November 29, 2000

Baccaro Heads Sierra Cities Sales
    L.A.Times "The Bush-Clinton expansion of the 1990s has lasted 38 quarters.
        I don't think it will make it to 42."
            Unicapital Retention Plan, according to Dow Jones
                Finantra said it would eliminate its commercial finance operations in order
                to focus on its two core finance platforms, consumer finance
                and consumer mortgage lending.
            The List is Up-dated

SierraCities.com Announces Appointment of Baccaro to Head Sales

HOUSTON, TX --

Richard A. Baccaro has been promoted to the position of Executive Vice President - Sales. Baccaro brings 15 years industry experience to the position. Prior to being acquired in 1998, Richard served as CEO of Independent Capital Corporation (ICC).

Richard will be responsible for the national sales network, concentrating on building, supporting, and enhancing the retail sales force. "I welcome the opportunity and look forward to the future with great enthusiasm," Baccaro said. The promotion takes effect immediately.

About SierraCities.com

SierraCities is an innovator of technology solutions for online business-to-business financing. The Company's technology platform supports real time funding of e-commerce transactions through one of the most comprehensive online business financing fulfillment solutions available. SierraCities’ credit technologies enable B2B e-commerce by empowering businesses to complete transactions more quickly, thereby gaining time and cost efficiencies. SierraCities’ infrastructure solution automates much of the process involved in customer acquisition, application, data retrieval, data warehousing, underwriting, documentation, servicing, collections, funding, auditing, and data mining. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.SierraCities.com


UniCapital Sets Up Retention Plan for Key Staff
By Donna Hemans, Dow Jones Newswires

UniCapital said it has established a $2.3 million retention program for certain key employees, after earlier announcing plans to terminate 245 employees. The company also said it won't be in compliance with certain debt covenants when the waivers it obtained earlier in the year expire Dec. 1. In its most recent quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, UniCapital said the retention program will run through June 30, 2001. As reported, UniCapital recently decided to stop originating new leases and as a result terminated 245 employees whose duties involved lease origination. The company said it will concentrate on servicing and realizing value from its existing lease portfolio. UniCapital said it won't be in compliance with certain covenants, including the debt to tangible net worth ratio, as of Dec. 1.
The company warned that it may not be able to negotiate extensions of the waiver or negotiate modifications of the covenants prior to the expiration of the waiver. In addition, the company's Limited Recourse Conduit Facility, which was expected to terminate on Aug. 14, was extended to Dec. 1 by Bank of America and other lenders. The company said the extension was granted under the condition that the lenders have the discretion over whether to provide further funding under the facility.
As of Sept. 30, UniCapital said it had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $20.2 million. UniCapital also said it doesn't generate sufficient cash to support its operating costs. The company cautioned that it won't have sufficient cash to continue to operate its business or fund working capital if it is unable to obtain adequate financing, or if it is unable to implement other alternative strategies. In that event, the company, which currently has no other viable financing alternatives, would be subject to risk of foreclosure upon its assets or other proceedings to satisfy the claims of its creditors, the filing said.
UniCapital said it currently is exploring the sale of certain business units, as well as certain tangible and intangible assets, and is also exploring other alternative strategies to resolve its liquidity issues.

( We have reported that several divisions are operational, but a very limited staff. Our inside sources have not reported anything new to us,so we are getting limited information. Here is the list of companies Unicapital purchased, and whether they are operating as independents is not known to us at this time and we believe they are not taking on any new business:

American Capital Resources 2/98
Boulder Capital Group 2/98
Cauff, Lippman Aviation 2/98
Jacom Computer Services 2/98
Matrix Funding 2/98
Merrimac Financial Associates 2/98
MunicipalCapital Markets Group 2/98
The NSJ Group 2/98
PortfolioFinancial Servicing 2/98
Vanlease 2/98
The Walden Group 2/98
K.L.C., Inc. dba Keystone Leasing 5/98
Jumbo Jet 7/98
HLC Financial 7/98
Saddleback Financial Corporation 7/98
U.S. Turbine Engine Corp. 7/98
The Myerson Companies dba BSB Leasing 9/98


Finantra Subsidiary Completes First Investment Grade Securitization

Finantra Capital announced through its wholly-owned consumer finance subsidiary, Travelers Investment, it has completed a $27.35 million asset backed secularization. The securitization, which was completed through Finantra's investment bank, Dain Rauscher, received an A2 rating from Moody's Investment Service. This is the first investment grade rating Travelers has received in its more than 25 year history.

The rated notes, which were issued through Travelers Receivable Finance, were sold out immediately and had an effective yield of 9.32 percent, which was more than 200 basis points below Travelers' term facility borrowing rate.

"To receive an investment grade rating for a company of this size is quite an accomplishment," said Robert Press, chairman and chief executive officer of Finantra Capital. "It is truly a testimony to the strength and stability of Travelers and the quality of its customer base." According to Press, Travelers has signed a securitization placement contract with Dain Rauscher for up to $100 million in total asset secularization. He said Finantra is also negotiating additional credit facilities.

Since Finantra acquired Travelers Investment a year ago, revenues for Carlsbad, California-based Travelers are up more than 80 percent.

Finantra recently announced a restructuring that will refine its balance sheet and streamline its business model. Finantra said it would eliminate its commercial finance operations in order to focus on its two core finance platforms, consumer finance and services and consumer mortgage lending. Finantra took non-recurring charges in the third quarter and expects to take additional charges in the fourth quarter as it completes the restructuring.


56 Leasing Companies Major Changes

Advanta Leasing ( for sale, former prez now at eOriginals, others let go like Kaye Lee?)
Affinity Leasing, Washington ( 12/2000 to close )
American Business Leasing ( gone )
Balboa Capital ( Founder Byrne "...office available any time he wants to use it" ).
The Bancorp Group, Inc. (Southfield, MI) (Not accepting news business. The BOD of the parent     bank is assessing what to do with the leasing subsidiary.....currently servicing portfolio but not     originating. no longer in business )
Bankvest (bankrupt)
Bombadier ( reported having leasing problems, not confirmed, company strong in other divisions )
BSB Leasing (11/2000 closed to accepting new business )
Charter Financial ( purchased by Wells Fargo 9/5/2000 )
Colonial Pacific (11/98) purchased by GE Capital 5/2000 no more re-brokered applications, except     from one or two sources, such as Steve Dunham's Leasing Associates )
Commerce Security ( 9/99 closed to leasing broker program )(11/99 last fundings)
Comstock Leasing ( 3/2000 Unicapital then Linc and discontinued operation this date )
Copelco ( 4/2000 sold to Citibank/10/2000 stock down rated/10/2000 ceases broker business, many     complaints in manner turning off faucet )
Dana ( sold off, active as captive )
DVI Capital ( out of broker )
El Camino Leasing, Woodland Hills, Caifornia (10/2000 No longer taking broker business 11/2000     struggling to stay in leasing business, according to insider reports )
eLease ( June/July/2000 senior management changes )
Finantra (11/2000 will eliminate its commercial finance operations in order to focus on its two core     finance platforms, consumer finance and services and consumer mortgage lending. )
FMA Finance ( reportedly closed to brokers )
Fidelity ( 4/2000 acquired by EAB, a wholly owned subsidiary of ABN AMRO Bank N.V.,     headquartered in the Netherlands, raising funds )
Finova ( out of market place ( 10/2000 Dow Jones headlines "Finova Stock Falls As Buyout Hopes     Wane 10/2000 Dow Jones notes stock falling and problems at Finova 11/2000 Announces they     will discontinue business, sell units 11/2000 Suspends Dividend 11/2000 Leucadia National to     Invest $350 Million in Finova 11/2000 reports $274 million loss ))
First State Bancorp, Albuquerque, N.M ( 3/2000 sold leasing division-$64 million---)
Franklin Leasing, Des Moines, Iowa--owned by Liberty Bank-- (2/2000)-no longer writing leases (     limited by regulations and leases are for sale ).
Franchise Mortagage Acceptance Corporation (FMAC) 11/1999 purchased by Bay View Commercial     Corporation (Bay View Bank) 9/2000 discontinuing all franchise loan and lease production.
Golden Gate Funding ( 2/99 purchased by Westover Financial )
Heller Financial's Commercial Services Unit ( 10/99 purchased by CIT )
Imperial Credit Industries (ICII) ( sold portfolio )
Japan Leasing Credit claims ( JLC --6/99 purchased by Orix )
Lease Acceptance Corp---( ceases broker business 7/26/2000 )
Leasing Solutions ( bankrupt )
Liberty Leasing ( closed, California company )
Linc Capital ( out of vendor and broker business, Nasdaq halts stock sales, $13.4 loss last     quarter,10/2000 assets for sale )
Lyon Credit Corporaton ( 9/99 purchased by Hudson United Bancorp )
Manifest Group--( 9/1/2000 purchased by US Bancorp Leasing and Financial, "...a win for all the     parties involved," Brian Bjella.
Matsco Financial ( purchased by Greater Bay Bank )
Merit Leasing ( gone )
Metwest Leasing, Spokane Wa. ( 9/2000 advising brokers that they have run out of funds so they     are unable to fund a transaction we have there for funding. 11/2000 Metwest Leasing Spokane,     WA. is pulling the plug, confirmed by five sources. )
Metrolease--reports closing operation,John Blazek at Evergreen Leasing, Hathcock losing assets,     will not confirm nor deny; many serious rumors of serious fraud floating around the marketplace,     including debt to Textron Financial.)
NationsCredit, Business Leasing Group (1/29/99 sold to Textron**) *"The Business Leasing Group of Nations Credit was sold to Textron and we still do broker business," Jim Merrilees, very well     respected individual in the leasing industry..
NIA National Leasing ( 3/2000 purchased by Lakeland Bancorp )
New England Capital ( sold to Network Capital Alliance a division of Sovereign Bank. Sovereign did     hire two people who will run a sales office in CT, doing basically the same deals with the same     people as before. Little will change in that aspect.
Newcourt ( sold off )
Onset Capital ( Irwin buys 87% equity )
Orix 10/2000 "long-term Outlook has been revised from Stable to Negative" Credit Allianchat it has     changed its name to ORIX Financial Services, 9/2000 Japanese Bank President Committs Suicide     (Orix is a 14.7% shareholder in bank having problems ), ( 8/2000 closes small ticket vendor     division in Portland, Oregon, "Business as usual (in New Jersey and with brokers)," says Steve     Geller 11/8 New President at Orix appointed 11/10 First Six Month Profits up 14% at Orix! )
Phoenix ( both divisions closed )
Republic Leasing, South Carolina 9/27/2000 ( "The expected result will be a sale of Republic     Leasing"---Dwight Galloway )
Resource Leasing, Herndon, Virginia ( 11/2000 MicroFinancial/Leasecomm acquires major portion of     the assets.)
Rockford ( sold to American Express )
Scripp Financial ( 6/29/2000 ( purchased by US Bancorp )
Signature Leasing, Dublin, California ( 11/2000 no longer in small ticket marketplace )
SDI ( closed to broker programs )
SFC Capital ( 9/15/2000 purchased by Trinity Capital )
SierraCities (11/2000 acquired by Vertical Net Credit )
T&W, Washington (10/2000 filed Chapter 11. Creditors meeting on 12-4-00 Seattle. Case #00-     10868 US Bankruptcy Court Western District of Wash. 206-553-7545. Debtor Attorney-Marc     Barreca 206-623-7580)
Transamerica ( for sale, but no buyers, so taken off marketplace, no longer for sale )
Unicapital (11/2000 NY Stock Exchanges Suspends Sale of Stock, Dow Jones reports 248     employees let go, divisions are closing,BofA credit until December 1. We have received several     conflicting reports of what is open or closed, so we are printing their original purchase of various     companies to let you know who might be no longer taking new business, because of the     difficulties of the parents--at the end of this report )
Varilease ( 11/2000 closed down )
USA Capital Leasing ( gone-bk )

any corrections, additions, comments will be appreciated. We are presently working on dividing the list into last twelve months and prior.

***Original Purchases by Date by Unicapital

American Capital Resources 2/98
Boulder Capital Group 2/98
Cauff, Lippman Aviation 2/98
Jacom Computer Services 2/98
Matrix Funding 2/98
Merrimac Financial Associates 2/98
MunicipalCapital Markets Group 2/98
The NSJ Group 2/98
PortfolioFinancial Servicing 2/98
Vanlease 2/98
The Walden Group 2/98
K.L.C., Inc. dba Keystone Leasing 5/98
Jumbo Jet 7/98
HLC Financial 7/98
Saddleback Financial Corporation 7/98
U.S. Turbine Engine Corp. 7/98
The Myerson Companies dba BSB Leasing 9/98


Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Warning Signals Grow Louder for U.S. Economy
By PETER G. GOSSELIN, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON--The U.S. economy appears to be slowing more suddenly than previously thought. The slowdown increases chances that the highflying economy's long-sought "soft landing" could turn hard, driving up unemployment and forcing the Federal Reserve to reverse course and slash interest rates.

Consumer confidence in November unexpectedly slid to its lowest level in more than a year, a respected business research group said Tuesday. Analysts, tracing the slide to the presidential election limbo and recent tumbles in the stock market, warned that it could result in weaker spending at the nation's malls, real estate offices and auto showrooms. Meanwhile, American businesses apparently are already pulling in their horns. A government report said orders for big-ticket manufactured goods--such as the telecommunications gear that companies have been snapping up to improve efficiency--fell an unexpectedly sharp 5.5% in October.

Analysts called the double whammy of less confident consumers and more cautious businesses the perfect recipe for slowdown. Between the two, consumers and businesses account for about 85% of the nation's economic activity.

"These are early warning signs the expansion may finally be coming to an end," said Edward E. Leamer, an economist and the director of the UCLA Anderson Business Forecast. "The Bush-Clinton expansion of the 1990s has lasted 38 quarters. I don't think it will make it to 42."

There have been signs of a slowdown for months, in no small part because the Fed jacked up interest rates six times between June 1999 and last May to put the brakes on the robust economy and guard against renewed inflation.

But most of the signs have been peripheral to the majority of Americans--a steep tumble in Internet stocks, missed corporate profit predictions, "dot-coms" gone belly up. More recently, the warning signals have begun to flash closer to home. On Monday, the National Assn. of Realtors said home sales dropped 3.9% in October, the second decline in as many months and one that surprised economists who had thought low mortgage interest rates would keep sales rising.

On Thursday, the Labor Department said first-time claims for jobless benefits jumped to an unexpectedly large 336,000 for the previous week, substantially above the 275,000 mark where they hovered earlier this year. A sustained increase in claims is considered a harbinger of a weakening jobs picture.

"There is going to be some deterioration in the labor market. The unemployment rate is going to inch up," predicted Robert V. DiClemente, chief U.S. economist with Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney Inc. in New York.

In fact, although they have not said it publicly, Fed policymakers have wanted the jobless rate to rise from its spectacularly low October level of 3.9%, for fear that wages and then prices would climb in an inflationary spiral. They have been happy to see some of the nation's highest-flying stocks tumble back to Earth in order to avert the risk of a financial bubble. The big question now is whether, having slowed the economy, the central bank can control the slowdown. A variety of analysts said it could, but only if it loosens its grip.

"I think we're going to get an early Christmas present when the Fed meets," said Richard Yamarone, chief economist with Argus Research Corp. in New York. He predicted that at its Dec. 19 meeting, the Fed's policymaking body would drop its bias toward raising rates, and that it might start reducing rates early next year.
Investors did not appear nearly as confident of the Fed's intentions or the economy's prospects Tuesday. They drove the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index down 145.51 points, or 5.1%, to 2734.98, its lowest point in 13 months. They sent the Standard & Poor's 500 index down 1% and the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.4%.
The Nasdaq has plunged 46% from its March 10 high and is off 33% for the year. Though stock prices fell, bond prices rose, a counterpoint movement that often signals investors are looking for a safe haven from slowdown. The price of a 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 9/32 of a point, sending the yield or market interest rate down to a five-week low of 5.58%.
Tuesday's reports, the latest snapshots of the economy's condition, were largely unexpected.
After holding steady for months, the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence dropped to 133.5 this month from 135.8 in October, the second decline in as many months.
The business group said its survey of 5,000 households found that fewer Americans planned to buy houses, cars and major appliances in the coming months, although they did not plan to cut back on holiday gift purchases. Analysts had expected a decline of perhaps 1% in orders for big-ticket manufactured goods in October because of a computer sales slowdown and weakening exports.
They were caught off guard by the Commerce Department's report of a 5.5% drop, following September's 2.4% increase. Although much of the October decline was traceable to a big drop in aircraft sales, it was also fed by a 9.9% drop in orders for electrical equipment and electronics, including telecommunications and computer components.
Analysts said this is the high-tech gear corporate America has been buying to improve its efficiency and is at the very heart of the "new economy."

 



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