers.

Integrion’s operating philosophy allows banks to determine the manner and format in which home banking and electronic commerce services are offered, ensuring consistency with the bank’s full range of services, effective branding by the bank and maximum customer benefit.

About Home Financial Network, Inc. ()

Home Financial Network of Westport, CT, is the premier developer of Internet banking software tailored to middle/mass market customers. HFN provides fully customized, bank-branded, PC-banking solutions to financial institutions, home banking outsourced service providers, and bill-payment processors. HFN has formal technology and marketing alliances with CheckFree, Security First and First Data Corporation, as well as leading home-banking platform vendors. The HFN management team are seasoned and successful home banking entrepreneurs. HFN offers technology leadership to banks through state-of-the-art transactional and marketing functions, sophisticated user interface features, economy and speed of implementation, and low technology support costs. HFN products are Y2K-compliant and conform to all major home banking protocols, including GOLD ADMS and OFX.

For more information, contact: Robert McGrath, The Weiser Group at 212-684-4440; Ann Marie Lochner, Lochner & Hawk at 908-852-3656; Tom Dittrich, Home Financial Network at 203-341-7403.


Millenium Signs First Firm

Millennium Solutions, an e-commerce solutions provider out of San Clemente (), was selected to develop on-line credit card verification software for American Merchant, Newport Beach, Calif. ().

American Merchant is the first credit card merchant service provider company to sell credit card services through the Internet. Small businesses can purchase packages with a merchant account, Web page, secure order form and real time on-line processing for $495. The on-line verification makes it easy for small businesses to place orders instead of the traditional method of using credit card terminal. The Web site allows businesses to market products or services to the Web.

Millennium Solutions was selected based on the experience they have with developing on-line verification, shopping cart technology and database integration. “We looked at several other companies and none were able or confident enough to provide us with the final product that Millennium Solutions did,” said Victor Olechno, American Merchant president and chief executive officer. The software that was developed can be used for single or multiple products and can easily be integrated into an existing Web site.

Consumer purchasing on the Web is increasing. Eighty-five percent of small business Web sites do not have any type of on-line purchasing available. Many development companies have made on-line processing unaffordable for the two to three product businesses on the Web. Increasing requests to sell products on the Internet pushed American Merchant to develop this new concept. Most credit card processing companies will not expect merchant applications if they are Internet businesses, because of the high risk involved. American Merchant is specializing in Internet accounts because of the direct relationship they have with several banks that are accepting Internet businesses.

For additional questions, demonstration or interview call Nicole Baker at 800/404-9926, or [nicole@millenniumnet.com][1].

[1]: mailto:nicole@millenniumnet.com


American Banknote Signs Second Major Smart Card Deal

American Banknote Corporation today reported, before non-recurring charges, earnings of $0.6 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, on sales of $87.9 million for the quarter ended December 31, 1997, as compared to earnings of $2.9 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, on sales of $91.9 million for the same period in 1996.

The fourth-quarter 1997 results reflect an extraodinary loss resulting from the early extinguishment of debt of $0.27 per diluted share, or approximately $5.6 million net of tax benefit. Also reflected in 1997 earnings is a one-time charge of $0.07 per diluted share, or approximately $1.5 million after taxes, for a loss on a treasury rate lock agreement. Comparable 1996 results reflect earnings after a one-time non-cash charge of $0.08 per diluted share for a litigation reserve, or approximately $1.6 million after taxes.

Earnings for 1997 were $5.3 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, on sales of $336 million, as compared to earnings of $5.7 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, on sales of $309.5 million during 1996. Again, this comparison reflects earnings before non-recurring charges.

Morris Weissman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “As previously announced, the fourth quarter was disappointed due to the reduction of phone card volumes in Brazil, lower than expected sales in Australia and the weakening of the Australian dollar. We are, however, continuing to reposition the Company to take advantage of growth in transaction cards and systems, as well as the electronic commerce arena generally.”

Weissman concluded, “As we expand and reposition our business, improving our capital structure becomes essential. We are exploring a number of alternatives which, if successful, will permit us to accelerate our growth in this dynamic electronic media.”

Leigh-Mardon, American Banknote’s Australian-based subsidiary, was awarded its second major smartcard contract by the Victorian Taxi Directorate. The contract, expected to be worth approximately $1.5 million over three years, is the second major “non-pilot” commercial smartcard application in Australia, following the Telestra contract, awarded to the Company in September, 1997. Leigh-Mardon will supply smartcards to all taxi drivers and 170,000 members of a government-sponsored program that ensures the mobility of disabled people. The personalized reusable mircoprocessor cards will store taxi fare and trip details. Mr. Weissman commented, “This contract again demonstrates our advantage being the major local producer of smartcards in Australia. Furthermore, it is significant in that it is our first major smartcard contract for the transportation industry which we perceive to be a tremendous area for growth worldwide.”

American Banknote Corporation is a leading global full-service provider of secure transaction solutions in carefully selected markets along three major product groups: Transaction Cards & Systems, Printing Services & Document Management, and Security Printing Solutions. A combined strategy of operating along product lines and constant expansion of transaction activities worldwide reflects the rapidly changing field of electronic commerce. Additionally, American Banknote, via its Holographics subsidiary, is the world leader in security for financial transaction cards, including VISA, MasterCard, Discover, Diners Club International, and Europay.