Smarty Gets Mondex Approval

Fischer International Systems Corporation announced Tuesday that its Smarty Smart Card Reader has been certified by Mondex International with a Type Approval Certificate to work with Mondex International’s smart card and electronic cash smart card payment systems used by financial institutions worldwide. The Smarty smart card reader looks like a 3.5 inch diskette, has a slot in the back for a smart card, and fits into any personal computer’s 3.5 inch floppy disk drive to access smart card information. With Smarty, Mondex cash cardholders can use their personal computer and the Internet to access their bank accounts and add cash to their smart cards from the convenience of home, 24 hours a day.

“We are pleased that Mondex International has type approved Smarty, one of the most innovative smart card devices we’ve seen come to market,” said Jim Rudd, chief technology officer for Mondex USA, an independent company that is commercially developing Mondex in the US. “Smarty’s adaptability to existing PC technology and its ease of use will surely encourage electronic cash and smart card acceptance by US consumers.”

The Mondex card is the most `cash-like’ of the electronic cash smart cards on the market today. Such cards are being introduced around the world as a more efficient alternative to physical cash for use in everyday shopping and as a future payment mechanism in a wide variety of areas such as the Internet and `pay-per-view’ TV.

“Mondex is the only electronic cash product which allows for person-to-person payments in both the real and the virtual world,” said Chris Potts, Deputy CEO, Mondex International. “An integral enabler for Mondex as a payment in electronic commerce will be smart card readers such as the Smarty and it is the technical innovation and expertise of companies like Fischer that are helping to make Mondex a global reality.”

“Fischer International is delighted to achieve this partnership status with Mondex International,” said Michael S. Battaglia, president and chief executive officer for Fischer. “Smarty is an enabling technology that provides a key link between consumers’ Mondex cash cards and their PCs. We believe electronic cash systems like Mondex are changing the way people think about money, shopping and commerce. Smarty can help bring that `new way to pay’ directly into the comfort and convenience of the home.”

About Smarty

Smarty, announced by Fischer International earlier this year, has been featured on CNN, Fox News, and CNN fn, as well as in numerous publications including BusinessWeek. Smarty is unique among smart card readers because it is the only one that works from the 3.5 inch drive, which is standard in most PCs and laptops now in use worldwide. Smarty bridges the gap between smart cards and personal computers.

Smarty is being pilot tested and evaluated initially as part of financial applications for electronic banking transactions and general business for corporate network access control applications. Companies evaluating Smarty include most major banks, Visa, and The Telia Group (Sweden). Smarty supports smart cards from Schlumberger and Gemplus.

About Mondex International

Mondex International is a smart card technology company, best known for the Mondex electronic cash product. Mondex electronic cash is being developed by franchisees in 50 countries representing a potential market place of in excess of 3 billion. Mondex is also the only electronic cash system in the world to operate with a single global technology allowing for cross-country payments.

Mondex is currently being used in 16 implementations around the world including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, UK and USA. By the end of 1997, Mondex International will have produced in excess of 1,000,000 reloadable Mondex cards; this figure is expected to rise to 5,000,000 reloadable cards by the end of 1998.

MasterCard International acquired 51% of the company in February 1997 and has decided to adopt Mondex International’s technology as its future choice of strategic chip platform. The remaining 49 percent is owned by twenty-seven other major organizations across Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. Further information regarding Mondex is available on their web site at [www.mondex.com][1].

About Mondex USA

Headquartered in San Francisco, Mondex USA was formed in April 1997 as an independent and separate company from Mondex International that is commercially developing Mondex electronic cash for the US market. The company is owned by seven financial service organizations: AT&T Universal Card Services, Chase Manhattan, First Chicago NBD, MasterCard, Michigan National Bank, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Discover, and Wells Fargo. To learn more, visit Mondex USA’s web site at [www.mondexusa.com][2].

About Fischer International Systems Corporation

Fischer International Systems Corporation (FISC) develops, markets and supports a family of enterprise-wide office automation and computer products, including TAO(TM) for messaging and the SmartDisk product line. FISC sells and supports its products to a diverse international customer base. The company is headquartered in Naples, Florida and has offices in North America and Europe. Contact Fischer International at [www.fisc.com][3].

[1]: http://www.mondex.com
[2]: http://www.mondexusa.com
[3]: http://www.fisc.com

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SkipJack IC

Delivering on its promise to utilize artificial intelligence algorithms to make Internet transactions safe, Evolv introduced Skipjack IC (Internet Commerce) yesterday. Skipjack IC is a secure credit card payment system for Microsoft Internet Information Server. It gives website administrators the capability to process real-time credit card payments over the Internet in a secure environment.

Skipjack IC supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, JCB, debit cards and even checks. It supports an unlimited number of merchant accounts and vendors, real-time authorization and settlement, email receipts for customers and fulfillment entities, and web page responses for authorizations, denials and system errors. Best of all, using Skipjack IC results in absolutely no transaction fees.

All transactions between the server and client are encrypted with industry-standard SSL security. Skipjack IC then stores the transactions in its own files, which are encrypted with One-Time Pad technology, the most powerful and secure type of encryption available. One-Time Pad encryption has never been available to the computer world before due to problems with generating random numbers, something computers can’t easily do.

“The proprietary artificial intelligence engines we’ve created have finally made One-Time Pad encryption feasible on computers. The algorithms take on a life of their own and breed truly random numbers, making Skipjack IC incredibly secure,” says George Farnell, V.P. Systems Development. “Skipjack IC is a major barrier to any would-be hackers. A potential thief would find it easier and less costly to fly to your home town and pick your pocket than to try to crack Skipjack IC.”

On top of Skipjack IC’s incredible security, it’s easy to install, easy to use and is a fraction of the price of any competing product.

Skipjack IC requires Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0 with Service Pack 3, Internet Information Server 3.0, Active Server Pages, a modem and an analog phone line.

Skipjack IC retails for $1,495.00 US (introductory price), and includes online documentation, a sample web site, 800 number, test credit card account and email support.

Skipjack IC is currently being used to sell itself on the Internet at Evolv’s website: .

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U.S. Wireless Completes Management Shuffle

U.S. Wireless Data Inc. announced yesterday the appointment of Raymond Mueller to the position of vice president of Operations.

This appointment completes the reorganization of the company’s executive management team.

Mueller, age 55, has over 25 years of management experience in Fortune 100 Companies. Most recently he served as director of Sales and Marketing for Nicor Inc., a $40 million privately owned pneumatic tool company based in Florida. Previously, he has held the positions of director of Sales and Marketing for Wilson Learning Co., manager of Corporate Compensation and director of Human Resources at Borden Inc., manager of Compensation at Avon Products, and manager of Employment at Bristol Meyers.

Beginning in August of this year, the company has announced other additions to its executive management team which include:

— Evon Kelly as CEO. Kelly has held prominent positions with Federated Department Stores, and Xerox Corp. where he was manager of Supply Business Center and responsible for $587 million in sales and directed a national sales force of 400.

— Clyde Casciato as vice president of Sales. Casciato previously held several management positions with Xerox Corp. and AT&T Wireless, the wireless business unit of AT&T Corp., where he was most recently Western U.S. Region Sales-Distribution Manager — Wireless Data.

— Robert Robichaud as chief financial officer. Robichaud had previously held several key financial management positions at Triad Systems Corp. and Mohawk Data Sciences Corp.

USWD’s proprietary enabling technology, TRANZ Enabler, converts a merchant’s existing dial-up TRANZ VeriFone credit-card terminal into a high-speed wireless terminal. It provides merchants with a faster and more cost efficient way to transact business. The wireless transaction takes 3 to 5 seconds vs. 11 to 20 seconds with a dial-up service. Going wireless means the merchant no longer needs a dedicated or shared telephone line to carry transaction traffic, thereby eliminating delays, busy signals and the cost to install or pay for monthly telephone service.

U.S. Wireless Data Inc. has developed, tested and is now delivering compelling new proprietary products, programs and standards to the transaction processing and credit card industry which utilize Cellular Digital Packet Data (“CDPD”) wireless networks. USWD delivers the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solution to retail merchants in the United States today — wired or wireless.

USWD will generate recurring revenue from every transaction processed by merchants who utilize the company’s CDPD wireless technology. The company’s strategy will be to deploy its technology through marketing and partnership agreements with major cellular phone companies, regional and community banks, select ISOs, and its own sales force.

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ICE Peripheral

Hypercom Corporation today announced ICE Peripheral, the second member of the company’s new Interactive Customer Equipment point-of-sale (POS) terminal family.

ICE Peripheral will function as a tethered peripheral to T7 Series terminals from Phoenix, AZ-based Hypercom, a leading supplier of point-of-sale(POS) payment systems, enterprise networking solutions and client/server transaction processing software.

ICE Peripheral, aimed at retail businesses, will serve as a PIN Pad for Hypercom T77 and T7P terminals. It shares with other members of the ICE family an innovative touch screen, electronic signature capture capability, and can be programmed by the merchant.

ICE Peripheral will be marked in North America by Hypercom POS US/Canada and globally by Hypercom International. Hypercom POS US/Canada and Hypercom Internatial are divisions of Hypercom Corporation.

“In a single device, the ICE Peripheral gives customers the ability today to key in their PIN to initiate a debit card transaction or sign on the graphics display to complete a credit card transaction while enabling merchants to accommodate future payment options, including smart cards,” said John Marshall, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Hypercom POS US/Canada.

With an eye to the future, ICE Peripheral also is equipped with a built-in smart card reader and three Secure Access Modules (SAMs), which can accomodate Mondex and Visa Cash now and can be configured to accept smart card-based services as they are implemented.

ICE terminals capture and display an image of the signature once the cardholder signs the touch screen. The signature is then uploaded to the host processor, where it is kept on file. The eliminates the need for retailers to keep paper copies on hand and significantly reduces cost to retailers and acquirers.

The introduction of ICE Peripheral comes just one month after Hypercom unveiled the first member of the ICE family — ICE Portable — at FS/TEC, a trade show aimed at technology for the food service industry. ICE Portable is a battery-powered, wireless device designed for use in restaurants. About the size of a portable CD player, ICE Portable fits in the apron pocket of servers and allows diners to enter, via the touch screen, the type of card being used to pay and a tip based on the following percentages of the bill-10,15,20- or other amount.

ICE Portable, which communicates with Hypercom T7 Series terminals via a 900 Mhz data radio, puts payment completely in the hands of the diner and minimizes the number of trips the server must make to the table. ICE Portable can operate at distances up to 60 feet from the controller terminal. A maximum of 16 ICE Portable units can operate from a base terminal.

Hypercom Corporation

Hypercom Corporation is a leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) payment systems and enterprise networking solutions. The company also produces Pinnacle client/server transaction processing software. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, Hypercom’s products are sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. Hypercom Corporation consists of four divisions: Hypercom POS US/Canada, Hypercom International, Hypercom Network Systems and Hypercom Manufacturing Resources. Hypercom’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HYC”.

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MTS to Use Open Market System

Open Market, Inc. , a leading provider of Internet commerce software, has announced that MTS Advanced, a division of Manitoba Telecom Services, has launched its new nGage Electronic Commerce service using Open Market’s Transact software. nGage Electronic Commerce provides a complete and fully integrated service that allows businesses to easily sell products, services, and information on the Internet. This service, powered by Open Market’s Transact Internet commerce software, centrally manages the online transactions, fulfillment, and administrative processes for business in a fast, reliable, and secure environment.

“Internet commerce is a rapidly growing business in a global marketplace. This exciting new service will meet this demand, providing businesses with an opportunity to use the Internet as a viable sales and distribution channel,” said Bruce MacCormack, President and Chief Operating Officer of MTS Advanced, the new media and directory publishing division of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.

“MTS Advanced is a great example of telecommunications companies using Transact to broaden their services to customers,” said Gary Eichhorn, president and CEO of Open Market, Inc. “Now, Canadian businesses, particularly those in Manitoba, will be able to look to MTS to take care of the cost and complexity of Internet commerce.”

One of the many benefits of the nGage Electronic Commerce service is the ease with which any business can sell its products or services on the Internet. The service processes orders, calculates taxes and shipping costs, and processes and settles payments, providing full financial reporting and valuable market research to clients. In addition, the service can also settle transactions through a variety of currencies, and businesses are also eligible to receive other benefits such as discounts on credit card charges and domestic and international shipping rates.

nGage has brought together leading software, hardware, telecommunications, finance, and shipping services into one unique and fully integrated solution. Clients of the service need no additional hardware or software and nGage provides the training and technical support. The service can also integrate with a client’s in-house systems or those of a third-party service provider. nGage Electronic Commerce will be sold by MTS Advanced and a channel of Canadian agents and resellers. For additional information on nGage’s suite of electronic commerce solutions, businesses can contact nGage toll-free at 1-888-783-5555.

More About Open Market

Founded in 1994, Open Market, Inc. develops, markets, licenses, and supports high-performance software products that allow its customers to engage in business-to-consumer and business-to-business Internet commerce. Open Market’s innovative technology enables the separation of the management of business transactions from the management of content, thereby allowing companies to securely, centrally, and efficiently manage business transactions over the Web. The company, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, can be reached at 617-949-7000 and on the World Wide Web at .

The Folio Products Division of Open Market is the world’s leading provider of software for publishing professional information. Folio products are installed on an estimated 30 million desktops. More than 700 publishers use Folio software to create and distribute approximately 3,500 electronic titles. For more information about Folio products and services, contact Folio at 801-229-6710 or visit .

This news release contains forward-looking statements, with respect to Open Market, that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are the company’s limited operating history, delays in product development, development of the Internet market, and the risk factors detailed from time to time in the company’s periodic reports and registration statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

NOTE: Open Market, Transact, and We ARE Internet Commerce are trademarks or registered trademarks of Open Market, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other names are used for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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Fujitsu Hires MasterCard Exec

Fujitsu-ICL Systems Inc. Tuesday announced that Rita L. Champ has been named senior vice president and general manager of the Financial Systems Division.

Champ comes to Fujitsu-ICL Systems from MasterCard International, where she was most recently vice president, Co-Branding/Affinity Marketing.

“We are pleased that Rita has chosen to contribute her talents and join Fujitsu-ICL,” said Rod Powell, president of Fujitsu-ICL Systems. “Her 20-plus years of experience in the financial services industry, combined with her demonstrated success in marketing, strategic planning and business development, are welcome additions to our strong management team. In addition, Rita’s keen understanding of consumer behavior will be extremely valuable as our Financial Systems Division continues to grow.”

“I am excited to be a part of Fujitsu-ICL Systems and its senior management team,” Champ said. “The company has an excellent array of products in both the financial services and retail industries, as well as a superior team of dedicated people. We have had a banner year with our ATM products, and it is our goal to develop a stronger market focus, become more consumer-centric and continue building a strong service organization.”

Champ assumes the position following the promotion of former General Manager Ron Omohundro, who has been appointed as the general manager of Fujitsu-ICL’s newly formed Global Products Group.

While Champ was vice president of Co-Branding/Affinity Marketing at MasterCard, she spearheaded strategic planning, concept development, consumer research and industry analysis for new co-branding programs in the travel, entertainment, insurance, health care and petroleum industries.

Champ’s other positions at MasterCard included vice president of business planning and development, and vice president of marketing for Maestro, MasterCard’s national online direct debit, point-of-sale system.

Before joining MasterCard in 1992, Champ spent eight years as the senior vice president of marketing and communications for Star System Inc., where she was instrumental in growing the network from its inception to one of the largest regional EFT systems in the country.

Prior to that, she served as the vice president of electronic banking for Imperial Savings Association, where she was responsible for the implementation, management and marketing of a three-state ATM network and Visa check card program. Champ holds a master of science in organizational management, and a bachelor of arts in psychology and communications.

Fujitsu-ICL’s Financial Systems Division is based in Hackensack, N.J., with operations and sales offices in La Jolla, Calif., and Atlanta. The Financial Systems Division has built a reputation for providing innovative features, progressive ergonomic design and reliability for its Series 7000 Advanced Platform family of ATMs and cash dispensers for off-premise, through-the-wall, drive-up, kiosk and lobby installations.

With headquarters in Dallas, Fujitsu-ICL Systems Inc. employs 1,200 people in North America and is the result of a joint partnership between ICL PLC of London and Fujitsu Ltd. of Japan.

In addition to its line of automated teller machines, airline ticket printers and handheld computers systems, Fujitsu-ICL Systems provides integrated information systems to supermarket, home center, specialty and hard goods retailers in North America.

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China EFT Network

S2 Systems Inc. announced that its OpeN/2 transaction engine is driving a new EFT network in China for the Shenyang Credit Card Finance Network Co., Ltd. Gold Card project. The system now supports 185 automated teller machines and 935 point-of-sale devices. This heralds the launch of the S2 OpeN/2 software within a global EC market.

“All ATM and POS transactions for the top six national banks in the Shenyang district of China are now being processed using OpeN/2,” said Ivan Koon, president of S2 Systems. “OpeN/2 is the only open architecture, fault-tolerant application in the Gold Card pilot project. We were chosen to participate because of our open-systems solution, running on industry-standard operating systems, rather than proprietary applications.”

The network went live in October of this year, with OpeN/2 interconnecting automated teller machines (ATMs) of the six banks in the Shenyang district. In early 1998, connections to China’s national Gold Card center and other Gold Card centers around the world will make global funds exchange possible.

Gold Card is a nationwide electronic commerce project to link all credit card and debit card issuers in China with international EC gateways. There are 12 pilot sites throughout the country. The six national banks currently using OpeN/2 software for transactions in Shenyang province are Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank, China Merchant’s Bank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

According to the Financial Times of London, People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, forecasts that more than 200 million payment cards will be issued by 2003, catapulting China to a level of cashless payment surpassing many western economies. Currently, there are some 40 million payment cards in use in China.

“China is the largest emerging market for retail and financial payment systems, so it is the ideal opportunity to apply OpeN/2 software to any kind of transfer,” Koon said.

In Asia, more than 90% of sales transactions are now made in cash, and the percentage is even higher in China, according to the Financial Times of London. However, card transactions (overwhelmingly debit cards) have grown as much as 25% a year for the past three years in China.

For Gold Card, the OpeN/2 application for banking and financial transactions is running on a Stratus(R) Continuum(R) hardware platform. The OpeN/2 software system uses an object-oriented relational database as its file system, allowing it to work across multiple platforms, in an environment that includes both legacy systems as well as the newest hardware. That is especially important in the rapidly emerging world marketplace.

With OpeN/2, applications do not change regardless of the database or operating system involved. Databases supported are Microsoft(R) SQL server, SyBase and Informix. OpeN/2 operates on Microsoft Windows NT(R) and HP-UX(TM) operating systems utilizing hardware from Stratus Computer and Hewlett-Packard.

For over a decade, S2 Systems has provided ATM/POS software that supports banks with 40 to more than 2,000 ATMs and service bureaus processing more than 4 million transactions daily. S2 Systems software drives local, regional or nationwide ATM or POS networks in nearly 60 countries. The company’s software supports such varied electronic commerce (EC) requirements as electronic funds transfer, on-line banking applications or loan payment services, file transfer, EC messaging and EC gateways between legacy systems via Internet or Web-based technologies.

S2 Systems is a leading supplier of business EC software and professional services. S2 Systems focuses on EC gateway, electronic funds transfer, healthcare administration automation and customer-specific marketing software for retail, financial services, healthcare and evolving industries. Headquartered in Dallas, with offices in Atlanta, Hong Kong, London, Maarssen and Sydney, S2 Systems’ products have been licensed by more than 600 companies in 60 countries. S2 Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stratus Computer, Inc. (NYSE: SRA).

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Merger Mania

National City Corp. agreed to acquire First of America yesterday in a transaction valued at $6.6 billion. The combined bank will have $75 billion in assets and serve more than eight million households. Yesterday’s move will also effectively double the size of National City’s credit card portfolio. According to Bankcard Update/CardData, National City had $1,149,643,000 in receivables and 1,584,403 gross accounts as of Sept. 30 while First of America had about $1.3 billion in receivables and 1.5 million accounts. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter 1998.

NEW NATIONAL CITY PORTFOLIO (based on 2Q/97 data)
RECEIVABLES 2Q VOLUME ACCOUNTS
Natl City $1,168,318,000 $530,257,000 1,565,966
Frst of Am $1,300,000,000 $600,000,000 1,500,000
Post Mrgr $2,468,318,000 $1,130,257,000 3,065,966

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Fleet Names Card Czar

Fleet Names Saunders Chairman And CEO of Credit Card Operations

Fleet Financial Group announced today that it has named Joseph W. Saunders as chairman and chief executive officer of its credit card business. That business includes Fleet’s credit card portfolio and, upon completion of the transaction, the credit card portfolio of Advanta Corp. Fleet previously announced on October 28 that it had reached a definitive agreement to acquire Advanta’s credit card operations. The transaction is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 1998.

Saunders, age 52, joins Fleet from Illinois-based Household International, Inc., a diversified financial services company, where he served as group executive — U.S. BankCard operations and as president and chief executive officer of its Household Credit Services division. He will report directly to H. Jay Sarles, vice chairman and chief administrative officer of Fleet Financial Group.

Upon completion of its acquisition of Advanta’s credit card business, Fleet will become the ninth largest issuer of credit cards nationwide. Including Fleet’s current credit card operations, the combined business will have approximately $14 billion in managed receivables and over eight million customers. In addition to Advanta’s core credit card operations, Fleet will acquire all technology and information management, direct marketing and new product development, and treasury/finance operations.

“Joe Saunders has a national reputation and brings to Fleet an extensive background in credit card products and the consumer finance business, and we are extremely pleased to bring him on board to oversee our expanded credit card operations,” said Sarles. “His vast experience and industry knowledge should prove to be of significant benefit to Fleet as we continue to build upon our consumer-based financial services.”

Prior to joining Household Credit Services as vice president of credit card operations in 1985, Saunders served as a vice president in credit card operations at Bank of America. He previously held executive positions at Continental Illinois Bank and its successor in the credit card business, Chemical Bank.

Saunders is the chairman of the MasterCard International Global Board of Directors and a member of the MasterCard U.S. Board of Directors. He also served as a member of the Marketing Committees of both Visa International and MasterCard, and was chairman of the American Bankers Association’s Bankcard Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree and an M.B.A. from the University of Denver.

Fleet Financial Group, headquartered in Boston, is an $83.6 billion diversified financial services company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The nation’s sixth largest commercial lender and New England’s leading small business lender, Fleet’s lines of business include consumer banking, government banking, mortgage banking, corporate finance, commercial real estate lending, insurance services, discount brokerage services, equipment leasing and asset-based lending. Fleet also provides investment management services for both individuals and institutional clients and currently has $55 billion in assets under management. With more than 1,200 branches and over 2,300 ATMs, Fleet also provides 24-hour telephone banking as well as electronic banking services through the Fleet PC Banking Center.

Household Bids Farewell to Saunders

Household International, Inc. today announced the resignation of Joseph W. Saunders as Group Executive – U. S. BankCard. Mr. Saunders will be going to Fleet Financial Group as chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet’s credit card business.

William F. Aldinger, Household’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Joe Saunders has been the architect of Household’s highly successful co-branded and affinity credit card strategy. Since he joined Household in 1985, Joe and his management team have built our credit card business from under $200 million in receivables to the sixth largest Visa/MasterCard issuer in the U. S.”

Mr. Aldinger continued, “We presently have great momentum in our bankcard business, driven by our partnership programs such as the GM Card and the Union Privilege affinity program with the AFL-CIO. Joe deserves a great deal of credit for designing and nurturing these programs, which give us the foundation for sustained, profitable growth in our domestic credit card business in 1998 and beyond. We wish him well in his new venture.” Household also announced that the company’s U.S. bankcard business will report directly to Mr. Aldinger.

Household International is a leading provider of consumer financial services, including consumer lending and credit card products, in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the U.S. HFC, the nation’s oldest consumer finance company, is one of Household’s primary businesses. Household is also one of the largest U.S. issuers of private label and general purpose credit cards, including the GM Card, and the Union Privilege card, marketed to 13 million AFL-CIO union members.

Fleet Raises Cash

Fleet Financial Group, Inc. announced today the public offering of 10,750,000 shares of common stock, the proceeds of which will be used for both the acquisition of Advanta Corp.’s credit card business and for general corporate purposes. Fleet initially announced its intention to reissue these shares following the announcement of its agreement to acquire Quick & Reilly Group, Inc.

As of October 31, 1997, Fleet Financial Group had 250,218,766 common shares outstanding. Total equivalent shares at the end of the third quarter of 1997 were 259,996,323. Fleet also expects to issue approximately 22.8 million shares in the Quick & Reilly transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 1998.

Lead underwriters for the offering are Merrill Lynch & Co. and UBS Securities. Co-managers for the offering are Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs, Keefe Bruyette & Woods, Lehman Brothers and Salomon Smith Barney.

Fleet Financial Group, headquartered in Boston, is an $83.6 billion diversified financial services company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The nation’s sixth largest commercial lender and New England’s leading small business lender, Fleet’s lines of business include consumer banking, government banking, mortgage banking, corporate finance, commercial real estate lending, insurance services, discount brokerage services, equipment leasing and asset-based lending. Fleet also provides investment management services for both individuals and institutional clients and currently has $55 billion in assets under management. With more than 1,200 branches and over 2,300 ATMs, Fleet also provides 24-hour telephone banking as well as electronic banking services through the Fleet PC Banking Center.

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Gemplus Picks Montreal

Gemplus chose Montreal as the site for expansion of its North American production. The company will hire some thirty people over the next three years, increasing this number to about one hundred employees by the year 2000. It is preparing to invest 20 million dollars in this major expansion project.

Founded in 1988, this company specializes in semi-conductors and chips used in the communications technology sector. In 1996, Gemplus had sales valued at 600 million dollars. It invested 15 million dollars in research and development and 80 million dollars to expand its production. Gemplus is now a world leader in chip cards, with a market share of nearly 40%.

When asked to speak, Minister Pierre S. Pettigrew said: “Montreal was chosen because of its bilingualism and the dual cultural presence of Anglo- Saxon and French elements. It provides an entry into North America, Europe and Asia, which shows how important the affinities among languages, cultures and business are.”

After restating the key initiatives taken by the Government of Canada to encourage Canadians to develop the skills required in the science and technology sector, Minister Pettigrew added: “Montreal was selected because of the high standard of its schools and universities, which provide training for the specialists and technologists the company needs so badly. Montreal is also well-known for the stability of its labour force.”

The Minister of Human Resources Development outlined a range of programs and projects which encourage skills acquisition by Canadian workers. Last August, for instance, Human Resources Development signed a $84,81 0 contract with Gemplus under its Youth Internship Program, as a result of which 15 technicians and engineers were hired as programmer analysts.

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Layered Biometric ATM

Diebold, Keyware and Visionics unveiled the world’s first fully intuitive ATM yesterday at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference underway in New Orleans. The super ATM features both facial recognition and voice verification technologies. As a user steps up to the ATM a camera captures an image of the user which is then located and identified within a fraction of a second by Visionic’s ‘FaceIt’ software. The user then speaks a pass phrase which is matched against a stored voiceprint using Keyware’s ‘VoiceGuardian’ technology. Last year Diebold installed the first live ATM using fingerprint verification technology in South Africa.

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Major Rollout

Schlumberger was selected Monday to supply 50,000 smart card laundry terminals to Mac-Gray Corp. customers. This is believed to be the largest smart card program, in terms of smart card devices, in North America. Mac-Gray said it plans to convert a substantial portion of its laundry machine portfolio in 23 states to coin-free systems. Besides operating laundry machines the Mac-Gray smart cards will also enable building residents to make vending machine purchases, access business centers and provide building access. Mac-Gray owns and operates about 120,000 laundry machines in more than 17,000 multiple housing laundry rooms.

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