January 19, 2001
EAB for Sale? True or Not True? The possible sale of EAB was in the New York papers recently, but yesterday the employees received a memo from senior management stating that there was no truth to the rumors, according to a highly reliable source. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that ABN Amro has not been quietly trying to sell
Capital Stream Streamlines Their Operation for New Round of Financing
"Wanted to let you know that CapitalStream will be announcing in February that we have successfully raised our third round of venture financing. In addition, we have reduced our head count somewhat, but are adding new positions in customer services and sales. Were very excited about the great attraction CapitalStream is getting in the market. Please see the latest news release about our most recent customer."
( John let us print his e-mail to us. His company is entering a new plateau, moving to their next level, making management and personnel changes, to fit the growing needs of the "successful leasing companies making more money" with the internet and "business to business" or "portal" communications. Please read the news release below about their latest subscriber:netlease.com connecting to their 70 vendors. editor )
United Capital Insider "
Here's an update on United Capital. They laid off more employees on Monday. Probably about 1/2 the staff. They gave us our paychecks on Friday which had our vacation pay in it and when we asked about it, we were told by Peter that they were just trying to squeeze more money out of Lehman. They also assured some of the staff that their jobs were secure. Then Monday afternoon they laid more people off. Both Peter and Steve Dallas had their doors closed while someone else did their dirty work. I don't understand how a person can tell someone one day that their job is secure and then let them go the next day. Don't these people have any morales? Looks like the ship is really going."
El Camino Leasing ( perhaps the world's largest independent leasing company )
Spoke to one of my lease customers today. He confirmed that he received notice from El Camino and GATX about GATX's purchase of a significant portion of El Camino's portfolio. Between , the customer is Thomson Consumer Electronics (Indianapolis), so I know this information is valid.
Saddleback Financial President Warren Emard Announcement
To: Customers, Vendors and Business associates of Saddleback Financial Corporation and other interested parties.
Some of you may have received information on the recent bankruptcy of UniCapital Corporation, a prior parent company of Saddleback Financial Corporation. We want everyone to know that Saddleback is not part of this bankruptcy. Saddleback has provided equipment secured leases and loans to the business community for the past 18 years. During that time, we assembled a team of credit, documentation, operations and sales professionals considered by many to be the most experienced and hard working in the industry. We built a reputation for service and ethical business practices that are recognized and appreciated by all of our various business associates.
In 1998, we made the decision to affiliate Saddleback with UniCapital; a large, newly formed public company that had also acquired 17 other successful financial institutions. Our primary reasons for agreeing to the acquisition included a lower financing cost, greater flexibility associated with direct funding and the opportunity to further expand our operation.
After the acquisition by UniCapital, Saddleback had done everything right including growing our business, building a quality portfolio and providing increased service and flexibility to our customers. You can understand why we were all shocked and upset when UniCapital announced heavy losses associated with a large ticket finance group which included leasing aircraft and aircraft engines. These losses continued and we made the decision to seek affiliation with another investment group that would allow Saddleback to continue our 18 years of professional and ethical service to the business community.
On December 6, 2000, an investment group purchased Saddleback's assets and operation including our entire staff and the business name, which has always been a major asset over these many years. Due to UniCapital's potential future liabilities including tax issues, the acquisition was not a stock purchase and UniCapital was required to change the old Saddleback corporate name to SFC-UCP, Inc as part of the acquisition of our operation.
Saddleback Financial Corporation continues in business as we have over the past 18 years with our same professional staff. We are not part of UniCapital or any bankruptcy proceedings. We have reestablished our lines of credit and have the full financial backing of our new investors. We will continue to offer the best in professional and ethical financial services to our customers and vendors. We will be more than happy to provide documentation verifying the above information to any concerned parties. We were fortunate to recognize UniCapital's problems early enough to take the steps necessary for our operation to be acquired and be able to continue our many years of service to the business community.
We sincerely appreciate the continued loyalty demonstrated by our customers, vendors and business associates. We look forward to servicing your future financing needs and welcome any other questions concerning this matter.
Heller Reports Full Year Net Income Up 23%
Heller Financial reported record net income of $290 million for 2000. This represents an increase of 23% over 1999 results, adjusting for the Company's one-time gain of $48 million on the sale of the assets of its Commercial Services unit in the fourth quarter of 1999. For the fourth quarter of 2000, net income was $71 million, an increase of 15% over the adjusted prior period results. Net income applicable to common stock was $261 million for the year and $64 million for the quarter, increases over the adjusted prior year periods of 25% and 16%, respectively. Diluted earnings per share was $2.69 for the year and $0.66 for the quarter, 21% and 18% increases, respectively, over adjusted 1999 results. "We are proud to announce our eighth consecutive year of record earnings," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard J. Almeida. "Our business model and disciplined execution continue to prove themselves and position us for continued solid growth." Highlights included: Operating revenues totaled over $1 billion for the full year, up 9% over 1999. Excluding factoring commissions, which were down due to the 1999 sale of the domestic factoring business, operating revenues were up 16% for the year and down 1% for the quarter. Heller's operating margin was 6.1% for the full year and 5.7% for the quarter. Net interest income, driven by growth in the Company's portfolio of lending assets, increased 23% for the year and 9% for the fourth quarter. Net interest margin was 3.7% for the year and for the fourth quarter. Fees and other income, which includes recurring fee income and net investment gains, increased 4% for the year. Fourth quarter fees and other income was 22% lower than the prior year due primarily to lower residual and net investment gains. Total lending assets and investments were $18.7 billion, up 11% for the year. During the third and fourth quarters, the Company sold assets of $300 million and $400 million, respectively, into an asset-backed commercial paper financing vehicle as a more cost-effective funding source. Excluding these sales, lending assets and investments grew 15% for the year and 5% in the fourth quarter over the third quarter. New business volume, totaling $7.8 billion for the year and $2.0 billion for the quarter, was strongest in Heller Corporate Finance, Heller Real Estate Finance, Heller Leasing Services and Heller Healthcare Finance. Credit quality in Heller's portfolio remained in line with targets. Heller's nonearning assets were 1.9% of total lending assets, below the Company's target range of 2% to 4%. The Company's loan loss reserve at the end of the year was 2.1% of receivables. Consistent with Heller's target levels, net write downs totaled $115 million, or 0.7% of average lending assets for the year, and $37 million, or 0.9% for the quarter. Operating expenses totaled $459 million for the full year and $110 million for the fourth quarter, an increase of only 1% over full year 1999 and a decrease of 16% for the quarter. Heller's efficiency ratio was 44% for the year and for the fourth quarter, in line with the Company's 2000 goal, and down from 48% for 1999 and 49% for the fourth quarter of 1999. According to Almeida, "The year 2000 was an excellent one across Heller. As we enter 2001, Heller has never been in such a strong position from a market or financial perspective. We are confident that our franchise positions will allow us to capitalize on opportunities that arise from continued competitive fragmentation and the turn in the economic and credit cycles. We have a seasoned management team, unparalleled in the industry, which has been through prior recessions. Over the last decade, we have constructed our portfolio to weather uncertain economic environments. While we expect the 2001 economy will be less steady than in recent years, we remain confident in our ability to deliver." The Board of Directors of the Company has determined that the Annual Meeting of the Shareholders of the Company will be held on May 3, 2001. The record date for purposes of voting at the meeting will be March 9, 2001.
CapitalStream Signs Netlease.com to Their E-finance Platform, Providing a Hosted Private Labeled Solution
Company Utilizing CapitalStream's hosted e-commerce solution, CapitalStream.com, to brand their web site and link to more than 70 vendors.
Seattle - January 22, 2001 - CapitalStream, an e-commerce provider of hosted services and applications for the commercial finance industry, has signed Netlease.com as a new subscriber. Netlease.com has had an on-going relationship with CapitalStream's products and services since 1996 and now subscribes to CapitalStream.com, connecting more than 70 vendors to their web site. Netlease.com specializes in industry specific financing for computer, print production and production equipment, as well as, machine tools.
Netlease.com is utilizing the Virtual Private Market (VPM) feature of the CapitalStream's e-finance platform, CapitalStream.com. By utilizing this special private labeling feature customers like Netlease.com can apply their own company brand to CapitalStream's hosted processing capabilities and embed them in their web site in a matter of days. By working with a hosted resource, such as CapitalStream, Netlease.com can also easily roll out this functionality to their partners.
"Being on the cutting edge of the leasing industry means making an investment in the Internet, " said Chris Chiappetta, Executive Vice President of The National Companies, owner of Netlease.com. "CapitalStream's private labeling feature has helped us quickly get our vendors linked up to Netlease.com's online strategy, which will allow us to better manage our customer service and make processing deals fast and efficient."
"By subscribing to CapitalStream.com, Netlease.com will be able to increase the amount of small and mid-ticket deals by streamlining their manual processing." Said Steve Campbell, CapitalStream President and CEO, "Netlease.com wanted to build their presence online and CapitalStream.com's host e-finance platform is just the right solution for their needs."
In 1995, Netlease.com was established, as a business-to-business e-commerce site to offer a web-based solution, to enable equipment manufacturers, dealers and VARs a financing solution for their customers. This solution combine's old fashion service with the speed and efficiencies of the Internet. Netlease.com is based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois and is the online financing arm of The National Companies. To learn more visit their web site www.netlease.com
Seattle-based CapitalStream provides hosted e-commerce solutions for commercial financing, a $4 trillion global industry. The company provides infrastructure and tools that enable finance companies and manufacturers to create branded financing sites, tailor finance programs, build credit work flow, retrieve credit scores and content, and offer financing at the point of sale. CapitalStream, an established industry leader for more than five years with deep knowledge about the inner workings of the financing world, has helped several hundreds of financial organizations increase their competitiveness, customer service and profitability.
To learn more visit their web site www.capitalstream.com
Three Leading Financial Institutions Select SS&C's LMS 2000 Loan Management System
WINDSOR, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)----SS&C Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SSNC) late yesterday announced three organizations have selected the Company's LMS 2000 system for comprehensive loan management, reporting and accounting. They include: Geneva Leasing Associates, Inc., Chicago, Co-operators Investment Counselling Limited (CICL), Regina, Saskatchewan, and Woodside Capital Management, LLC, Cambridge, MA.
"We expect to migrate our mortgage data to LMS 2000 during the first quarter of 2001 and look forward to the additional features and utility available within the LMS SQL server environment. I believe SS&C offers the most advanced, versatile and easiest-to-use mortgage administration system available anywhere and would not hesitate to recommend it to other managers," said Gregory Dwyer, CFA, Vice President of Mortgage Investments at CICL.
"CICL has been a client of SS&C since 1995, using the FILMS product to manage and administer 700 mortgages within 11 distinct mortgage portfolios for our insurance and pension clients. We have been very satisfied with the product and the service we have received over the last 5 years from SS&C," Dwyer continued.
"Since we introduced LMS 2000 we have seen an enthusiastic response from our marketplace," said John Stone, Vice President of SS&C's Real Estate business. "These clients can look forward to a new generation of loan management technology that is a logical migration from their existing systems. We believe clients recognize that sustained competitive advantage is probable with the LMS toolset."
"Recently SS&C introduced our Client Services Excellence Program for LMS 2000, aimed at raising client service to exceptional standards, adding experienced client services staff, and implementing an Internet-based tracking tool for handling client requests and disseminating information," said Maynard Ahner, Director of Sales, Loan Management Products.
"We believe these steps have raised the standards for service and commitment by technology solutions providers in the real estate sector. Our technology, combined with exceptional client service, enable our clients to concentrate on their business and making operations more efficient," Ahner continued.
About LMS 2000
LMS 2000 integrates all aspects of the loan management process -application and commitment, servicing and accounting, loan disposition - incorporating a logical, user-friendly work flow. LMS 2000 is Internet-enabled and can be deployed remotely using Internet technology, as a Windows 32-bit client/server system, or both. The system leverages the reporting power of a relational database through Microsoft SQL Server. LMS 2000 delivers total loan origination, servicing, and asset management, meeting industry standards for Commitment and Pipeline Tracking, Internal and External Investor Servicing and Accounting, Investor and CMSA Reporting, Portfolio Analytics, Imaging and Geographical Mapping, and Asset Disposition.
About SS&C Technologies With offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia, SS&C is a leading provider of financial software solutions, services, and expertise to asset managers worldwide. SS&C primarily targets large-scale, sophisticated investment enterprises that use its trading, accounting, reporting, and analysis solutions to manage, in aggregate, more than $3 trillion in assets.
Additional information is located at www.ssctech.com.
( if this is too long to read now, print it out, or go to our web site when posted. This is a very important story for all of us in the "money business." editor )
royal for your wallet rages as the economy cools
It's an irony of the bull market, may it rest in peace. Collectively, we're $1.6 trillion poorer than we were a year ago, as the new economy stock bubble burst and the old economy slowed to a crawl. Yet amid the threat of a recession and a downturn in the market, the competition among financial services firms for our dollars has only heightened. Banks, brokers, insurers, and mutual funds recognize that "it's tougher to attract investors in a slowing economy," explains Ramy Shaalan, senior analyst for mutual fund tracker Wiesenberger. So "during a market downturn, the competition for your business is going to heat up." The pie, though shrunken, remains enormously appealing. Within a decade, nearly half a trillion dollars will change hands annually as Americans roll over money in their 401(k)s into IRA accounts. And, by some estimates, the World War II generation will leave at least $10 trillion to its baby boom offspring over the next 20 years. There's plenty of room for consolidation as well: The typical household has relationships with three or more financial institutions and an average of about 10 financial accounts in all, ranging from mutual fund investments to credit cards. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that whenever you turn on the television or flip open a magazine, you are bombarded by ads featuring aging celebrities and buff athletes enticing you to switch your money to a new firm. Spurred on by competition and recent changes in laws governing their industry, firms once associated with high-net-worth clients, such as Merrill Lynch, have added self-serve options in recent years to attract online traders. Discount brokers, like Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments, have added estate planning and private banking services to attract and retain wealthier clientele. Even E*Trade, which used to be known as a cheap place to trade stocks, has added banking services and personal financial planning to its menu. "The strategy is to offer all products to all people," says Neal Litvack, president of retail marketing at Fidelity. But that may not be of value to many investors. You may be better off choosing the "best of breed" bank, fund, brokerage, or insurer, rather than commingling all your assets under one roof. While the promise of simpler record keeping-who really enjoys sifting through 10 different account statements?-is certainly tempting, consumers need to guard against paying too much for the convenience.In many cases, the incentives these firms offer are tantalizing. Invest $100,000 with Fidelity-whether in its brokerage, bank, funds, or 401(k) accounts-and you can have free checking accounts, American Express Gold Cards, and tax-planning and bill-paying services. Maintain $250,000 at Wells Fargo-in checking, brokerage, or mutual fund accounts as well as credit cards and mortgage loans-and you are eligible for the bank's Portfolio Management Account, which provides customers with a single account statement. What's more, you get free checking, credit cards, bill-pay services, online banking, and special rates on loans and CDs. (Investors with as little as $25,000 at Wells are also eligible for a PMA account, but they must pay a $99 annual fee for the privilege.) Enroll in Merrill Lynch's "Unlimited Advantage" program, and you receive free stock trades and research along with free checking, ATM privileges, and bill-pay services. Merrill's UA account, with an annual minimum $1,500 fee, also comes with a Visa card that gives you points toward airline tickets and other perks. You'll also get a 50 percent discount (up to $2,500) on your mortgage origination fees if you go through Merrill Lynch Credit Corp. and 10 percent off long-term-care insurance if you choose John Hancock. Recognizing that many high rollers are also avid users of personal technology, many of these firms let you monitor your accounts and make transactions with cellphones and other Web-enabled hand-held devices. "Their motivation is simple," notes Lou Harvey, president of Dalbar, a financial services research firm. "The more relationships you have with a customer, the more secure that relationship is." And the more likely you will enhance that relationship over time. This explains why Wells Fargo has set a goal of selling at least eight financial products to each of its customers, up from its current average of just over four. There are other benefits. "Some of these relationships offer enormous value to consumers," says Harvey. For instance, the average mutual fund investor owns five funds-and some many more-which means they receive at least five account statements in the mail each month or quarter. Since Schwab and Fidelity began offering investors the ability to choose from thousands of different mutual funds managed by hundreds of different companies, investors have flocked to consolidate their funds into a single account. Indeed, assets at Fidelity's FundsNetwork, which allows investors to choose among more than 4,400 mutual funds, have soared from $71 billion three years ago to almost $200 billion today. But Harvey cautions that incentives like airline miles and other freebies may just be window dressing. You have to determine what's important to you, and how much stock you put in convenience. One-stop shopping. Retired physician Lawrence Gottlieb keeps a seven-figure sum in stocks, funds, and cash at Vanguard, the nation's second-largest mutual fund company. In exchange, the 70-year-old Madison, Wis., resident receives free checking, a waiver of the maintenance fees on his funds, and discount commissions on stock trades. "The freebies are nice," Gottlieb says. But the main reason he keeps his money with Vanguard, in addition to convenience, is "the excellent service and the quality of Vanguard's funds." In other words, Gottlieb chose Vanguard because he considers it "best of breed." Surveys indicate that only about 15 percent of customers are willing to give up such products for the convenience of one-stop shopping. Gottlieb could have consolidated all of his money with a brokerage like Schwab or Fidelity and still have had access to Vanguard funds through the "supermarket" function those other firms offer. But he would have had to pay a transaction fee whenever he bought or sold Vanguard funds. This isn't the first time banks, brokerages, and insurers have positioned themselves as one-stop shops. Remember when Sears bought the brokerage Dean Witter and wags talked of Sears being able to offer consumers "socks to stocks"? But the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 repealed the Depression-era law limiting financial-services consolidation between and among commercial banks, investment banks, and insurers, and now companies like Citigroup and Schwab can grab 100 percent of our wallets. Savvy shoppers can work this trend to their benefit without necessarily giving up access to the best offerings in each category. And if it is convenience that you are mostly seeking, there are ways to have a single account statement without the need for a single account. Sites like Quicken.com, OnMoney.com, and Yodlee.com allow you to "aggregate" accounts with different companies on a single Web page for free. As an added service to customers, financial firms themselves-including Citigroup, Fidelity, Schwab, and Merrill Lynch-are offering aggregation services on their sites. In most cases, all you have to do is type in the names of your financial institutions and your account numbers, and the sites will import the data automatically. "We think account aggregation is one of the most compelling technologies in Internet and financial services today," Morgan Stanley Dean Witter analyst Henry McVey said in a recent report. Though such services are still in their infancy, analysts predict mass adoption of these account aggregation sites, with 22 million users by 2003. Consolidation makes sense for those with the most assets. Indeed, Dan Burke, brokerage analyst for the research firm Gómez Advisors, warns investors that consolidation becomes really worthwhile only if you have at least $100,000 in investable assets. Yet, a recent study by the Council on Financial Competition found that older, more affluent investors are the least likely to shelter their combined assets under one roof. By contrast, "unsophisticated middle-class" investors had the highest interest in doing so (41 percent). Hedge your bets. The problem is that these investors are the ones who can least afford consolidation. An investor with $2 million in stocks and funds who chooses to consolidate holdings at Merrill Lynch by opening an Unlimited Advantage account would pay 1.5 percent of assets on the first $1 milli on each year and 1 percent on the remaining $1 million. That's an effective annual fee of 1.25 percent of assets on the $2 million. But if you have only $50,000 to park at Merrill, you'll pay a minimum annual fee of $1,500 on an Unlimited Advantage account, or 3 percent of assets. If you fall into this category, you should ask yourself if you really need all of the account features being touted by these programs, Burke says. Even if you do go the consolidation route for the bulk of your assets, it may pay to keep some money in accounts at other firms. Leaving as little as $5 or $10 at your local credit union can maintain your eligibility for its consumer loans. Credit unions typically charge among the lowest rates on car and personal loans. At Wells Fargo, simply maintaining a personal checking account, certificate of deposit, or even a credit card entitles you to apply for a reduced interest rate loan on a Wells Fargo adjustable-rate mortgage. An account of $25,000 to $99,000 makes you eligible for an additional 1/8 percent break on an already discounted Wells Fargo mortgage. You can even play the "cross-selling" of financial services firms against them by becoming a "cross-buyer." One way is to choose a firm that sells not only its own products but those of competitors. Mutual fund supermarkets run by Schwab, Fidelity, and E*Trade do this. That's the approach taken by Mike Caldwell. The 52-year-old insurance executive invests in six different mutual funds, which he bought through Schwab. He can choose from the best performers among a variety of firms but has a consolidated statement and one-time Web access to his account. "It's easier to control that way," says the Lebanon, Ind., resident. "I can bring up the Charles Schwab Web site on my computer and see exactly what I have." What's more, he doesn't pay anything for the privilege-or the convenience.