April 11, 2001

 

  Headlines:

 

     Official Tom Depping Resignation from Sierra Cities

      JDR Capital “Open for Business,”, according to Bob Baker

       Linc Capital Bankruptcy Hearing Continues

        First Tennessee Bank Launches eFinance Suite for Small Businesses

         Accesspoint Showing Steady Growth In the Face of Slowing Economic Environment

          Monitor Daily Website Hits 2 Million Mark on Fifth Anniversary

           More Sunday Sermon Reaction

 

 

    eLeasing Report tomorrow

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  Copy of letter from Tom Depping to Employees Announcing His Resignation

 

28 March 2001

 

As most of you are aware, our shareholders have tendered over 90% of the outstanding shares to

American Express. American Express anticipates closing the acquisition by Friday. I would like

to thank everyone for working hard to make SierraCities/First Sierra a great company.  One that

will live on as part of the American Express family.

 

I started First Sierra six years ago.   Before I typed up the first business plan First Sierra

did not exist.  As I look back to the early days of First Sierra, I have many fond memories of

the ideas and dreams that serve as the foundation of this company. We accomplished a lot in six

short years.   Ever the pioneer, we consistently delivered innovation and permanently changed

our industry.  In six years, we went from a small start-up company to a dominant provider of

small business loans.  We built the best technology platform for small business lending on the

planet and provided over $3 billion of small business loans to over 100,000 customers; this

number grows every day. 

 

2001 is starting out to be a great year.  It looks like we should earn a profit of over

$2,000,000 for the first quarter, well ahead of plan.  Delinquency and charge-offs are well

within expectation and our margins have never been higher.  With things going as well as they

are many have asked me why we sold the company.  I often ask myself the same question.  To

answer this question one must look at the one major factor we don't control, the long term

capital markets.  These markets have essentially been closed since the summer of 1998.  First

Sierra's June 1999 equity offering is the only capital raised by any specialty finance company

in the last three years.  We are in a business that requires access to long term capital.  The

risk of not being able to obtain additional long term capital a year or two from now is simply

too great and something over which we have virtually no control.  Consequently, I decided to

look for a strategic partner or acquirer who either had access to capital or was a large

financial institution with the capability to take what we have built and allow it to realize its full potential.  I cannot think of a better company than American Express, a world class

financial services company.

 

The next question I would like to address is what I am going to do and why.  I recently had a

message posted on our web site about the essence of survival.  I thought this message was

appropriate for a couple of reasons.  First, we are survivors of a very difficult period for

small ticket leasing companies.  In fact, I believe we are the lone survivor of all the

companies that went public in 1996 and 1997. Innovation and vision, however, allowed

SierraCities/First Sierra to survive. While others grew by taking foolish credit risks, we grew

by building technology.  The lion was never quite fast enough to catch us.  

 

Shortly after the acquisition is complete I will be leaving.  While American Express is a great

company and they will put new leadership in place that will help our culture make the

transformation from a small entrepreneurial company to a major world class financial services

company, from my perspective, I think it is time to seek new challenges.  I am more like the

gazelle than the lion.  I need the thrill of the chase to get motivated every morning.

 

Thank you once again for helping make SierraCities/First Sierra the best small ticket company on the planet.  We should have a very bright future as part of American Express. 

 

I wish you all the best.

 

 

 

 

Tom

 

P.S.  Make sure the lion does not go hungry!

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

                  JDR Capital

 

( We have been reporting the changes at JDR Capital, but have not said they are

"out of business" and to our knowledge, were still accepting business. We have

not included them on the Leasing News List. editor )

 

 

 

Kit,

 I thought it might be appropriate for your readers benefit

to comment on the JDR situation. JDR, according to Jackie

Houget their VP of Marketing  are still very much in business.

They moved in to their old offices and have drastically

reduced personnel. When JDR lost Copelco which, as I understand

it, was their primary source it definitely hurt them. They are

recovering slowly and adding additional funding capabilities.

JDR is a super broker but they have always catered to the small

broker. They to my knowledge have always done a good job. I have

done training for JDR and have always found them to be a class

act. Their is no question they were hurt by Copelco and have

struggled. In my opinion they will survive and may come out

stronger than before. As with all things in our business time

will tell.

                                                            Regards,

                                                            Bob Baker CLP

                                        Baker@wildwoodfinancial.com

                                                            President

                              Wildwood Financial Group

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Hello,

I'm leaving the Equipment Leasing Association and would like to be taken off of the list-serve.

I've appreciated and enjoyed the news shared.

Best of luck with the web site!

 

Best regards,

Anna-Lisa Jenkins

Membership Coordinator

Equipment Leasing Association

703-527-8655 x 8376

703-527-2649

ajenkins@elamail.com

 

  ( We will miss her, and hope she comes back to the leasing industry.  We get about

    five to ten e-mails a week from people who request to be removed because they

    are leaving the leasing industry.  Most a very complimentary, as Ms. Jenkins,

    but we hate to see them leave. editor ).

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Linc Capital

 

 Leasing News predicted the bankruptcy filing would get "dirty" and "was not

over"  Here is the latest:

 

 April 9, 2001, LINC Capital filed a motion in bankruptcy court requesting

more time to file certain schedules and one of the reasons for this request

was that:

 

        "In addition, certain shareholders of Debtor [LINC] have recently

filed suit against certain directors and officers that has unexpectedly

required the Debtor's employees time and resources"

 

        Does anyone know:

        1) Who filed?

        2) Against which directors/officers?

        3) Where filed?

        4) Preferred stock or common stock or both?"

 

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

     More Comments on Sunday Sermon--

 

Kit... I agree with you. We are on this earth for to short of time to

see the veil in people versus the good. Anytime someone fails or

someone life ends we as a society and as a community are diminished.

 

Bob Chlebowski

Capital, Technology & Leasing

rchlebowski@captechleasing.com

 

          +               +                     +

 

"Dear Kit,

 

I really love all the hard work you and your staff put in on the news.

Actually, checking your site is one of the first things I do each morning,

just to keep up on things.

 

Also, concerning your Sunday Sermon, please send that to me.  I'm always

interested in other people's viewpoints... religious, political or

otherwise.  After all, isn't our business really about people?

 

Thanks,

 

Drew Taggart, Nat. Mgr.

United Leasing Associates

LionsRyche@excite.com

 

+                    +                         +

 

It's not about hate.  It's about reasonable and productive people who have

grown tired of those who want to take advantage of the free market economy

which provides our prosperity. Why should we stand by idle and allow short

term greediness and marginal ethics to cast a negative veil on our industry?

 

Bill Beaver

Alpine Pacific Leasing, Inc.

 CBeaver123@aol.com

 

 +                    +                        +

 

 

 

 

... the answer to the problem is a moderation of needs vs.

total dependency! When you paint yourself into a corner it is easy to blame

others for a lack of help, California is the size of Japan and we don't here

them asking for much of anything.

 

The religious aspect of the e-mail you sent afterwards is a given. We do

live in a very self centered world not to mention a cut throat business. The

humor you were supposed to be expounding was wasted on most who are hell

bent for themselves.

 

It was nice to see a little girl receive an Easter basket from her Aunt on

Palm Sunday and to be genuinely grateful to have it! Sermons are meant for

preachers and those who want to send a good message to all and for that

message I am thankful that you did! Don't get disheartened when people vent

or pronounce a solution to a problem. Human nature is a reactionary thing

that people either get the message or they don't.

 

Hate is a strong word but disgust is usually what I think is more relevant

in this day and age. I don't agree with a whole lot of people. It doesn't

mean I hate them. I just don't put up with their crap and I'm not afraid to

tell them so or be told if they don't like mine!! Life always has been a to

way street! Rich..

 

Richard W. Madera

richwm@mninter.net

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

#############################################################

 

First Tennessee Bank Launches Financial Fusion Business e-Finance Suite for Small Business;

Gomez Ranks Online Banking Site Number One in Ease of Use Category

 

   

 

    BOSTON----Financial Fusion, Inc. announced today that First Tennessee Bank has launched

online banking for small business customers using the Financial Fusion Business e-Finance Suite. Developed exclusively to meet the needs of the small business user, the Business e-Finance Suite features the ability to view accounts, transfer funds and pay bills, and control account access

through entitlements. The Business e-Finance Suite will augment First Tennessee's existing award winning installation of the Consumer e-Finance Suite that, was just ranked number one by Gomez

for "ease of use".

    Small business banking has become more important to financial institutions as growing

numbers of small businesses have increased online banking revenue potentials. Small businesses

will spend $61 billion on banking services by 2002 with 60% of small businesses using commercial online services by 2003 (Meridien Research). With Financial Fusion, First Tennessee is able to

leverage their existing Financial Fusion infrastructure to expand their presence into the small

business market with the goal of transforming their online banking offering into a major profit

center for the bank. The functionality and ease of use of Financial Fusion Business e-Finance

Suite allows First Tennessee to attract and retain their customers in order to build long-term,

profitable relationships. First Tennessee has targeted this product for small business users who do not currently use cash management services.

    "The design and usability of Financial Fusion's products provides First Tennessee with the

best online customer experience, promoting user productivity and increasing overall customer

satisfaction," said Susan Terry, senior vice president, Online Financial Services, First

Tennessee Bank. "With Financial Fusion's Consumer e-Finance Suite and Business e-Finance Suite,

we are furthering our commitment to our customers who want to bank online."

    "The Financial Fusion e-Finance Suites are developed and tested extensively by Human Factors Engineers who work with users to ensure that our products are engaging, meet their needs, and

consequently promote customer retention" says Chris Infurchia, senior vice president, Financial

Fusion. "The Gomez award reinforces Financial Fusion's reputation as the "customer satisfaction

company."

 

    About First Tennessee

 

    First Tennessee Bank National Association is the principal subsidiary of First Tennessee

National Corporation. FTNC (NYSE:FTN - news) is a nationwide, diversified financial services

institution and one of the 50 largest bank holding companies in the U.S. in asset size and

market capitalization. The corporation's All Things Financial promise is fulfilled through the

regional banking group and three national lines of business: First Horizon Home Loans, First

Tennessee Capital Markets, and transaction processing. Transaction processing includes First

Horizon Merchant Services, the MONEY BELT automated teller machine network, the nationwide check clearing operation First Express, and other transaction-oriented cash management products. For

more information visit www.firsttennessee.com.

 

    About Financial Fusion

 

    Financial Fusion, Inc. (www.financialfusion.com) provides enterprise-class e-finance

solutions to the world's leading financial institutions, fusing applications and middleware on a single, integrated platform. The company builds complete financial destinations for banking and

STP solutions for capital markets. All solutions run on the Financial Fusion Server(TM), a 100%

Java based, multi-tier architecture, built to open standards. The company's worldwide support

network includes offices in 60 countries. Global alliance partners include IBM, Sun

Microsystems, Global Crossing, PricewaterhouseCoopers, e-Profile, Intuit and CheckFree.

Financial Fusion is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sybase, Inc. (NASDAQ: SYBS).

 

    Financial Fusion, Inc., the Financial Fusion logo and Financial Fusion Server are trademarks of Financial Fusion, Inc.

 

###############################################################

from this press release:

 

" The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which surveys members monthly, said

that in February, only 21% reported higher sales for the previous three months. Meanwhile, 35%

were experiencing lower sales. All in all, it's the worst showing since 1991. Likewise, the

respondents reporting reduced earnings are lower than at any time since 1992, while the

federation's index gauging capital-spending plans was near its historical low in February. The

majority of those surveyed cited economic prospects for their tightfistedness. 'We're seeing

what you would expect when sales drop,' says William C. Dunkelberg, the NFIB's chief economist.

'Profits will be lower this year, but it doesn't mean people are going out of business.'"

 

 

 (But companies who supply credit, report growth, as certain leasing companies

 can also grow in this economy. editor)

 

 

Accesspoint Showing Steady Growth In the Face of Slowing Economic Environment

 

    Business Editors

 

    IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 9, 2001--Accesspoint Corp. (OTCBB:ASAP) announced

today that the company continues to achieve marked growth despite the fact that many

technology-based companies have struggled in recent months.

    The growth has resulted largely from its credit card processing division, which has enjoyed

an increase of more then 68% in the dollar volume of transactions settled from February to March 2001. This division also continues to show geometric growth in both total revenues and in the

number of merchants serviced.

    "Our decision to transition from a third party software and internet services provider to a

primary provider of financial transaction underwriting, processing and business management

services has really begun to pay off as we continue to see our numbers grow," said Tom M.

Djokovich, CEO of Accesspoint.

    "To see our revenues increase by more than 56% for the first quarter of 2001, while

significantly reducing our operating costs through consolidation and automation is very

encouraging," continued Djokovich.

    "Accesspoint's technology is making it easy for both our growing national sales channel and

our base of merchants to enjoy the benefits of a comprehensive level of payment options and

value-added businesses services without having to juggle the multiple business relationships

normally required for these functions," concluded Djokovich.

    The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which surveys members monthly, said

that in February, only 21% reported higher sales for the previous three months. Meanwhile, 35%

were experiencing lower sales. All in all, it's the worst showing since 1991. Likewise, the

respondents reporting reduced earnings are lower than at any time since 1992, while the

federation's index gauging capital-spending plans was near its historical low in February. The

majority of those surveyed cited economic prospects for their tightfistedness. "We're seeing

what you would expect when sales drop," says William C. Dunkelberg, the NFIB's chief economist.

"Profits will be lower this year, but it doesn't mean people are going out of business."

    Even in the face of adverse economic conditions, however, Accesspoint is making major

inroads in the greater than $8 trillion check payment market and $1 trillion credit card

processing industries.

 

    About Accesspoint

 

    Accesspoint has been serving thousands of merchants nationwide since 1995 and has combined

its mature Application Services technology platform with its unique relationships with Chase

Merchant Services LLC and First National Bank of Omaha to provide bundled payment acceptance and

 

 

business management services.

    These programs provide customers with multiple payment acceptance capabilities including

credit card and check transaction, a fully operational e-commerce and business management Web

site, and a central Web-based management system for servicing both the brick-and-mortar and

Web-based sides to each business.

    This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding Accesspoint's business

strategies and future plans of operations. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown

risk and uncertainties. The company's risks and uncertainties include: intense price

competition, economic, political and regulatory uncertainties, the need to raise additional

capital until the company can fund itself directly from operations, its ability to expand its

ISO network and its ability to attract additional customers. The forward-looking statements

contained in this news release speak only as of the date hereof and Accesspoint disclaims any

obligation to provide public updates, revisions or amendments to any forward-looking statements

made herein to reflect changes in the Accesspoint's expectations or future events.

 

 

    --30--lr/sf*

 

    CONTACT: Accesspoint Corporation

             Tom Djokovich, 949/852-8526

             www.Accesspoint.com

                or

             Alliance Consulting Group

             Lawrence Hartman, 800/229-2682

             www.AllConsultGroup.com

 

###############################################################

 

 Their Announcement:

 

Monitordaily.com Surpasses Two Million "Hit" Mark

 

Molloy Associates, Wayne, Pennsylvania, announced that its monitordaily.com website has passed

the two million mark in monthly "hits". Jerry Parrotto, president of Molloy Associates, said,

"We're pleased that our daily traffic patterns over the past year have more than doubled, which

is especially gratifying given that we were able to sustain a doubling effect of our visitor

sessions at the same time." One of the reasons given for this continuing trend is a surge in

inquiries for each of the job opportunity sections of the site. Parrotto commented, "It seems to follow the current environment that we find ourselves in - the employment landscape is changing, so it's not surprising that we have experienced higher visitor levels for our classified, job

seekers and career showcase sections. Clearly, more people are looking to connect with a new

employer and they're surfing the net to do it."

 

Molloy Associates launched its Daily E-News feature in September,2000 which provides direct

email delivery of daily news to leasing professionals every weekday morning. "Monitordaily's

goal from the outset has been to provide news and information within 24 hours of an event or

news story and I think we've done that consistently for the past five years," said Lisa Rafter,

senior vice president and editor of the Monitor trade journal.

 

 

###############################################################

 

 PinnFund/PinnLeasing

 

  "It is not OPM the largest fraud, but Bennett," says Charlie Meacker

 

 

Re:  PinnLease / and my reference to Bennett Funding's debacle.  It was the

largest "Ponzi Scheme" to date.  I followed it closely, since it happened in

"my old home town" of Syracuse, and was well-covered in the local newspaper -

my mother-in-law sent me every clipping for three years as it played out. 

The liabilities of the Bennett group (several companies, including Aloha) was

about $950 Million.

 

I sent the clippings to Mark Speros.  He probably still has them.

 

Charlie Meaker - Lease Financing, Inc.

 Mrlease@aol.com

 

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