Credit Telephone Call-In

Last year, more than 1.1 million American families filed for personal bankruptcy. Many more are on the verge, evidenced by consumer credit debt reaching a new high of $1.2 trillion. As millions of Americans struggle with debt and credit problems, members of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit credit education and counseling organization are gathering to discuss the current situation and how to help consumers in financial trouble.

Members from the more than 1,300 National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) offices across the U.S. will gather in Atlanta, GA later this month (September 28-October 1) for the NFCC Annual Conference. This year, in the light of the current economic conditions and recent changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, counselors will discuss extending outreach efforts to local communities, implementing innovations in counseling techniques and improving client services.

A highlight of this year’s conference is “Ask-the-Expert,” an exciting partnership between NFCC and USA Today. “Ask-the-Expert,” to be held from 9 am to 9 pm (EST) on October 1, will feature almost 100 NFCC member counselor volunteers who will take calls from people all over the nation with credit and debt questions. This event is one example of the ways in which NFCC reaches out to individuals in trouble.

“We are thrilled about working with USA Today to put on the “Ask-the-Expert” telephone call-in,” says Durant Abernethy, president of NFCC. “This session will enable some of the millions of Americans with financial questions to get referrals to the community resources that NFCC Annual Conference to be in Atlanta add one can assist them.” NFCC expects to handle thousands of inquiries throughout the 12 hour call-in.

The 1997 conference, scheduled for the Marriott Marquis, features regional meetings, roundtable sessions and almost 40 workshops for NFCC member counselors. Some of the workshop topics include welfare reform, retirement plans, bankruptcy and hiring tips.

One particularly timely event that will be discussed at the annual conference is the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which goes into effect on October 1, 1997. The FCRA is designed to promote accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of every consumer reporting agency (CRA). To better help their clients, NFCC counselors will be apprised of the details of this act which include the following: you must be told if information in your file has been used against you; you can find out what is in your file; you can ask to make your name unavailable for credit offers; inaccurate information must be quickly corrected or deleted.

The host member of the NFCC annual conference is Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta. Headquartered in Atlanta, CCCS has offices in Athens, Carrollton, Decatur, Douglasville, Fayetteville, Gainesville, Marietta, Norcross, Rome, Toccoa and throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area.

To learn more about budgeting and using credit or to receive confidential money management counseling, contact a local NFCC member agency. NFCC members can be identified by the NFCC member seal. This seal signifies standards that include agency accreditation, counselor certification and policies that ensure confidential services that are free or low-cost. Many members operate under the name Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

To locate the nearest NFCC member office, call toll-free, 24 hours a day, 1-800-388-2227 or visit the NFCC Home Page at . Spanish speaking consumers can call 1-800-682-9832.

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DataCard’s New CFO

DataCard Corporation announced today that Paul A. Schroeder will become the company’s chief financial officer (CFO) effective October 1, 1997. Schroeder comes from NCR Corporation, where he most recently served as vice president and controller.

“Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team,” said Glenn Highland, DataCard’s president and CEO. “He has led large finance and information systems groups. He helped build and manage substantial businesses in Europe and Asia. And he understands technologies that are important to us.”

“Paul also was a key member of the transition team during NCR’s divestiture from AT&T,” Highland said. “That experience will be extremely valuable for DataCard as we move forward.”

Before NCR’s divestiture from AT&T, Schroeder help a number of critical positions, including vice president and CFO for AT&T’s Asia/Pacific operations.

He received his masters of management in finance and accounting from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago. He also earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

As DataCard’s CFO, Schroeder’s responsibilities will include the treasury, the controller’s group, information systems (IS), internal auditing and facilities management.

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., is a world leader in innovative plastic card solutions. The company offers a spectrum of card-related products and services, including digital photo ID systems, badging services, card personalization system, systems integration services and transaction terminals.

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Magna’s New E-Bank Ctr

Magna Bank announces the opening of a new electronic banking center in Mid Rivers Mall, St. Peters, Missouri. The 96-square-foot site will include an ATM, night depository, automated loan machine (ALM), phone bank, and electronic resource center. The site will be staffed with a part-time salesperson.

“We are very excited about this new electronic banking center,” stated G. Thomas Andes, chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “This site is the first of its kind in the St. Louis area and offers our customers a new convenience in banking.”

“Magna is strongly committed to this growing community,” said David A. Heinrich, community president of Magna s St. Charles Region. “We view the Mid Rivers Mall electronic banking center as an opportunity to expand our presence within the market.”

Magna Group, Inc. (NYSE:MGR) is a St. Louis-based community bank holding company with $6.93 billion in assets. Magna has 140 banking centers in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri; a trust division; a brokerage division; and a student loan division. Based on deposit market share, Magna is the third largest banking institution in the St. Louis metropolitan area and ranks as the 68th largest bank holding company in the country.

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60 Second Car Rentals

In response to the overall car rental customer’s desire for “quick-as-lightening” service, Thrifty Car Rental is launching an express rental program that will reduce the time it takes to rent a Thrifty car to about 60 seconds.

Called the Blue Chip Express Rental Program, the new service is available today in 40 of the company’s highest volume North American locations. As of November 1, another 25 high volume locations will be added, with all other airport locations offering the Blue Chip program by January 31, 1998.

“Our own customer satisfaction research, as well as other industry studies, clearly indicate that speed and ease of service is one of the most important attributes customers want in a rental car company,” said Bob Thunell, Staff Vice President. “Through this new service, we’ve shaved the time it takes for a typical car rental transaction to almost nothing — you show your driver’s license and credit card, sign the pre-prepared rental agreement, and you are gone.”

The program is organized so that the rental customer supplies Thrifty with his/her standard rental information and preferences. The customer then is assigned a number to use each time a Thrifty reservation is made. When a reservation is made via the Thrifty 1-800 service or through a travel agent, the Blue Chip customer’s data is transferred to the renting location so that all rental documents are pre-prepared and waiting for the customer’s arrival and signature.

Additionally, there is a dedicated Blue Chip Express Line in each participating rental center for program members to receive the keys to their pre-assigned vehicle. Returning the car follows the same streamlined process.

Participation in the program is free and there is no minimum number of rentals required to be a member. Persons interested in enrolling may call toll free at 1-888-400-8877 to receive an application.

Thrifty Car Rental is an international network of nearly 1,200 locations in more than 50 countries around the world.

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Rodeo Drive VISA

First USA rolled down Rodeo Drive with a new VISA card yesterday on the eve of Rodeo Drive ‘s 25th anniversary celebration. The new ‘Rodeo Drive VISA Card’ is being issued in partnership with the Rodeo Drive Committee and represents the second destination card to be issued by First USA. At a news conference yesterday in Beverly Hills, First USA, VISA, and the Rodeo Drive Committee kicked off the program launch by presenting five $10,000 checks to local charities. The ‘Rodeo Drive VISA’ enhancements include complimentary two-hour valet parking on Rodeo Drive and special offers from Cartier, Christian Dior, Cole Haan, Fred Hayman Beverly Hills, Gianfranco Ferre, Jessica McClintock and Sulka. Card pricing will be First USA’s standard 5.9% promo/13.99% fixed long-term, with no annual fee. First USA will also offer the card in three varieties: classic, gold and platinum. The program will generate proceeds, based on transactions, for the Entertainment Industry Foundation/Permanent Charities. It is estimated shoppers spend $500 million annually on Rodeo Drive. First USA also issues the Branson Missouri destination VISA card.

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Movie Tix Online

MovieFone, Inc. and Century Theatres today announced that Century will offer its users the ability to purchase movie tickets via Century’s web site ([http://www.centurytheatres.com][1]). The new feature for the California-based circuit is the result of a unique partnership with MovieLink (), the online sister service of 777-FILM. Millions of moviegoers have used MovieLink to find showtimes and purchase advance tickets since it launched in 1995. The new Century-MovieLink service, which debuts today alongside Century’s newly-redesigned web site, makes Century the first major exhibitor to offer its patrons the ability to purchase tickets directly through its own Web site.

Users who are on Century’s site have access to showtimes at all of Century’s theaters across five states. Now, users who have selected a theater and a movie have one-click access to a customized area on MovieLink which lets them purchase tickets for that movie and theater using a major credit card. This service is available for over 150 Century Theaters screens at locations throughout California. As with MovieFone and MovieLink, users who purchase tickets through Century’s Web site are guaranteed tickets for the specific movie and showtime they select. The movie tickets are waiting for the customers when they arrive at the theater, at either an automated ticket dispensing machine in the theater lobby or the box office.

Century’s partnership with MovieLink adds the important element of advance ticketing to Century’s site many months before the holiday moviegoing season. “It was important to us to offer our patrons the convenience of buying tickets in advance through our own Web site and through MovieLink,” said Nancy Klasky, Century’s Vice President of Marketing. “MovieLink has given us this practical option to offer to our patrons.”

This new feature relies on the extensive infrastructure already in place to sell tickets for customers of MovieFone and MovieLink. MovieLink has over two years of experience selling movie tickets online and uses state-of-the-art secure transaction technology, including Netscape’s SSL-compatible Commerce Server, third-party encryption, and a private communication and authorization network, to complete thousands of transactions each week. The Century ticketing service will feature the same security measures.

“We are delighted to pioneer this new service with Century Theatres,” said Matt Blumberg, MovieLink General Manager. “Offering our theater partners the opportunity to build on MovieLink’s technology infrastructure means they can offer their patrons a wide range of services without having to reinvent the wheel. These partnerships reinforce MovieLink’s mission to be the most useful online service for moviegoers and movie marketers alike.”

Century Theaters is a San Francisco based motion picture exhibitor with over 500 screens in 5 western states.

MovieLink is the online sister service of MovieFone, the nation’s largest movie guide and ticketing service. Millions of moviegoers each week in 30 major cities use MovieFone and MovieLink to find movie show times and theater locations, and buy tickets. Through MovieFone’s familiar local phone number (such as 777-FILM) and MovieLink online (http://www.movielink.com), the company’s services cover 12,000 screens which account for 60 percent of the nation’s movie attendance. MovieFone, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOFN) is a public company with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

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

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CSC Signs South African Bank

Computer Sciences Corporation announced today that Nedcor Bank has signed a licensing and service agreement with the Banking & Consumer Finance Division of CSC’s Financial Services Group.

Nedcor Bank has chosen CSC as a long-term technology partner in the implementation of software to meet the needs of the Nedcor Card Division and has signed a five-year application outsourcing agreement for the continued development, maintenance and support of all CSC software implemented within the bank.

Nedcor Bank, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, is one of the largest banks in the country with $18 billion in assets and approximately 17,000 employees. Nedcor is a full-service bank with activities covering retail, commercial, corporate, merchant banking, fund management and related financial services.

Applications licensed from CSC include CAMS II, an integrated software platform based on relational technology. It will allow the management of a complete array of cards products, including consumer credit and debit cards, private label, installment/contract lending, commercial/procurement and smart cards. Additionally, Nedcor Bank has licensed the collections system to manage credit arrears situations and the online delivery system to enable the bank’s multiple-delivery channels to service cardholders and merchants through their most convenient customer service point.

CAMS II is being developed by CSC to provide its customers with the capability to rapidly launch new differentiated payment products as customer demands and competitive strategies change. This can help an organization achieve a level of product definition to address the many micro-market segments which require services on a global 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis… The system allows all card products of a financial institution to reside in one place. It also consolidates all card and merchant administration processes to reduce duplicate and redundant activities.

The applications feature design architecture to ease the implementation of compliance updates for VISA, Mastercard and Europay, as well as supporting Nedcor’s American Express business.

CSC had $5.8 billion in revenue for the 12 months ended June 27, 1997… Headquartered in El Segundo, California, the company has nearly 44,000 employees in more than 600 offices worldwide and provides clients with a wide range of professional services, including management consulting, information systems consulting and integration, and operations support. The Banking & Consumer Finance Division of CSC’s Financial Services Group is located in Dallas, Texas. More information about Computer Sciences Corporation is available at .

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SCIA Expands its Board

The Smart Card Industry Association (SCIA) has added two new members to the Board of Directors. Al Vrancart and Peter J. Quadagno bring with them years of experience and expertise in the smart card industry.

Al Vrancart is president and CEO of NBS Card Services, Inc., a leading producer of secure transaction and other plastic cards. He is responsible for NBS’ North American Card Services business units in the U.S. and Canada. Vrancart joined NBS in 1989, having previously held various international executive marketing positions with Philips Electronics.

Mr. Vrancart is also founder emeritus, a charter member and first president of the International Card Manufacturers, as well as a member of the Eastern chapter of the International Association of financial Crimes Investigators. He holds an MBA from Monmouth University.

Peter J. Quadagno is president of Quadagno & Associates, Inc., a card-based technology firm for stored value and other applications. Prior to starting Quadagno & Associates, Inc., he was manager of Transitional Services at Electronic Payment Service, Inc.’s Smart Card Enterprise.

Mr. Quadagno has spent 20 years in the payment industry, including five years with the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority Card Company where he was responsible for the development of the MTA’s MetroCard product — the first such card of its kind in the U.S. He holds a BS and a MBA from the University of Florida.

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.

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FORPOST from Lithuania

Banking System FORPOST based on modern RDBMS ORACLE 7.3 is an integrated and comprehensive financial solution that accommodates all areas of a commercial bank.

FORPOST System was built according to CASE technology and is provided with a superior technological foundation including the OPEN systems concept, Client-Server technology, and Graphical User Interface.

FORPOST is functionally rich, including the complete set of Retail and Head Office applications which cover the whole spectrum of banking transactions and provide control over general ledger, demand deposits, savings, credits, customer information, risk management, resource management, as well as state-of-the-art methods of Bank’s State Evaluation and Multi-Level Bank Structure support. And what is more, FORPOST provides its users with a developed set of interfaces to external applications, among which are S.W.I.F.T. and Internet.

The developers created FORPOST with the rich heritage that banks received from the old accounting systems in mind.

The new version of FORPOST provides a transition from ‘bank of transactions’, the only function of which is registering the results of operations, to ‘bank of relationships’ where attention is focused on the customer. FORPOST also includes tools for management of resources and prognostication.

In general, FORPOST is functionally rich including the complete set of Retail and Head Office applications which cover the whole spectrum of banking transactions and provide control over General Ledger, Demand Deposits, Savings, Credits, Customer Information, Risk management, Resource Management, as well as state-of-the-art methods of Bank’s State Evaluation and Multi-Level Bank Structure support. A substantial amount of activity has been transferred from higher management structures to lower ones by increasing self-dependence and responsibility of branches, departments and other units.

FORPOST is a user-friendly system, that is menu-driven and utilizing the complete workstation environment. Data Security and Distributed Access to Information principles implemented, language independence, ease of use and of further development make FORPOST one of the most sophisticated systems on the market.

FORBIS Ltd. () is a six year old company whose primary purpose is to design comprehensive, flexible and fully integrated software for the banking solutions. For more information please contact Andrej Zujev at a.zujev@forbis.lt or +370 98 49435 Address: FORBIS UAB, 3 Rimsos str. 7, Vilnius, LITHUANIA.

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Air Travel Card New Mrkt Dir

The Air Travel Card today announced the appointment of longtime Trans World Airlines (TWA) professional, Lucius W. (Lu) Brigham as Director of Marketing and Industry Relations. Brigham joins the Air Travel Card after more than 10 years with TWA.

“We are extremely fortunate to acquire the talents of someone like Lu to join our organization. Lu worked his way up the corporate ladder at TWA and possesses unique insights into the working environment one of the major airlines. He has extensive knowledge of our product, having directed TWA’s marketing of Air Travel Card to airline personnel,” said Charles B. Fischer, managing director of Air Travel Card.

As marketing director, Brigham is responsible for developing the marketing and promotional programs to maintain and enhance Air Travel Card’s competitiveness. He also directs the organization’s initiatives to improve awareness of the product and its services through regular communications with the airlines, travel agents and key corporate travel personnel.

A 1978 graduate of the University of Tulsa, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He attained a masters degree in business administration with an emphasis on international business from St. Louis University in 1986.

Brigham replaces Sandi Reynolds who returned to her home in northern California in July. Reynolds will provide consulting services to the Air Travel Card.

Air Travel Card is the business travel payment system offered by 29 airlines and accepted by more than 200 air carriers around the world. As a part of its global network, Air Travel Card owns and licenses the brands AirPlus (Europe) and PassAge (Asia) that provide value-added benefits to travelers.

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Bankruptcy Windfall

If ‘The Responsible Borrower Protection Bankruptcy Act of 1997’ is adopted the bank credit card industry should reap a $2 billion windfall. The proposed legislation would force bankrupt consumers with the ability to pay a portion of their debts into a Chapter 13 filing instead of opting for a Chapter 7 filing. At mid-year American cardholders owed $404.5 billion in credit card debt according to CardData. Losses by card issuers are currently averaging 5.67% and 41.9% of the losses are bankruptcy-related, according to the September issue of Bankcard Barometer. Therefore the card industry will lose about $9.6 billion this year to personal bankruptcies. About 70% of this amount involves Chapter 7 filings or approximately $6.7 billion. A study conducted by the Credit Research Center at Purdue/Georgetown University concluded that 25% of Chapter 7 filers have the ability to repay more than 33% of their unsecured debts over a period of five years. The proposed legislation calls for 20% payout over five years.

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