January 10, 2001
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Advanta Corp.'s Ratings Remain on Rating Watch by Fitch
They state despite sale of Mortgage division, plans are still to sell
the leasing division and concentrate of credit card sales for "liquidity."
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)----Fitch affirms the senior unsecured and preferred stock ratings of Advanta Corp. at `B+' and `B-', respectively. Ratings for Advanta National Bank's certificates of deposit and unsecured senior debt are also affirmed at `BB-/B' and `B+', respectively.
The ratings for Advanta Corp. and Advanta National Bank remain on Rating Watch Negative, where they were first placed on June 5, 2000. Rating Watch Negative indicates that the current ratings may be maintained at their current level or lowered upon review. Today's action reflects the announced sale of Advanta's subprime mortgage assets and operations to Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp., a subsidiary of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Advanta has announced that it will use a portion of the proceeds from this sale to pay down existing long-term debt coming due during 2001.
The transaction, which is subject to Advanta shareholder approval, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2001. While Fitch views this development positively for current debt holders, the ratings remain on Rating Watch Negative at this time.
Fitch will be meeting with company management early in the first quarter to discuss the strategic direction of the firm following execution of the sale agreement.
Fitch anticipates that the successful sale of the mortgage operations will improve company liquidity over the intermediate term. However, this sale will reduce the company's business line focus, leaving only the business credit card and small ticket leasing units.
Going forward, Advanta is expected to focus on growing its business credit card unit ($1.5 billion in receivables at Sept. 30, 2000) and attempting to complete the sale or restructuring of its marginal leasing operation.
Future ratings by Fitch will reflect its scaled down business franchise, lack of seasoning and aggressive growth of the existing business credit card unit. Additional considerations will be the utilization of any excess cash after paying down maturing debt, capital structure of the streamlined company as well the performance of the business credit card operation.
A final ratings determination will be made following Fitch's meeting with company management and the completion of the sale of the mortgage operations.
Fitch, New York
Christopher D. Wolfe, 212/908-0771
Thomas J. Abruzzo, 212/908-0793
LeasePoint.com Earns BBBOnLine Privacy Seal
"Businesses that qualify for the BBBOnLine Privacy Seal are demonstrating to their customers care and respect for the treatment of personal data," said Ken Hunter, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. "The BBBOnLine Privacy Program builds on eight decades of Better Business Bureau experience in fostering ethical business practices through voluntary self-regulation programs." The Council is the umbrella organization for the 132 BBBs in the United States and Puerto Rico, and the parent organization of BBBOnLine.
In addition, seal holders agree to participate in the programs dispute resolution system that provides a consumer-friendly dispute settlement process and offers specific consequences for non-compliance, such as seal withdrawal, publicity and referral to government enforcement agencies.
"LeasePoint.com has shown the strongest dedication to protecting its online customers' privacy by participating in the BBBOnLine Privacy Program and posting the BBBOnLine Privacy Seal on their web site. We commend them for helping to build consumer trust and confidence on the Internet," said Charlie Underhill, acting chief operating officer of BBBOnLine.
LeasePoint.com displays the BBBOnLine Privacy Seal on their Web site, at www.leasepoint.com.
Additional information about the BBBOnLine Privacy and Reliability Seal Programs can be found at www.bbbonline.org.
Based in Minneapolis, LeasePoint.com is an industry-leading Internet site for businesses seeking to lease technology equipment. LeasePoint.com matches these businesses with vendors and lenders to give businesses the best lease options available. LeasePoint does this with specially developed technology that removes obstacles of traditional leasing and makes the process fast and easy. The company's web site is www.leasepoint.com.
BBBOnLine, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. Original founding sponsors include America Online, Ameritech, AT&T Corp., Bank of America, Dun & Bradstreet, Eastman Kodak Company, GTE, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, The Procter & Gamble Company, Reed Elsevier Inc., Road Runner, Sony Electronics, US WEST Media Group, Visa U.S.A., and Xerox Corporation. Companies participating in the Privacy Program follow the basic principle of the program, "say what you do, do what you say and have it verified."
Elen Bahr 877/841-7500
Semiconductor industry's 2001 outlook is bleak
Slowing PC, cell phone sales cited by San Jose Mercury News
BY THERESE POLETTI
In an ominous sign for Silicon Valley's economy, the boom-and-bust computer chip industry is heading into another bust.
Sales of semiconductors and the equipment needed to make them will be nearly flat in 2001, according to new forecasts from two leading research firms...
The reason for the slump is simple: Amid a slowing economy and high energy prices, people aren't buying personal computers and cell phones as fast as they used to, and companies are slowing purchases of networking and Internet equipment. All of those devices use chips, and the downturn suggests more bad news to come in the broader technology industry.
Clientek Designs First E-Brokerage Site for Commercial Real Estate Industry;Tenants Find and Lease Their Own Office Space Online
MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Clientek -- a rapidly-growing technology and business consulting firm -- announced today the launch of http://www.spacelease.com , the first tenant representative, e-brokerage business that allows visitors to search, select and lease small (under 10,000 square feet) commercial real estate properties online. The company developed the Web application over the past year and a half for Seattle-based SpaceLease and its partner Colliers International.
Clientek President Kirk Hoaglund commented about the consulting firm's role in SpaceLease's success since its debut. "Our relationship with SpaceLease exemplifies how we help build businesses, having worked closely with the Seattle-based firm SpaceLease as a co-venture partner from conception through fund-raising and partnering activities. Our technology development approach helped SpaceLease to create an easy-to-use, tenant oriented site."
SpaceLease President and CEO Gary Bodenstab concurred, "We could not have built this business without Clientek's clear vision and technical savvy, which is a rare combination in Web development companies of today. We easily could have spent money and time on the wrong things, but Clientek's pragmatic and professional approach kept us focused on creating the greatest value at this point in our company's growth. Since SpaceLease.com is the first attempt by a leading commercial real estate company such as Colliers to introduce a pure Internet solution for leasing office space, we relied on Clientek for both their technical and business process expertise. We have exceeded expectations, and plan subsequent roll outs in major cities on the West Coast, and Minneapolis is slated for mid-2001."
Colliers International Executive Managing Director Rob Aigner noted, "This Internet solution truly empowers small-space to essentially choose and negotiate their own space."
Bodenstab explained, "There is no charge for the service. Registered users allow Colliers and SpaceLease to be their representative for any properties found through the site, which authorizes the firms to receive a leasing commission paid for by the property owner."
For more information about Clientek, call 612-379-1440 or visit http://www.clientek.com . For more information about SpaceLease, call 206-298-2900 or visit http://www.spacelease.com
Since 1992, Minneapolis-based Clientek has helped Fortune 500, medium-sized and emerging companies build their business through pragmatic use of technology. The Company designs and implements cutting-edge Web-based businesses on a foundation of experience in integrating Web technologies with business solution delivery disciplines.
CO: Clientek; SpaceLease; Colliers International
ST: Minnesota, Washington
"Down On Leasing? Heavens No!!! Life is Great!!!"
PLEASE add me to your list for the e-mail leasingnews. This is the first time that I have seen it. GREAT.
In response to being "down on leasing," I have been a lessor and after selling out now a broker for a total of 32 years. The phone, the fax, and FedEx still work just as good as they did in 1969. Actually better. Plus now I have a computer. But I do not need the web for business. I am so busy all of the time it is incredible. Until recently all I did was trucks. Now I am diversifying to make it a little more interesting. The only reason that one is not busy is that one is lazy and would rather complain. Life is great. And you can print that.
Gary W. Psaledas-President
Western Equipment Financing, Inc.
83 Abajo Dr.
Edgewood, NM 87015
505-286-5437, Fax 505-286-5438
What About Barry Marks Book?
I know that a big part of your publication is that you have no banners and advertising. I believe i did see a plug for a book that was co-authored by Barry Marks legal advisor for the N.A.E.L.B.
name with held
WeLLLLLLLLLl-----It really wasn't an advertisement, it was a "plug" I was asked about it, and I thought it was a good book. You will see opinions and dislikes and announcements, and I always print the entire e-mail, including the signatures, which often has "advertising". And, yes we have no banners or advertising, but by printing news or opinions, sometimes we plug something like:
Power Tools for Successful Leasing
by James M. Johnson, PH.d
Barry S. Marks
Leasing Power tools Press
43W690 Willow Creek Court
Elburn, Illinois 60119
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
This is a wise investment: $79.95 plus $5.00 for handling Check, money order or credit card number ( MasterCard/Visa or American Express) with expiration date. Be sure to include name, address and telephone number, with area code or e-mail or fax or call.
We are in the process of changing our feature "Bulletin Board" to "Customer Complaints." Since we screen all complaints, this really is not a "Bulletin Board." In addition, we are getting inquiries from "applicants" and "lessees." You will see them posted. Most concern not returning the first and last.
We look into all of them. We have been able to get money returned to applicants, and also brokers who have not been paid their commission. There are two sides to a story. Some we have not printed as we classified them as "civil disputes." If there is a question regarding the dispute, we would rather be on the side of caution. However, when we get several complaints about the same company, a trend begins. Often it becomes "hard news."
Controversy Continues on Association Membership Dues
It is not fair to compare ELA and UAEL on cost. ELA has much more to offer by way of differentiation. There is substance there that helps us understand the industry not just develop relationships. It is a professional association. The best I have ever personally been involved in.
( we are presently putting together an association membership dues and benefit comparison, awaiting by mail from ELA and UAEL to complete. editor ).
Ken Duffy/Summit ----------- Service Provider and UAEL
While we are privileged to be included as a recipient of the "News", I wonder if, as a software vendor, it would be wise to comment. However, you might pass this along to the powers-that-be as a matter of information that could help them understand why UAEL might have financial instability:
1) We built UAEL's first web site- FREE
2) We hosted UAEL's web site, with ZERO down time, for two years- FREE
3) We would still be hosting it FREE but for the wisdom of Dr. W who decided to incur the cost of hosting it inside. That was smart. How many crashes did he apologize for? How often was it kept up to date?
4) Our 1998 dues check was "lost", misapplied to another account, according to Dr W but he dunned and threatened us silly, and never apologized once he found his mistake.
5) Our 1999 dues check was "lost", again misapplied to another account. Although we produced a copy of the canceled check he threatened to cancel our membership. We contacted Messrs. Lahti and Rodi who were able to straighten out Dr. W. But we stopped advertising.
6) Our 2000 dues check was "lost" !!!. This time they didn't cash it. We wrote three letters asking them what they wanted to do and NEVER got a reply. And we stopped advertising.
7) We haven't received a bill for 2001 dues so I suppose we've been kicked out. That's smart. Kickees don't advertise.
8) We bought and PAID for an ad in the Fall conference issue because some nice UAEL lady called our advertising lady and we felt sorry for her. The check has cleared but I doubt they applied it correctly and we will get dunned. And of course, that will cause us to avoid advertising.
9) We don't go to the conferences because they are a waste of time. The internet and net meeting have cut attendance at most of these traditional events dramatically and UAEL somehow doesn't get it.
10) No conferences in Chicago? The #1-2-3 financial center in the US and most easily reached from all points at reasonable cost. That's smart.
11) We advertise with ALL the leasing pubs, except UAEL (we did FALL because we felt sorry for them). They NEVER call us and NEVER followed up on the Fall ad and NEVER followed up on our dues check.
We serve 200 leasing companies and banks worldwide including 19 of the 100 largest. But for some reason we don't count and that's symptomatic of how many of the other members have felt. Get the financial house in order and dues increases will be unnecessary or easier to justify. If we haven't gotten our invoice and others, too, as reported, and those that did, were surprised at the rate increase, all I can say is YIKES!!!!
Have a nice day.
SIGNED! ( I agree with those who believe anonymous should not be published )
Summit National, Inc.
( Ken---American Leasing is a member of UAEL, and we never got an invoice either. I am also trying to find out what the current dues are, as the web site does not appear to have the current dues, either. The web site is not up-to-date. Maybe they will now bill you,Ken,as I asked UAEL to re-bill American Leasing. Don't give up the ship! editor )
( P.S. You left out that you had offered a Ten Thousand Dollar Scholarship or fund to honor the founder of your company right after his death, but were turned down by the "executive committee" or maybe it was the "full board" as they considered it "advertising." They actually turned down a cash contribution of $10,000. I still cannot believe that to this day. editor )
( P.P.S. Yes, there may be a conflict of interest here. One of the leasing companies that Summit provides software and services American Leasing, for many successful years. Plus my son is in the US Navy, and so is his ( Ken's son is way up there, however. My son is just a Petty Officer, at this time. Kit Menkin )
Bob Rodi's Last Word ( I doubt it. But take a break first, get a cup of coffee, and read the "authority" on the subject, and he also invites you to call him by telephone, too. editor )
I continue to reply to the many comments regarding the UAEL. Since you openly state that there aren't many in the UAEL leadership who read this news letter I feel that it is incumbent upon me to answer. Just so that everyone understands, these are my own opinions and they do not represent the opinions of others in the leadership or membership. I wish more of them would come forward but until then I will gladly participate as the "lone wolf". I have some strong opinions about membership in any organization and I believe that their are joiners and strong volunteers who make the organization work and then there are the whiners who join looking for something that they will never find. These are the people who come and go waiting for someone else to put together an organization that provides them with the "experience" they think they deserve. I also believe that you get out exactly what you put in to the association whether that be UAEL, NAELB, ELA or EAEL. Personally, I find it odd that the leasing industry has to have four "associations" to address the needs of those participants that want to join something. I suppose that it is a reflection of the fragmentation in the industry as a whole.
The UAEL funding retreats that received criticism in yesterdays leasingnews were an evolution of the regional meeting. John B. is correct in saying that the UAEL did this on a regional basis. Why did we change? We changed to the retreat format about 4 years ago because we got complaints from the funding source members about their employees doing too many regional meetings. It was too expensive for them to send all of their people to the regional meetings where we used to do the "panel" format. This didn't do anything to increase the revenue of the UAEL. All it did was shift the revenue from 24 regional meetings to the 6 super regional events. Every year we solicit feedback from the funding sources who participate to see if the funding retreats should continue. Guess what John? The funding source committee of the UAEL votes to continue the retreats. Overall the retreats have been a tremendous success with respect to recruiting new members and the level of satisfaction on the part of the funding sources who participate. If we get information this year that we should not continue them then I believe that the UAEL board would act accordingly.
I also have one more comment for you John. The UAEL has never abandoned its regions. Finding good volunteers to operate the regions has, on the other hand, been difficult. I must say that it has been a long time since I have heard anyone so passionately and eloquently represent the regional concept of the UAEL as you did. With your permission I would love to recommend you as the Regional Chair for the Dallas Region. I will have Vice President, Bob Fisher of Fisher-Anderson call you. With your grasp and understanding of the regional concept I'm sure that you will be a highly successful regional chair. I just don't understand why you've never come forward as a volunteer before.
With respect to the comments regarding the cost of membership in the ELA compared to the UAEL I simply find the comparison laughable. The ELA is a better value for whom? I have attended several ELA functions over the years and one time I attended their "funding forum" in Chicago. I found that I couldn't get the time of day from most of the "funding sources" that were there. While I agree with Debbie that her dues ( as a funding source member of UAEL) are higher than her dues at ELA one would have to consider that this is on a relative basis. I believe that my UAEL dues are $900.00 this year. For my company that is actually 30% less than the ELA. What "services" would I be subsidizing with my dues to the ELA for the higher price? High priced offices in Washington DC? Maybe I would be paying for a lobbyist that would seek to influence legislation? What percentage of the membership of UAEL, NAELB or EAEL need those types of services. I am not trying to be critical of the ELA. Debbie Monosson's comments simply illustrate what I stated earlier. Each member has a perception of the "value" of their membership. Some people would think $10.00 is too much, some would pay much more because of what they take away professionally, mentally and emotionally from their association. I have received tremendous value from the UAEL over the years and I expect that I will continue to do so because of the amount of personal effort I contribute toward my membership. I believe that any member of any association who has put the maximum effort toward their membership would respond in kind.
The UAEL ended the year 2000 with 589 members. This is record setting membership. The much maligned Orland conference was one of the top three fall conferences in the 26 year history of WAEL/UAEL. Was it the success I hoped it would be? No it wasn't. But George Davis and Ginny Young in Monterey was a tough act to follow. Do we have some growing pains? Maybe. We are still the only association that serves the broker, lessor, funders, service members and the legal profession. We do this with everyone having a vote and a say in the way the association is run, and yes, we do it on a national basis. There are those critics who will never be satisfied with the operation of the association. Times have changed, the industry has changed and I hope that the UAEL will continue to evolve, change and grow. I have never been happy with the status quo. I believe that chaos, if managed properly, creates opportunity. Stand still in this day and age and you will be wondering where everyone went. The criticism that has been leveled at the UAEL explains to a large extent the actions that have caused so much consternation as of late. Anonymous evidently thinks that I don't, or didn't hear the voices of the membership. Nothing is farther from the truth. I did hear them and I acted on what I heard. I don't care about my ego. Does "anonymous" actually think that "UAEL President, Year 2000" was going to be chiseled on my tombstone. Not hardly. Anyone can see the turmoil that these actions cause. Do you now understand why certain members of the past leadership were reluctant to take these actions? What was done had to be done. I was the person to do it. Chuck Brazier, our 2001 leader, is far more diplomatic than me. He can smooth some of the ruffled feathers if he wants to. Anybody that thinks that's coming from me just doesn't know me very well.
Anonymous (all of you), Debbie Monosson (someone for whom I have tremendous respect) and John B.(I really hope you take the job as regional chair) and every member of the UAEL. I represented all of you. I care about every dollar we all give to the organization and I care about every member and so does every dedicated member of the leadership of the UAEL (or any association for that matter). I owed as much to all of those who helped and reached out to me. The UAEL people were always there for me. Because of that example I will always be there to help or assist anyone that needs or asks for it. That has been the biggest member benefit to me and the only one that I ever really cared about for all these 15 years.
Abraham Lincoln said "You can't please all of the people all of the time" He was absolutely right about that. Debbie commented on the "political machinations" at the UAEL. I think she has provided me with the answer to my dilemma. I am not now, nor have I ever been a politician or a diplomat. When Ray Williams asked me to submit my name to the nominating committee I turned him down at first. I told him that I just wasn't enough of a politician. Maybe now he understands what I meant by that.
While I really enjoy this public forum maybe it's time I had some private conversations with anybody who cares enough to call me. I'll pay for the call. 1-800-321-5327.
Immediate Past President, UAEL