January 17, 2001

     El Camino Leasing Winding Down?
      Dimension Funding Lake Tahoe Office Broken Into---Competitor Accused
        NAELB Barry Marks, Esq. on Membership
          UAEL Ken Greene, Esq. on Membership
        Advice to Lease Brokers on Collecting Commissions
           MARTICA ESTRADA At BANCUNION SAYS " It Ain't So! "
          Leasebynet Joins the Auto Leasing Internet Fray
       TCF Reports Record Earnings
        LeasePoint.Com Moves Forward
          DocuTouch Forms Strong Alliance
            Despite Montgomery Ward Expected $1 Billion Write-Off,
             GE Reports Record Earnings/Financial Strength
               BT&T On Line Announces Second Year Tie In with Intuit for Tax Refunds

   Adrian Bulman Remembered               

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  El Camino Leasing

It is reported that El Camino Leasing has sold most of its portfolio, and in addition to not taking any more broker business,is in the process of "winding down." Partner relationships and other assets from perhaps the world largest privately held leasing company are being "sold off," according to a highly reliable source. It appears El Camino Leasing is closing their business.

We have not seen any formal announcements from GATX or others about the purchase of the portfolio, to confirm all this.  If correct, this would leave ATEL Leasing, San Francisco, the largest privately owned leasing company, who also uses securitazaton to fund leases.

If anyone has seen any announcements or has further information, please send to Leasing News.

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  Dimension Funding Lake Tahoe Office Broken Into---Competitor Accused

Dimension Fudning, LLC has been successful in opening a new office in the North Lake Tahoe Area, according to Vice-President Larry Wagner.  The office has been open for about a week, when on January 11th they discovered someone had forced their way into the office. Nothing of value was touched or damaged, according to Placer County Sheriff Detective Helen Thompson. What was removed were Dun & Bradstreet Lists, customer files, name  plates from desks.  In addition, it appears computer terminals were accessed.

"They appeared to be familiar with what they wanted, " Sherrif Thompson said.

" Obviously things that only another leasing company would be interested in, " Larry Wagner commented. " It is obvious to everyone that there is only one other leasing company in North Lake Tahoe.

It was reported that both Mark Seif of Preferred Capital, and James Raider, of Capital Werks ( formerly of Sierra Cities and Republic Leasing of Anaheim,) were seen at an adjacent Casino for several hours at about the time someone gained entrance into the Dimension Funding Office located in Crystal Bay.

Detective Thompson considers the case "open" and will continue investigating. Leasing News has learned there is a "civil dispute" regarding an ex-employee of Preferred Capital and Dimension Funding.  Mort Seif was willing to discuss the "civil dispute," saying he planned to file charges in Superior Court, but was unaware of any "break in" of the Dimension Funding branch office.

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 Adrian Bulman Remembered

       an announcement sent to all their members by the National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers

Leasing not only builds character, it builds characters.

Everyone who had the pleasure to know, to experience, Adrian Bulman knew that he was larger than life. Nothing with Adrian was gray (which made him doubly tough on lawyers). He was one of NAELB's founders, and our first secretary, because he perceived the need to address fraud, unfairness and unethical conduct in our industry. He was the first to congratulate the Board on a good decision and to question what he considered a bad one.

To all of us, he will be remembered as a man of constant good humor and an outspoken champion of good causes. His own strong character and moral compass guided his hand as he sought to guide ours. We hope that we will continue to consider what Adrian would have said, lest we falter in our resolve to speak for the broker and to protect the interests of the "little guy" in our business.

Our Association, and leasing, is better for what he had to say and we will miss him terribly.

Since Monday I have been wanting to write something in Adrian Bullman's memory, but I just can not seem to find the correct words.

I worked for Adrian and Mike for 3 years and I have been shocked by his sudden death.  I did not realize how much it affected me until I went to his funeral yesterday.

 Barry S. Marks, Esq.
 BSM@blik.com

    +          +                +

Three things Adrian taught me that I want to pass on (most of you already know these items):

1)  Golden Rule - He who has the gold makes the rules

2)  Tell a funding source EVERYTHING you know, because it is ethical and because you have a better chance of getting an approval if you tell them everything up front!

3)  This I have only learned after his death, and I think we should all learn from it...Our industry as in all sales types of industries, is stressful.  We work 50-60 hours a week, and the only time we feel a moment of relaxation is the 10 minutes after we found out we funded a transaction (but stressed for one week until it funded).  Try to sit back, at some point during your work week, and smile at all you have accomplished, smile because you are lucky enough to be sitting at a desk, smile because the cup of coffee you are drinking is good, don't just smile because you funded a deal. If you only do it once next week and then twice a week the next you are doing better. 

If Adrian could come back to us and give us advise, for all of us who knew him knows he would have had a lot to say, but I can guarantee he would include my #3!

We will miss you as a person and as a colleague.

-Rena Cole
Alta Financial Corp.
rcole@altafinancialcorp.com
770/427-1680

The loss of Adrian has touched all of us in sad ways and in joy.  Thank each of you for sharing your feelings and expressing your joy in being touched by Adrian. I appreciate being a part of an association of members that feels such a close connection however far away we are.  " Leasing not only builds character, it builds characters." Perfect words from the NAELB about Adrian. We will all miss him.

Renee T. Fox, CLP
Alliance Funding Inc.
(904) 745-1009 #203
www.alfund.com
renee@alfund.com

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            National Assoication of Equipment Lease Brokers 

 NAELB Barry Marks, Esq. on Memembership
        UAEL Ken Greene, Esq. on Membership

 Barry Marks, Esq. on Membership

Although I've been an avid reader of Leasing News since I learned of it at the NAELB ( National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers ) conference last year, this is my first letter. Thanks for creating an excellent service for us all - and a lot of fun as well. Thanks, too for the kind words about the book James Johnson and I wrote.

I want to weigh in with a few words about the UAEL ( United Association of Equipment Leaisng ) fee controversy and Bob Rodi's comments. As most of your readers know, I've been very active in ELA ( Equipment Leasing Assoication ) for years and I've been on NAELB's Board since the first year of its existence. I have attended many EAEL functions over the past 15 years and my firm just joined UAEL (or is about to, when the paperwork is done)- my partner Tom Mahoney was at the Orlando conference and will continue to be active (four associations - too opportunity much for one lawyer to pontificate). These days, I'm also trying to find time for the CLP Foundation.

I agree with Mr. Rodi when he says that we get out of these associations what we put into them. Where I disagree, and feel that I must speak out, is where he questions the need for four associations and appears to accept that they are in some sort of "zero-sum game" or competition.

NAELB has gone to great lengths to identify itself as a broker advocacy association - speaking for the broker and addressing his/her needs. What it offers funders and other members is an opportunity to meet brokers at conferences that are 75% or more brokers, responsible advocacy of broker issues that seeks to de-fuse emotional issues and scotch rumors and education of brokers as to their responsibilities.

We now have a policy of recommending that our brokers ONLY do business with NAELB funders because our aggressive ethics program will punish/expel member funders and brokers - we can't police non-members. We have dropped paying members amid threats of litigation and facilitated the resolution of issues between members or members and non-member vendors or lessees.

Obviously, that is not the function of UAEL or the other organizations, nor should it be. Funders don't vote at NAELB (nor should they) but are represented on the Funder Advisory Panel with whom the Board consults (and will more in the coming year). Funders wishing to be active in an organization in which they have more of a"say" can look to UAEL, ELA or EAEL.

As a longtime ELA member, I must say that it is a wonderful organization, offering types of services and advocacy (in Washington and state legislatures) no other group can match. Every penny I've spent there has been well spent by Mike Fleming's people - Dennis Brown Ralph Petta and Steve Fier spent years passing favorable U.S. and state legislation and Lesley Sterling puts on some great educational conferences and offers a library of publications that no one - not NAELB or UAEL can match.

Nor should they try. ELA does what it does and the others do what they do. A broker, funder or other leasing professional should take a look at each organization and choose the one, two or three that best suit his or her needs, AND THEN GET ACTIVE AND GET THE MOST BANG FOR THE BUCK AVAILABLE.

Friendly competition? OK, to a reasonable degree, but what is needed more that anything is some real cooperation:

A COMMON SET OF ETHICS RULES and a commitment to enforce them and at least review the circumstances for each other's censure or expulsion of any member.

JOINT ADVERTISING or other means of telling the vendor/lessee public that they should only do business with lessors who are members of one of the cooperating organizations - stay away from the loose cannons and bad apples who have been kicked out of all affiliations.

Yes, some of us aren't "joiners", but paying $300-1,000 or whatever to be a member means that you're in line to keep up-to-date on education and anti fraud protection and help make this business - which has been "berry berry good" to us all better for us all.

Thanks, Kit, for all you do. Sorry to ramble. Hope to see y'all in Atlanta for the EAEL/NAELB meeting and New Orleans for the NAELB conference - check for Tom at an upcoming UAEL meeting.

Barry S. Marks, Esq.
smblik@aol.com

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   as a side note, Barry Marks is also involved in www.leaselawyer.com

 The Equipment Leasing Group Upgrades leaselawyer.com

The Equipment Leasing Group of Berkowitz, Lefkovits, Isom & Kushner, a professional corporation, announces that it has upgraded its web site, www.leaselawyer.com. The site now includes indexed case notes and articles regarding the equipment leasing industry, including reviews of unpublished cases and advice on business and tax concerns of interest to the equipment leasing industry. Group leader Barry S. Marks was assisted by fellow shareholder Thomas J. Mahoney and associate Kenneth P. Weinberg in the revision, which is designed to make the site a valuable resource for sales and operations staffs, lawyers and other leasing professionals.

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   United Assoication of Equipment Leasing

   Ken Greene, Esq., on Membership

The recent comments and complaints about the UAEL interest and concern me deeply. I have been a very active member of the association since, I believe, 1985.  I have been fortunate to serve upon its Board of Directors twice, have been a regional chair,  chaired the Spring Educational Conference last year, and served on several committees. I have also given numerous presentations and written many, many articles for the association. I am quite familiar with the way the UAEL works and has worked in the past.
    I have had the privilege of meeting some of the top people in the leasing industry, from whom I have learned much. Many of these people are now clients, good friends, or both. I have enjoyed quality conferences and local meetings, and have fond memories of the countless association events in which I have participated.
    I too believe that an association is only as strong as the contributions of its members. For this reason, I have devoted hundreds and hundreds of hours giving as much to the UAEL as I could.
    What is happening now at the UAEL, and what has caused the recent spate of complaints? 2000 was clearly a tumultuous year. Dr. Williams' departure was no doubt disruptive, whether you liked him or not (I did!). As for the fall conference in Orlando, most of which I missed for personal reasons, there were, for some reason, numerous complaints from attendees. I have also heard many association members complain about the dues hike, and about the association in general. Many are talking about "defecting" to other associations. This undercurrent is counterproductive and dangerous, and the association must know this.
    Leadership should not be defensive. It should receive these complaints and deal with them fairly. I remember being on the board and hearing complaints from members, some of which we felt were reasonable, and some of which we felt were not. Yet, we gave them credence, and handled them,  one and all. That was our job as  Board members.
    Time is so limited for all of us, and there are now several associations which provided excellent services to those of us in the leasing industry. Although UAEL need not "compete" with the ELA, NAELB, or EAEL, it should recognize that the growth and improved quality of these associations does impact the ability of leasing professionals to join and/or actively participate in the UAEL. The UAEL could also learn from watching the successes and failures of its companion associations.
    In my opinion, the association always needs to listen up and be more responsive to the needs of its members. This is nothing new, but it is a lesson that is especially poignant in times of trouble. The association cannot continually justify dues increases, even if they are allowed by the association's bylaws, unless members are receiving more value for their money. This is not a for profit association, and the bottom line is not establishing cash reserves. The bottom line is, and has always been, QUALITY. Perhaps streamlining expenses, or reassessing budgetary priorities, is a kinder, more palatable way to keep the association financially afloat without raising dues at each and every opportunity.
   
My final comment is that the association leaders need not be offended when members criticize their actions, assuming they are acting in good faith with the best interests of the members at heart. Those of us who are not on the Board and who thus cannot attend meetings or become privy to the reason for crucial decisions can only rely upon our instincts in judging whether the association is performing optimally, or at least trying. To the hard working leaders of the association, from one of its long time and appreciative members, I ask only that you not dismiss the groundswell of complaints, many of which are now more readily heard through the vehicle of Kit's newsletter, something we have never before had available. If people are complaining, it is for a reason.
    I truly hope the association has the collective intelligence and flexibility to recognize its shortcomings, and rectify them, as well as to identify the positive attributes that have made it work so well in the past, and follow that lead. To the Board of Directors and the administrative staff, thank you and good luck! Ken Greene

Kenneth C. Greene & Associates
KGreene100@aol.com

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   Yesterday Jeff Wetter jwetter@flexlease.com asked for advice regarding commission owed by United Capital---or by any funding source.  Here is one response:

Jeff should review his assignment / sale form. It will answer his questions. Most likely, he has assigned and sold the lease without any reservation of title clause. (Jeff, I'm not an attorney but in the leasing business I'm pretty good at the legal stuff.) Our game (brokering equipment leases)from a bankruptcy perspective isn't much different than a typical trade creditor / customer relationship.  If there isn't a reservation of title clause, in all likelihood you have no clawback rights.  What you do have is an unsecured claim against United capital and it is likely quite actionable.  If you decide to sue, do so in the jurisdiction where UC is located. Before you sue, look at every commission check UC has sent you. Who are the banks? Are the account numbers all the same? Are they all UC or are some an affiliate of UC? If affiliates, sue them as well.  Before you invest any more hard earned money, do your homework. UC is now a debtor of yours. Treat them like any debtor. Call the bank for a reference.  If you don't find enough cash on hand, think twice about suing. A judgement is typically a very expensive piece of paper - figure $5,000 minimum cost to get - that might be worth less than a Kleenex tissue. Be sure you can find some kind of assets and as soon as you file, seek an attachment. If you can't find unencumbered assets, chalk it up to a $10,000 lesson and move on - but change all your doc's to provide a reservation of title clause so you never get burned like this again. As an aside, if you were to invest a couple hours a night for 2 nights a week for let's say, 3 to 4 months in an evening course at a local college, say "Loss Prevention for Financial Brokers", what would that amount of time be worth to you? For $10 G's you likely learned more than what a professor would teach in that course. This isn't to rub salt on a wound, but to give you a perspective that sometimes what we learn in these circumstances has real value for the future.

Since I haven't been paid, do I still own the leases despite the fact that United Capital has already paid the vendors? Doubtfull.

Should I instruct the lessee's to make their payments to me? Don't do that. UC's lenders could come after you and cause you even greater loss. If you don't have a contractual right - say a clawback - to those monies what it amounts to is essentially theft. While it is easily justified as being fair, how would you feel if you were UC's lender and had paid them fair value for that lease (as part of a larger pool) and now some 3rd party with no contractual right is trying to take your rental proceeds.

What would United Capital do about this? Not worth the risk or the damage it could do to YOUR reputation as being an up-front and honest broker.

Hope this helps, or at least clarifies.

Good luck.
David Rabinovitz
david-rab@mediaone.net

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                 MARTICA ESTRADA At BANCUNION SAYS " It Ain't So! "

( We have investigated complaints and found that Bancunion has satisfied them, returning the first and last lease payment. I will not print at this time the new accusations sent to me, giving you the benefit of the doubt as all but the one you mentioned do not want me to publish their names. They have requested I not use their name, and therefore because you believe you are being unjustly accused of being association with Nations Capital, we will not use them,

unless you want to make a rebuttal to what was sent earlier to Marica Estrada.editor ).

    From: MARTICA ESTRADA <BANCUNION@msn.com>

    Subject: FALSE ALLEGATION AGAINST BANCUNION TRUST

    Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 14:17:58 -0500

    To: kitmenkin@leasingnews.org

    First of all we would like to start by clarifying that Banc Union Trust has absolutely nothing to do with Nations Capital Credit and we would like to welcome anyone which can prove otherwise.  We do not do business together, never have and do not intend to.

    Last week someone who reads leasing news brought to our attention a complaint by a broker, which mentioned Banc Union Trust and Nations Capital Credit.  We were told about it and basically did not make anything of it, we simply believed it to be a mistake.  This morning we received a phone call from a friend advising us to log into your website, but this time the information printed was directly linking Banc Union Trust with these two other  companies, including statements of false and incriminating accusations against our company.  We contacted the broker  (CFR) whose name is on the newsletter spoke to Gary Dee Bradford wherein she confirmed that Banc Union Trust did  not owe CFR any monies, but when asked who provided her with all of the inaccurate information printed out on this newsletter, she refused to say and hung-up the phone.

    Bottom line, we don't have the time to be responding to each and every rumor that is out there, but it is of great concern to us to clear our company's name from any unneccesary false rumors, miscommunications and misleading information that could leave people with a bad taste in their mouth. 

    We would like to request that next time you read or hear any rumors or gossip, give us the benefit of the doubt and call us at (305) 463-8688 Ext. 204., and we will gladly provide you with the correct and accurate information.  It is unfortunate  that even if the information turns out to be false (like this one), it has been read regardless.

    In addition, you should also take the time to conduct your own investigation on the source you are obtaining the  information from before publishing.

    Thank you,

    Marti

 ( I have sent an e-mail of the six complaints we received, asking for comment. Our original publication stated we were unable to confirm the complaints editor )

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Premiere Online Auto Leasing Service Debuts With Direct, All-Inclusive Agent Service for Clients; leasebynet.com is First to Solve All Issues Around Selection, Financing, Delivery

ROCHESTER N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2001--The Internet's first auto leasing service to successfully manage the entire auto leasing process for its clients - from vehicle search and negotiation, to lease program comparison, to arranging for convenient delivery through a dealer in the customer's area, - debuts today at www.leasebynet.com.

leasebynet.com specializes in auto leasing to provide the customer with a more comprehensive and competitive advantage. Other online services act only as a referral service, or merely provide the funding source and leave the vehicle search and negotiations to the customer. But leasebynet.com handles all aspects of the transaction, including vehicle and lease program negotiations for the ultimate convenience and satisfaction of the customer.

Clients of leasebynet.com are represented by an agent-advocate equipped with the best tools and business know-how to deliver the vehicle of their choice under the most attractive lease terms available.

leasebynet.com regularly searches the national market for special pricing, rebates, incentives and lease funding on selected models, and then posts them on its web site. Its Easy Lease feature explains the leasing process from start to finish, and provides a free multi-bank lease quote on the client's vehicle of choice.

"Our responsibility as an agent for our clients is to locate their vehicle at a nearby dealer, negotiate the best price and combine it with a leasing program that offers the highest residual value and the lowest cost of money," said Frank Pagano, president of leasebynet.com. "Then we arrange for convenient delivery. It's all about personalized service for busy individuals who are looking for a simple, direct, all-inclusive approach to auto leasing."

Pagano designed leasebynet.com around three key business attributes: years of experience successfully negotiating with dealers from coast to coast; utilization of the latest technology to identify and secure the best terms and a commitment to represent the client rather than the dealership or bank.

leasebynet.com accesses the most competitive funding sources nationwide for the vehicle requested. Once a customer chooses to initiate the lease process, convenient delivery can be rranged in as little as 48 hours from the initial inquiry (depending upon vehicle availability). Because leasebynet.com receives a processing fee of $49, dealerships know its clients are serious buyers and so are willing to negotiate more attractive terms, Pagano said. In contrast, dealerships are less willing to quote their best price or to invest time and energy locating the right vehicle for casual shoppers, he explained.

Once leasebynet.com presents the terms to the client and receives approval, a signed "Buyer's Order" is secured from the dealership prior to taking delivery. This eliminates any last-minute price changes or surprises. These and other procedures distinguish leasebynet.com from other online leasing services.

"A true car leasing service acts as an agent for the customer, not the seller or the lender," Pagano said. "So we designed leasebynet.com to be a true car leasing service - a real advocate for our clients. There is no easier or more beneficial way to lease a new car." leasebynet.com is Your Direct Auto Leasing Connection.

For more information, you can visit the leasebynet.com web site at www.leasebynet.com, or contact the company via e-mail at lease@leasebynet.com.

Note: A Photo is available at URL: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?pw.011701/bb12

CONTACT:
Leasebynet.com, Inc.
Frank F. Pagano, 716/248-0855
President
press@leasebynet.com

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LeasePoint.com Adds Crucial Piece to End-to-End Lease Origination Puzzle

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2001--LeasePoint.com today announced that its product offering now facilitates complete end-to-end lease origination.

LeasePoint Complete(TM), one component of LeasePoint.com's latest major technical release, advances the company's industry-leading paperless leasing model, LeasePoint Ease(TM), to encompass lender documentation. With LeasePoint Complete(TM), lenders can create, modify and upload various leasing documents instantly, relieving them of the laborious, back-end document generation process.

Traditional leasing procedures require lenders to draw up new paperwork for each applicant. LeasePoint Complete(TM) documents are automatically filled through an easy-to-use template wizard. The lender simply selects a template, clicks and sends.

"The leasing process has never been more secure or efficient," LeasePoint.com CIO Bruce Underwood said. "The entirety of the application life cycle can be completed without ever pickingup a pencil. Business customers apply online. Credit reports are automatically pulled and rated.

Lenders generate electronic lease documents. Applicants sign online. The whole transaction is rapid from start to finish."

LeasePoint Complete(TM) is the final element of end-to-end lease origination. By combining the industry's first digital signature capability, LeasePoint Mark(TM) with this new functionality, LeasePoint.com has created an entirely paperless lease environment.

About LeasePoint.com

Based in Minneapolis, LeasePoint.com develops technologies to simplify and automate the leasing process for lease finance companies and equipment vendors. LeasePoint technologies remove the obstacles of traditional leasing and make the process fast and easy. The company's web site is www.leasepoint.com.

CONTACT:

LeasePoint.com, Minneapolis
Elen Bahr
877/841-7500
ebahr@leasepoint.com

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   DocuTouch Corporation and Hygrade Business Group, Inc. Form Strategic Alliance 

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2001--Seattle-based DocuTouch(TM), a company that provides corporations with a secure, legally binding online application to manage, close and archive digitally signed transactions quickly and cost-effectively, has formed a strategic alliance with Hygrade Business Group, Inc., a New Jersey-based leader in XML-based forms and printing management technology.

The alliance will allow both companies to offer a broader array of online data management services to the insurance, banking and healthcare sectors they serve.

"Our strategic alliance with DocuTouch is a natural progression for our company," said Mike Dionne, COO of Hygrade. "Combining DocuTouch's secure, legally binding digital signature process with our XML-based electronic form technology is a powerful combination. We're looking forward to making this marriage of technology available immediately to current and prospective clients."

According to DocuTouch and Hygrade, the combined offering of services will allow, for example, a bank or mortgage lender to present electronic mortgage disclosure documents to their customers to be conveniently reviewed and signed entirely online, saving all parties involved time and courier costs. Bryan Keene, an analyst at Prudential Securities Inc., estimates that electronic and digital signatures will lead to 80 percent of all financial transactions being completely automated in the next five years.

"Hygrade has a reputation for excellence, especially when it comes to evaluating and delivering customized solutions for the clients they serve," said Mir Hajmiragha, CEO and founder of DocuTouch. "We feel extremely fortunate to be working together on solutions that will allow our collective clients to manage their traditional print processes entirely online, including signing documents securely and legally through our online application."

Hygrade (www.hygrade.com), established in 1920, specializes in electronic document solutions, printing project management, warehousing and distribution services, commercial printing, business forms and laser printing geared to banking, health care and insurance industries. The company is located Clifton, New Jersey.

DocuTouch (www.docutouch.com), established in 1998 by Mir Hajmiragha, a former Microsoft Internet Infrastructure Engineering Group Manager, provides mortgage lending, insurance, leasing, healthcare and legal markets with the time and cost efficiencies that come from managing, signing, closing and archiving legally binding contracts and transactions entirely online. PC Magazine, in a technical review by Edward Mendelsen, rated the DocuTouch online application "as solid as Fort Knox." DocuTouch has also been named to LocalBusiness.com's "50 Companies To Watch" in first quarter. Headquartered in Seattle, the company is funded by Timberline Ventures, Irwin Ventures, and Mitsui & Co.

DocuTouch(TM) and DocuSign(TM) are trademarks of DocuTouch Corporation; all other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

CONTACT:
DocuTouch Corporation
Katherine Ord, 206/505-5830
kord@docutouch.com
info@docutouch.com

KEYWORD: WASHINGTON NEW JERSEY

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 American Bank: SBA Loan Guarantee Increased to 85%

        By Lisa Daigle, American Banker

Bankers may find it easier to make small-business loans now that the Small Business Administration increased its guarantee of the 7(a) General Business Loan Guarantee program for applications received after Dec. 21. The SBA guarantee was raised to 85% from 80% for loans up to $150,000 under the final government spending bill signed by President Clinton on Dec. 21. The legislation also establishes prepayment charges for 7(a) loans with maturities of 15 years or more when the borrower prepays more than 25% of the outstanding balance during the first three years of the loan's term. The prepayment fee is 5% of the prepayment amount in the first year, 3% in the second year, and 1% in the third year. Look for more SBA loans in the year 2001.

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TCF Reports Record Earnings and EPS for 2000and Announces Quarterly Dividend Increase

 

FOURTH QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS

-- Record diluted earnings per share of $0.66, up 20 percent.

-- Record net income of $52.2 million.

-- Top-line revenue increased 10 percent; fee income up 18 percent

2000 YEAR-END HIGHLIGHTS

-- Record diluted earnings per share of $2.35, up 17.5 percent.

-- Record net income of $186.2 million.

-- Board declares quarterly dividend increase to 25 cents per share.

-- Top-line revenue increased 9 percent; fee income up 18 percent.

-- 164 branches (47% of all branches) opened during the past 3 years.

-- Over $1 billion of deposits in supermarket branches.

-- Increased Power Assets(R) by $896.8 million, up 23 percent.

-- Net charge-offs of .05% of average loans and leases.

EARNINGS SUMMARY

($ in thousands, except per-share data) 

Three Months                    Year  

 

Ended Dec. 31,               Ended Dec. 31,  

 

2000          1999          2000         1999 

 

Net income               $52,165       $44,950     $186,245      $166,039  

 

Diluted earnings  

 

per common share            .66           .55         2.35          2.00  

 

Basic earnings  

 

per common share            .67           .55         2.37          2.01  

 

Net interest margin         4.33%         4.38%        4.35%         4.47%  

 

Return on average assets    1.89          1.72         1.72          1.61  

 

Return on average  

 

realized common equity    23.17         21.04        21.53         19.83  

 

Return on average  

 

common equity             23.78         22.03        22.64         20.34 

 

Diluted cash earnings  

 

per common share           $.68          $.58        $2.44         $2.10  

 

Cash return on  

 

average assets             1.96%         1.80%        1.79%         1.69%  

 

Cash return on average  

 

realized common equity    24.01         22.14        22.40         20.79 

 

WAYZATA, Minn., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- TCF Financial Corporation (TCF) (NYSE: TCB) today
reported record diluted earnings per common share of $2.35 for 2000, up 17.5 percent from 1999, and diluted cash earnings per common share, which excludes goodwill charges, of $2.44 for 2000, up 16 percent from $2.10 in 1999.  Net income was a record $186.2 million for 2000, up 12 percent from $166 million in 1999.  Return on average assets was 1.72 percent and return on average realized common equity was 21.53 percent for 2000, compared with 1.61 percent and 19.83 percent, respectively, for 1999.  Cash return on average assets was 1.79 percent and cash return on average realized common equity was 22.40 percent for 2000, compared with 1.69 percent and 20.79 percent, respectively, for 1999.

 

With these excellent results, TCF's board of directors is pleased to announce an increase in the regular quarterly dividend to 25 cents per common share, effective first quarter of 2001.  This represents a 17.6% increase (21.2% annualized) over the last quarterly dividend of 21.25 cents per common share.  The dividend is payable on February 28 to common shareholders of record at the close of business on February 2.  This is the tenth consecutive year TCF has increased its dividend payable to common shareholders.

 

Diluted earnings per common share was a record 66 cents for the 2000 fourth quarter, up 20 percent from 55 cents for the same 1999 period.  The 2000 fourth quarter results included a $5.5 million after-tax gain on the sale of branches, or 7 cents per diluted common share.  This compares with the 1999 fourth quarter after-tax gain on the sale of branches and subsidiaries of $5.4 million, or 7 cents per diluted common share.  Cash earnings per common share was 68 cents for the 2000 fourth quarter, up 17 percent from 58 cents for the same 1999 period.  Net income for the 2000 fourth quarter totaled $52.2 million, up 16 percent from $45 million for the same 1999 period. Return on average assets was 1.89 percent and return on average realized common equity was 23.17 percent for the 2000 fourth quarter, compared with 1.72 percent and 21.04 percent, respectively, for the same prior-year period. Cash return on average assets was 1.96 percent and cash return on average realized common equity was 24.01 percent for the fourth quarter of 2000, compared with 1.80 percent and 22.14 percent, respectively, for the fourth quarter of 1999.

 

"We are pleased with our record results in 2000," said TCF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, William A. Cooper.  "Our unique strategy of growing the TCF franchise and top-line revenues through de novo expansion and new products made for an outstanding 2000."

 

"Our strategy for supermarket banking is working.  We've been in supermarkets for 12 years, and during 2000, deposits at the supermarket branches surpassed $1 billion.  We plan to open 30 to 40 new supermarket and traditional branches in 2001," said Cooper.

 

Net interest income was $438.5 million for 2000, up $14.3 million from 1999.  TCF's net interest margin was 4.35 percent for 2000, and compares with 4.47 percent for 1999.  TCF's net interest income was $110.8 million for the 2000 fourth quarter, up $4.7 million from the same period in 1999.  The increase in net interest income from 1999 is primarily due to the growth in Power Assets(R) and Power Liabilities(R), partially offset by decreases of $245.8 million in residential mortgages and $117.8 million in mortgage-backed securities.  

Non-interest income (excluding title insurance revenues, a business TCF sold in 1999, and gains on sales of branches, subsidiaries, securities and loan servicing) totaled $328.8 million for 2000, up 18 percent from $279.2 million for 1999.  Fourth quarter 2000 non-interest income totaled $88.1 million, up 18 percent from $74.8 million for the same 1999 period. These improvements were largely due to increased fee and service charges, and electronic funds transfer (debit card revenue up $9.1 million for the year, an increase of 47 percent over 1999) and leasing revenues, reflecting TCF's expanded retail banking and leasing operations and customer base.

 

Top-line revenue growth increased 9 percent in 2000.  This was accomplished while holding non-interest expenses relatively flat, even as TCF continued to expand and develop new products.

 

Non-interest expense (excluding the amortization of goodwill and deposit base intangibles) totaled $452.5 million for 2000, up 2.35 percent from $442.1 million for 1999.  On the same basis, non-interest expense totaled $115.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2000, up 3 percent from $112.3 million for the same 1999 period.  The increases were primarily due to the costs associated with TCF's continued retail banking and leasing expansion, offset by cost savings from discontinued businesses.

 

Credit quality remained strong in 2000.  Net loan and lease charge-offs were $3.9 million, or .05 percent of average loans and leases in 2000, compared with $26.4 million, or .35 percent of average loans and leases in 1999.  Non-performing assets, excluding amounts funded by non-recourse discounted lease rentals, were $42.8 million at Dec. 31, 2000, up from $39.5 million at Sept. 30, 2000 and $34.8 million at Dec. 31, 1999.  TCF provided $14.8 million for credit losses in 2000, compared with $16.9 million in 1999.  At Dec. 31, TCF's allowance for loan and lease losses totaled $66.7 million, up $10.9 million from $55.8 million at year-end 1999, and was 189 percent of non-accrual loans and leases.  TCF's over-30-day delinquency rate was .69 percent at Dec. 31, up from .46 percent at Sept. 30, 2000 and .42 percent at year-end 1999.

 

Total loans and leases were $8.5 billion at Dec. 31, up $651 million from year-end 1999. Higher-yielding consumer and commercial loans and leases totaled $4.9 billion, up $896.8 million from year-end 1999.  At Dec. 31, TCF's home equity loan portfolio totaled $2.2 billion, up $193.9 million from year-end 1999, and TCF's leasing and equipment finance portfolio totaled $856.5 million, up $363.8 million from year-end 1999.

 

Deposits totaled $6.9 billion at Dec. 31, up $307 million from year-end 1999.  In 2000, the average balances in non-interest bearing deposit accounts increased $151.2 million, or 13 percent from 1999.  TCF had 1,131,000 checking accounts at Dec. 31, a net increase of 99,000 accounts from year-end 1999. The weighted-average rate on total deposits for the 2000 fourth quarter was 3.18 percent, compared with 2.70 percent for the 1999 fourth quarter, and was 2.95 percent for the full year 2000, up 30 basis points from 2.65 percent in 1999.

 

At Dec. 31, book value per common share was $11.34 based on 80,289,033 common shares outstanding.  For the year, TCF repurchased 3.2 million shares of its common stock, of which 277,500 shares were repurchased in the 2000 fourth quarter under its stock repurchase program. TCF has 2.6 million shares remaining in a 5 percent stock repurchase program authorized by the board of directors in March 2000.

  TCF Financial Corporation is a Wayzata, Minnesota based national financial holding company with $11.2 billion in assets.  TCF has more than 350 banking offices in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and Indiana. Other TCF affiliates provide leasing, mortgage banking, and annuity, insurance and mutual fund sales.

 

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GE Reports Record Results; 2000 EPS $1.27, Up 19%; 2000 Revenues Grow 16% to $130 Billion; Earnings Up 19% to $12.7 Billion

 

FAIRFIELD, CONN.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2001--GE achieved record revenues, earnings and cash generation in 2000, Chairman John F. Welch reported today.

 

"GE's double-digit increases in 2000 again demonstrate the benefits of the Company's continuing emphasis on globalization, growth in services, Six Sigma quality and e-Business."

 

Highlights of the Company's preliminary 2000 results include:

 

-   Revenues rose 16% to a record $129.9 billion, reflecting continued growth from global activities and product services.

 

-   Earnings per share increased 19% to $1.27, up from last year's 1.07, and earnings increased 19% to a record $12.7 billion.

 

-   GE's total year ongoing operating margin was a record 18.9% of sales, up from last year's comparable 17.8%. The growth in margin reflects the increasing benefits from GE's focus on product services, Six Sigma quality and e-Business initiatives.

 

-   GE's industrial businesses achieved revenue growth of 14% over 1999. Operating profit for five of GE's seven segments increased by double digits -- led by Power Systems, Plastics, Medical Systems, and Aircraft Engines.

 

 

-   GE Capital Services' earnings for 2000 were $5.192 billion, 17% above last year's $4.443 billion. These record results reflect the globalization and diversity of GE Capital's businesses with strong double-digit increases in its Consumer Services, Specialized Financing, Equipment Management, and Mid-Market Financing segments.

 

 

-   Cash generated from GE's operating activities for 2000 was a record $15.4 billion, up 31% from last year's $11.8 billion. After the Honeywell shareowner approval of the proposed Honeywell merger, GE last week resumed and accelerated the purchase of its shares as part of the $22 billion share repurchase program under which GE has purchased a cumulative $17.4 billion -- 950.5 million shares -- since December 1994.

 

 

 

-   Fourth-quarter earnings per share increased 16% to $.36, up from last year's $.31, and earnings increased 16% to $3.585 billion, both records for the quarter. Revenues in the fourth quarter were a record $35.0 billion, 6% higher than last year's $32.9 billion.

 

-   GE continued to use the Internet to revitalize the Company. Online sales exceeded $7 billion with a fourth quarter running rate of $11 billion, up from less than $1 billion in 1999. GE conducted $6.4 billion in online auctions in 2000, providing annualized savings of $480 million. GE initiated digitization that will generate more than $1.5 billion of operating margin benefit in 2001.

 

At its December meeting, the GE Board of Directors increased the Company's quarterly dividend 7% to $.16 per share, the 25th consecutive year of increased dividends by GE. 

 

Highlights of recent activities include:

 

Honeywell shareowners overwhelmingly approved (99% of those who voted) the proposed merger between GE and Honeywell. The vast majority of Honeywell's revenues are a complementary fit with GE's Aircraft Engine, Industrial Systems and Plastics businesses. The acquisition planning continues on track with over $2.5 billion of synergies identified. GE is working closely with regulatory agencies to close the proposed deal as soon as possible.

 

Strong demand for GE Power Systems' (GEPS) new power generation equipment in the U.S. market continued to drive orders to record levels - $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2000 and $23.6 billion for 2000. Major orders announced in the quarter include 23 gas turbines and seven large steam turbines from New Jersey based PSEG Power, as well as 48 gas turbines and eight large steam turbines from Southern Energy Incorporated. Power Systems closed 46 new long-term service agreements during 2000 bringing the total value of such long-term commitments to more than $16 billion. In 2000 GEPS generated $1.165 billion in parts orders using PartsEdge.com on-line ordering, completed $1.5 billion purchases of goods and services through on-line auctions, and grew on-line Outage Optimizer orders to $410 million.

 

GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) won more than $1 billion of equipment orders in the fourth quarter, continuing its share of more than 50 percent of the world's airline jet engine orders. Significant wins included Alitalia, Air Canada, and Atlas. The GE90 engine has become the best selling engine in the Boeing 777 family with orders since inception valued at more than $6.5 billion. The growth in regional jets, the fastest growing sector of commercial aviation, continued in the fourth quarter driving GE orders for 2000 to more than $1 billion. More than 360 airline customers are now linked to GEAE's internet-based Customer Web Center.

 

NBC continued to attract the key demographic, adults 18 to 49, winning the first three months of the 2000/01 season with seven of the top ten shows. NBC also won the November sweeps in households and key demographics and was the only network to grow ratings over the 1999 sweeps. Today Show, Meet the Press and Nightly News finished the year #1 as they have for several years.

 

Today Show was extended to three hours in October, growing ratings 65% above previous programming. NBC continued to win late night ratings with the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night, both finishing the year a strong #1. MSNBC enjoyed tremendous ratings during the election period and CNBC grew pre-tax profit more than 40% in 2000.  

GE Medical Systems (GEMS) products and services showed continued strong momentum with orders up 19% in the quarter. X-Ray orders, led by new digital x-ray systems, increased 41%; PET orders were up 127%. GEMS accelerated customer productivity using the Internet as more than $10 million of software was downloaded by GEMS customers through the new e-Flex-trial offering in the fourth quarter. GEMS also closed eight acquisitions in the quarter including Sopha Medical Vision, a leader in Nuclear Imaging technology, and Critikon, a leader in-patient monitoring devices.

 

At GE Capital Services, the UBS acquisition of PaineWebber, Inc. resulted in a pre-tax gain of $1.3 billion during 2000. This gain was more than offset by one-time charges, including costs of the Montgomery Wards bankruptcy filing, costs of restructuring the Information Technology Services operations, and losses associated with disposition of the mortgage services business. During the fourth quarter, Commercial Finance purchased a $627 million loan portfolio from First

 

Source Financial. Japan Leasing acquired Fukugin Leasing Company stock providing a partnership with a leading regional bank. Vendor Financial Services provided $435 million of secured financing to Xerox. Penske Truck Leasing acquired Comcar Leasing. GE Americom successfully launched two new satellites. Aviation Services expanded its simulator training business through agreements with British Midland, Embraer and Britannia Airways.

 

GE Plastics exceeded $1.5 billion in on-line sales in 2000 with the launch of GEPolymerland.com, a global portal to the plastics industry. In the fourth quarter, GE Plastics completed its acquisition of Commercial Plastics and Supply, a global distributor.

 

Mr. Welch concluded: "GE employees around the globe have once again delivered record results in 2000. We have built a Company with a business mix and operating system that will allow us to deliver record results in any foreseeable economic climate. We have just completed a very successful management transition and I've never been more confident about the Company's future. The strength of our long-cycle businesses combined with our ongoing initiatives - globalization, Six Sigma, product services and e-business - and our new leadership give us enormous confidence that 2001 will be another record year of double-digit earnings increases. "

 

GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified services, technology and manufacturing company with a commitment to achieving customer success and worldwide leadership in each of its businesses. For more information, visit the company's Web site at http://www.ge.com.

 

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    B&T Again Offers Access to Leading e-Tax Service

 

 

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT) today announced an agreement with e-finance leader Intuit to offer the company's popular online tax preparation and filing service for the second year in a row.

 

(Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000131/BBTLOGO )  

 

Quicken(R) TurboTax(R) for the Web -- available through a link at BB&T's web site (http://www.BBandT.com ) -- is Intuit's online version of its top- selling TurboTax software program.

 

"It's clear now that more and more consumers are embracing online tax preparation and filing," said Paal Kaperdal, manager of BB&T eBusiness.  "This is a quick, easy and secure way to prepare and file your federal and state returns.  BB&T is glad to be teaming up with Intuit again this year to offer this beneficial service to our customers."

 

TurboTax for the Web processed more than 1.4 million federal returns last year.  By 2003, Forrester Research expects the number of e-filed returns to exceed the number prepared using desktop software.

 

TurboTax for the Web is fast and easy to use.  By electronically filing, users can get their refund back in as little as 10 days, compared to six weeks for returns filed by mail.

 

TurboTax for the Web supports more than 100 IRS tax forms, schedules and worksheets.  It also prepares 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ forms and state returns in all 44 states with an income tax plus Washington, D.C.

 

TurboTax for the Web is up-to-date on all the latest tax laws and Intuit offers a guarantee on the accuracy of calculations performed by the program. The service will be available through Oct. 15 on the BB&T web site.

 

Customers can prepare and file a federal 1040EZ return for $6.95 if filed by April 1 or $9.95 thereafter.  The corresponding state return is free.

 

All other 1040 returns are $14.95 if filed before April 1 and $19.95 thereafter.  Corresponding state returns are $9.95.  Electronic filing for federal and state returns is included at no additional charge.

 

TurboTax is free to taxpayers with adjusted annual gross incomes of $25,000 or less.

 

Quicken TurboTax is the No. 1-selling tax preparation software program, with approximately 70 percent retail unit share in 2000, according to PC Data. Its web-based counterpart, Quicken TurboTax for the Web(SM), is the most popular site for online tax preparation and filing services.

 

Intuit also offers Quicken TurboTax Home & Business, designed for the sole proprietor.   The Automated Tax Return feature is included at no additional charge in all versions of TurboTax. More than 13 million Americans each year use the TurboTax family of products.

 

BB&T also has online banking packages available for personal and small business customers, which include access to BB&T accounts, bill paying and popular financial software.  To enroll online or to see a demonstration of all BB&T OnLine options, visit www.BBandT.com/online.

 

Winston-Salem-based BB&T Corporation, with $59.1 billion in assets, operates 888 banking offices in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Washington, D.C.  It is the nation's 17th largest financial holding company.

 

BB&T and its subsidiaries offer full-service commercial and retail banking and additional financial services such as insurance, investments, retail brokerage, corporate finance, international banking, leasing and trust.  More information is available at the bank's web site.

 

SOURCE  BB&T Corporation  

 

CO:  BB&T Corporation; Intuit Inc.

 

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