APEC Biz Travel Card

Starting next Monday frequent business travelers who reside in the five Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation partner countries will be able to get applications for a new travel pass card permitting express immigration clearance in Hong Kong. Applications will be accepted beginning January 26. The card will cost about US$65 and is available only to nationals of the 170 countries that do not require a visa to visit Hong Kong. The HKSAR government will issue a maximum of 10,000 APEC ‘Business Travel Cards’.

Details

Advanced ECO 5000

New application areas are being discovered for the smart card almost every day, bringing a growth in demand for universal card readers which allow for fast card data access. With its ECO 5000 smart card reader, ORGA is now marketing an advanced device suitable for a wide variety of applications, especially in the end user area.

Prevailing standards for various smart card applications were taken into account when the ECO 5000 was still in the development phase, in order to ensure the reader’s optimum versatility. The card reader thus conforms to ISO 7816, complies with the HBCI specification for home banking as well as the relevant specifications for electronic purse systems.

ECO 5000 is available either as a desktop unit or as an integrated card reader for PCs, and is particularly suitable for flexible use in modern smart card solutions. It provides for communications conforming to Home Banking Computer Interface (HBCI) security level 1, based on a uniform API (Application Programming Interface), which standardizes access to all devices of the ECO product family.

The device, which runs under Windows 95/Windows NT, is simply connected to the parallel port of a PC, without interfering with printer operation. A version for connection to the USB port is currently being developed.

The basic configuration of the ECO 5000 supports protocols for processor cards and memory chipcards.

ORGA USA is the North American subsidiary of ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH Germany, one of the world’s leading developers of microprocessor-based smart card technology, with more than 550 employees worldwide. ORGA offers turnkey solutions for health care, banking, telecommunications and other emerging markets. ORGA has subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Great Britain, France, USA, CIS, China and South Africa as well as an agency in Singapore. Visit ORGA’s Web site at [www.orga.com][1]

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

Details

Checkmate Eckerd Deal

Checkmate Electronics received a $3 million order from Eckerd Drug Stores yesterday for Checkmate’s ‘CM 2001’ EBT/credit/debit terminal. Eckerd will immediately deploy the terminals throughout its 2,000 stores. The deal also includes warranty purchases of more than $300,000. Eckerd has already deployed Checkmate’s ‘CMR 430’ check readers throughout its chain. JC Penney, Eckerd’s parent company, has installed about 50,000 ‘CMR 430s’.

Details

ECAC Signs Detroit Bank

Carnegie International Corp.’s subsidiary Electronic Card Acceptance Corp. (ECAC) has entered into an agreement with Franklin Bank to provide credit card processing services to Franklin Bank merchant customers.

Franklin Bank, servicing Metropolitan Detroit, is headquartered in Southfield, Mich. and has total assets of approximately $500 million.

This agreement provides that Franklin Bank’s credit card processing merchants be referred into ECAC’s joint venture arrangement. Franklin has over 7,000 merchants of which the joint venture expects to convert 40 percent within the next 12 months.

ECAC expects the annualized value of business to be written during fiscal year 1998 to total $330 million in merchant credit card volume, and based on historical data, $1,590,000 in revenues with a projected net profit of $1,065,000. Franklin Bank will receive a share of the projected revenues as their ongoing compensation for the agreement.

Lowell Farkas, president and chief executive officer of Carnegie International Corp., said, “This previously planned transaction is the first of three integral steps to achieve our planned 1998 earnings estimate of $0.20 per share.”

Details

Comical AmEx

American Express will debut a new network TV commercial this weekend in conjunction with the NFL playoffs featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Superman. Combining animation and live action, the TV spot marks the first time the cartoon superhero will appear with a major celebrity in an advertisement. American Express recently signed agreements with DC Comics to use the “Man of Steel” cartoon. Warner Bros Animation and Ogilvy & Mather created the new commercials.

Details

Triton CDPD ATMs

Triton announced Thursday it will shortly offer ‘Cellular Digital Packet Data’ technology as an option to its current line of ATMs. The company also indicated it will provide the capability to upgrade existing ‘Triton ATMs’ to CDPD this year. Triton estimates the cost of adding the CDPD option will run less than $1,000 per ATM. Triton has about 15,000 ATMs installed nationwide and is certified in dial-up mode by 18 EFT processors.

Details

TSYS Exceeds 20% for 97

Total System Services, Inc. announced Thursday record revenues and net income for the year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 1997.

Net income for 1997 increased 20.4% to $47.5 million, or $.37 per share, up from $39.4 million, or $.31 per share, for the same period last year. Revenues for 1997 were $361.5 million, an increase of 16.0%, compared with revenues of $311.6 million reported for 1996.

Net income for the quarter increased 11.1% to $15.8 million, or $.12 per share, up from $14.2 million, or $.11 per share, for the same period last year.  Revenues for the fourth quarter of 1997 were $96.5 million, an increase of 12.4%, compared with revenues of $85.9 million for the fourth quarter of 1996.

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Richard W. Ussery, said, “We are extremely proud of our results for 1997.  We expanded our international presence in Canada during the fourth quarter with the signing of Canadian Tire Acceptance Limited, one of Canada’s largest private-label issuers and its fifth largest MasterCard issuer, and Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank, to long-term processing agreements.  To better serve our Canadian clients, TSYS will open an office in Canada in 1998, initially employing approximately 20 people.  We also signed BB&T Corporation in Winston-Salem, N.C. to a multi-year processing contract.  Conversions of these portfolios will add approximately 12 million accounts to our cardholder base. These signings are a confirmation that our state-of-the-art TS2 cardholder system offers unequaled levels of service and performance beyond any application in today’s card processing domain.”

Ussery continued, “We had significant growth in cardholder accounts on file, increasing our account base from 79.4 million at year-end 1996 to more than 92.8 million at year-end 1997.  This growth is primarily attributable to internal growth of our existing clients as well as new clients such as Nordstrom and Harley-Davidson.”

Ussery also said, “During the year, we were pleased to receive a number of honors.  The Company was named to Forbes’ Annual 200 Best Small Companies in America List, one of only two companies who has made Forbes’ listing for ten consecutive years.  Synovus Financial Corp. and its affiliates, including TSYS, was named #11 in FORTUNE’s 100 Best Places to Work for in America list. This recognition is a validation of our belief that people are our most valuable asset and an affirmation of what we are doing with our people development programs.  As we enter our fifteenth year, we anticipate 1998 to be another solid year for TSYS.”

Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., TSYS is one of the world’s largest credit, debit, commercial and private-label card processing companies, serving card issuing institutions located throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico, representing more than 92 million cardholder accounts.  TSYS provides a comprehensive on-line system of data processing services marketed as THE TOTAL SYSTEM(R).  In 1996, TSYS formed a joint venture with Visa(R) U.S.A. to create Vital Processing Services L.L.C. (), a leading full-service merchant services provider.  TSYS’ 1997 revenues totaled $361.5 million; the company is an 80.7 percent owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE SNV) (), a $9.3 billion asset, multi-financial services company and a component of the Standard and Poors 500 Index.  Synovus also includes 34 banking affiliates in four Southeastern states, a full- service brokerage firm, a comprehensive trust services provider and a mortgage services company.  TSYS’ Internet address is .

                         TOTAL SYSTEM SERVICES, INC.
                             Financial Highlights
                    (in thousands, except per share data)

                                        Three months ended
                                            December 31,
                                                                 Percentage
                                       1997            1996        Change
    Revenues                        $96,491          85,878          12.4 %
    Expenses                         76,979          66,440          15.9
    Equity in Income of
    Joint Ventures                    3,186           2,057          54.9
    Operating Income                 22,698          21,495           5.6
    Other Income                        735             471          56.1
    Income before Income
    Taxes                            23,433          21,966           6.7
    Income Taxes                      7,638           7,745          (1.4)
    Net Income                      $15,795          14,221          11.1
    Basic Earnings Per Share           $.12             .11          11.0
    Average Common Shares
    Outstanding                 129,325,521     129,289,680           —
    Diluted Earnings Per Share         $.12             .11          11.0
    Average Common and Common
    Equivalent Shares
    Outstanding                 129,550,471     129,458,179           —

                                      Twelve months ended
                                           December 31,
                                                                 Percentage
                                       1997            1996        Change
    Revenues                       $361,499         311,648          16.0 %
    Expenses                        301,570         259,745          16.1
    Equity in Income of
    Joint Ventures                    9,347           7,094          31.8
    Operating Income                 69,276          58,997          17.4
    Other Income                      2,279           1,447          57.5
    Income before Income
    Taxes                            71,555          60,444          18.4
    Income Taxes                     24,077          21,007          14.6
    Net Income                      $47,478          39,437          20.4
    Basic Earnings Per Share           $.37             .31          20.4
    Average Common Shares
    Outstanding                 129,304,249     129,287,493           —
    Diluted Earnings Per Share         $.37             .30          20.4
    Average Common and Common
    Equivalent Shares
    Outstanding                 129,492,371     129,451,098           —

SOURCE  Total System Services, Inc.

Details

NOVA-MBNA Connection

Atlanta-based NOVA Information Systems made it official yesterday that it has acquired a second merchant portfolio from MBNA America. The transaction, which closed December 30, represents about $1.0 billion in annual credit card volume, and primarily consists of professionals such as physicians, accountants and attorneys. Under terms of last week’s deal, NOVA will enter into an exclusive, long-term marketing agreement with MBNA to provide payment processing services to merchant accounts originated through MBNA. In October 1992 NOVA purchased a general merchant portfolio from MBNA representing about $1.4 billion in processing volume. Last year NOVA acquired Crestar’s merchant portfolio and recently signed merchant processing joint ventures with Firstar and KeyCorp.

Details

NDC Signs Advanced Health

Advanced Health Corporation , and National Data Corporation announced Thursday a marketing agreement that would make real-time laboratory information more accessible to health care providers nationwide.

Under the terms of the agreement, National Data will partner with Advanced Health’s subsidiary Advanced Health Bukstel & Halfpenny (AHB&H), to provide a laboratory information database service for physicians, hospitals and integrated delivery systems.

National Data Corporation is a leading provider of health information services and products across multiple segments of the health care industry. As the leading processor of health care transactions, NDC will license AHB&H’s software and integrate it into its existing EDI network. NDC, which has been in the health information services business for more than 20 years, currently processes more than 1 billion health related transactions annually in support of its customer base.

“This is an important agreement for our company,” said Advanced Health’s Chairman and CEO Jon Edelson, MD. “In leveraging NDC’s extensive network, we are taking significant steps to create a standard physician interface for clinical information requests and other forms of electronic commerce. Having real time access to this data can positively impact the quality of our country’s health care and significantly impact its costs. NDC’s national scope of operations will help make this interface possible. Our applications will simplify lab data transfer across NDC’s customers’ health care delivery networks and give providers immediate value.”

According to Richard Cohan, NDC’s general manager of Health Network Services, “National Data’s health care customers have expressed a need for integrated lab results reporting. These applications fit very well with our long-term strategy of offering complete solutions to our customers. We look forward to marketing this new capability on a national scale.”

National Data Corporation offers value-added information services and systems to a broad range of health care customers, including physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and dentists. It also serves HMOs, insurance carriers, nursing homes, outpatient clinics and government health care agencies. In the payment systems market, National Data provides a wide array of credit, debit, check, smart card, purchase card and Internet-based services. It serves 1.2 million merchants in North America, 12,000 corporations, more than 700 financial institutions and numerous federal and state government agencies.

Advanced Health Corporation is a leading physician practice management company that vertically integrates practice and network management services with clinical information systems. Unlike other physician practice management companies, Advanced Health partners with – instead of purchases – physician group practices, thereby maintaining physicians’ independence and providing the optimal incentives to achieve practice success. ADVH provides physician practice and network management and consulting services through its Advanced Health Management subsidiary and currently serves over 1,800 physicians. ADVH provides clinical information systems through its Advanced Health Med-E-Systems and Advanced Health Bukstel & Halfpenny subsidiaries to physicians and health care organizations nationwide, including over 40 hospitals. These systems provide physicians with patient-specific clinical and health plan information at the point of care to improve the quality and reduce the costs of health care.

When used in this report, press releases and elsewhere by management of National Data Corporation, from time to time, the words “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s operations, economic performance and financial condition, including in particular, the likelihood of the Company’s success in developing and expanding its business. These statements are based on a number of assumptions and estimates which are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company, and reflect future business decisions which are subject to change. A variety of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the Company’s forward-looking statements, some of which include competition in the market for the Company’s services, continued expansion of the Company’s product and service offerings and other risk factors that are discussed from time to time in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) reports and other filings. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligations to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or thereof, as the case may be, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Details

Ecuadorian Bank to Issue AmEx

Filanbanco and American Express today announced an Independent Operator agreement in which Filanbanco will issue American Express Cards in Ecuador, in sucres, the local currency. Cardmembers will be able to use the Card at establishments in Ecuador and throughout the world.

“Filanbanco is proud to have been selected by American Express to be its partner in issuing the American Express card in Ecuador,” said Roberto Isaias Dassum, Executive President of Filanbanco. “This agreement will allow us to offer our clients an outstanding and wide variety of financial services through one of the most important credit card companies in the world.”

“We are delighted to be able to add Filanbanco to our growing family of Latin American partners, especially at the beginning of their exciting 90th anniversary year,” said James Cracchiolo, president of American Express’ Global Network Services Group. “Through strategic arrangements like this one with Filanbanco, we are matching the global strengths of the American Express brand and worldwide service with the marketing and operations experience of strong local partners committed to the same kind of high quality service standards American Express offers its customers around the world.”

Under the agreement announced today, Filanbanco will acquire the right to conduct the American Express Card-issuing business in Ecuador. Filanbanco will be responsible for all operations supporting the American Express Card — including billing and payment systems, accounting, customer servicing, credit and fraud control, and charge authorizations as well as marketing the Card in Ecuador.

Ecuadorian customers will have access to the American Express international service network and other travel and financial services. The company’s network has more than 1,700 owned and representative Travel Service Offices worldwide.

Filanbanco will also take over responsibility for servicing local merchants accepting the American Express Card in Ecuador. As a result of this agreement, the number of merchants accepting the American Express Card in Ecuador will be expanded, significantly enhancing the relevance and utility of the Card to customers living in or visiting the country.

American Express currently provides a U.S. dollar-denominated American Express Card to Ecuadorian customers. Current American Express Cardmembers will have the option of converting their Card to the new product, retaining their dollar-denominated Card, or carrying both Cards. American Express Travelers Cheque and travel businesses are unaffected by this agreement.

Filanbanco, founded in 1908, is among the largest financial institutions in Ecuador. It has 73 offices in 22 cities in Ecuador, and has one of the most extensive ATM networks in the country. It has correspondant banking relationships with over 350 international banks and is one of the largest card issuers in Ecuador.

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Express Company — a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It provides card, Travelers Cheque, travel and financial services in over 160 countries.

Details

Shah Files Lawsuit for Missing Children

[For more details on this story click here.][1]

Distraught Philadelphia business executive Bipin C. Shah, the man behind an international search for his missing daughters — has filed a pair of civil lawsuits in excess of $200 million against his ex-wife and an Atlanta woman accused of conspiring in a plot to have his children disappear into an underground network.

Shah is asking over $100 million in punitive damages from his former wife, Ellen Dever, and another $100 million from Faye Yager, who runs a clandestine operation that helps parents and children go into hiding to escape what they claim is abuse by the other parent.  The suits were filed Thursday on behalf of Shah and his two children — Sarah Lynn, 8, and Genevieve Marie, 6.

In a separate statement to reporters, Shah said the complaints seek damages for “Dever and Yager’s conspiracy to interfere with my custody rights, for violating the custody rights of my children, depriving them of the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed and for creating emotional distress to both the children and to me.”

He added  “This is not a case of spousal abuse.  This is a case of a scornful wife and her fight to get more money from me after several failed attempts by her for reconciliation.”

According to the lawsuits, Yager is described as a “self-appointed crusader who has taken her crusade too far.”  Shah’s lawyers contend in the suit that Yager has placed herself “in the role of deciding” whether he should be able to exercise his custody rights with the children “in order to protect their mother against unfounded and unproven allegations of abuse.”

One lawsuit was filed in Atlanta’s United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia where Yager lives.  The other was filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the jurisdiction where Mr. Shah resides.  Dever fled on June 8 violating the terms of a joint custody agreement.  There is a federal warrant outstanding for her arrest on child concealment charges.  There are also pending state criminal charges.

Last month Shah — who helped build the MAC electronic banking system into a national network — offered $2 million for the safe return of the children to him.  Three days earlier The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a picture of Ellen Dever — lugging a suitcase as she left her Main Line Philadelphia home to join Yager’s network.  The article reported that Yager admitted helping the family go underground, knows their location and vouched for their safety.

According to the lawsuits filed by Shah’s attorney — Albert Momjian — Yager “aided and abetted Dever in unlawfully removing the children from Pennsylvania, concealed their whereabouts and has not allowed the father to see the children in over six months.”  The couple were divorced 5-1/2 years ago.

Since his wife and children went underground Shah has spent over $700,000 in an exhaustive search for the girls utilizing 40 private investigators and two bounty hunters.  They combed four countries, checked out 11 sightings and ultimately came up empty-handed when it was discovered that Dever had changed the identity of the children and herself and gone underground.  The search went public on December 18 with the announcement of a $2 million reward for the safe return of the children to the former CoreStates executive.

Since then there have been over 2,000 calls prompted by media exposure and announcement of a free, 24-hour hotline to report sightings.  The number is 888-977-FIND (3463). One-hundred bounty hunters have signed up — some from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.  Three key sightings have kept investigators working around the clock.

In Nova Scotia, recycling cans now carry the pictures of Sarah and Genevieve.

A web site designed for the credit card industry by the CardWeb, Inc. has been running pictures of the girls and their mother.  The address is or .  In addition, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created two websites for quick access to identification.  The URLs are for Sarah and 0033b for Genevieve.  To send e-mail to Bipin Shah the address is papashah@aol.com.

The lawsuits note that no one — neither Yager nor his former wife — “have ever accused Shah of harming the children.”  Instead, Dever has admitted that Shah was a “loving, caring and tender father.”  The suit against Yager alleges she is “using the mother and children to further her own agenda of purportedly helping abused children and has taken upon herself to act as judge and jury while depriving Shah of his children.”

The complaint calls her actions “intentional, willful, malicious and so outrageous” that Shah and the children are entitled to punitive damages in excess of $100 million.

The companion suit against Dever charges that the former Mrs. Shah violated a joint custody order when — with Yager’s help — she left Pennsylvania and went underground, concealing the children from their father since last June.

STATEMENT BY BIPIN C. SHAH

Last June 7 — 216 days ago, I was sitting on top of the world.  I enjoyed the love and affection of my two wonderful daughters — Sara Lynn, the dancer and singer in the family and Vivi (Genevieve), the intellect.  I shared legal custody with their mother, my ex-wife Ellen Dever.  It’s now been 217 days since I’ve seen my daughters.  They have been taken underground by their mother with the help of Faye Yager of Atlanta, Ga.  Both my former wife and Ms. Yager acknowledge that I have never been abusive to my daughters, that I enjoyed a loving relationship with them.

Yet Ms. Dever and Ms. Yager have determined — acting as both judge and jury — that my children should be forever deprived of the love, affection and lifestyle provided by me and family members.

In making this determination they have violated Pennsylvania law and have interfered with my legal and moral custody rights.  In secreting my children, they have, in effect, become the abusers of my children and me.  They have not only violated my rights as a parent, they have violated the fundamental rights of my daughters to have the love and affection of their Dad.

I hold both Ellen Dever and Faye Yager fully accountable for their wrongful acts, for the damage they have caused to the children and to me.  I have today authorized my attorneys to commence an action on my behalf and on behalf of the children against Ellen Dever in Pennsylvania and against Faye Yager in the federal court in Georgia.  The complaints seek damages for their conspiracy to interfere with my custody rights, for violating the custody rights of my children, and for creating emotional distress to both the children and to me.

The complaints also seek punitive damages against each of them for $100 million.  I pray that nobody has to go through the ordeal which my children and I are currently enduring.  Every second that my children are not with me causes emotional distress to them and to me, the magnitude of which is immeasurable.  This is not a a case of spousal abuse.  This is a case of a scornful wife and her fight to get more money from me after several failed attempts by her for reconciliation.

Ms. Dever and Ms. Yager have deprived me of my beautiful daughters for 217 days without filing a stick of paper and without giving me my day in court.  We have a wonderful system of justice in this country.  And unlike Ms. Dever and Ms. Yager, I urge each of them to come to court and attempt to justify the actions they have taken in secreting my children.  Let Ms. Dever come out from hiding and explain to a judge why she feels justified in playing God and denying my fundamental, moral and legal right to be with my children. Ms. Yager should come down from her high horse and explain to a judge in Georgia what role she played in assisting my ex-wife to hide my children and why she has decided to play the role of God in dealing with my children, not her children.

[1]: /cardflash/secure/oldstatic/1997/december/19b_97.html

Details