Top Stories of the year 2002
Pictures from the Past---2002---Theresa Kabot
2002--Theresa Kabot and the Kabot Commercial
Leasing credit manager “Crosby”
( If he likes the deal, he wags his tail).
Theresa (nicknamed "Tree" by her friends because she is tall, and it also goes with
her legal name) grew up in Connecticut with five brothers and sisters who are her best friends. During college worked at a ski shop (winter) and snowboard shop (summer), which began an inclination to being a bit of a gear head. Received BA at CSU, moved to Portland and intended to go to law school.
After watching the massive increase of enrollment of law school, decided that, for now, it would be more fun to tell lawyer jokes than be one. So, put off taking the LSAT and got first "real" job. Thus began a career in commercial equipment financing with various positions at Colonial Pacific Leasing (CPL) from 1990 to 1995. (She was American Leasing's "representative" at CPL. Vivacious. Bright. Always on the ball. Tenacious, too.)
For the last seven years owned and operated Kabot Commercial Leasing in Seattle. Thinks Seattle is a wonderful part of the country and continues to enjoy building business in equipment financing. This has been the first economic downturn experienced as a business owner, but remains an optimist about the future of the industry and the role that her niche will play.
Her favorite author right now is Tom Robbins. Just finished" The World is Made of Glass" - West, and started " The Winter of Our Discontent" - Steinbeck. Finds great satisfaction in painting, mostly in acrylics, and will admit has taken up crochet, (perhaps a sign of middle age?). Currently listening to White Stripes, Jay-Z and really likes the new Nirvana. Loves Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Tom Waits, The Beatles, Lyle Lovett, Miles Davis and yes, Elvis. Enjoys backpacking, skiing, and tends to get cranky when not getting plenty of exercise. Not a very good golfer, yet. Traveled for almost a month in Italy in 2000, (almost didn't come back), went to Singapore, Bali and Tokyo this October and have started taking kick boxing and karate classes. Planning a trip to Costa Rica, and perhaps Peru, this spring.
Has one incredible dog, golden retriever named Crosby. Certain he is the best dog in the world but have not determined a way to get him on the payroll, yet. Focuses on rust prevention, and staying focused. Looks forward to one day keeping bees and collecting residuals.
Classified Ads at Leasing News---Help Wanted
Credit: Equipment finance & leasing company in NYC looking for processor with credit exp. Will handle credit, documentation and funding of loans/ leases.email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales: Small ticket leasing reps, General equip. Vendor leads are provided. Great comp plan, Draw and Benefits. (6)nationally (3)in the NE Fred St Laurent email@example.com
Sales: Small to Mid-Size ticket leasing Reps. CA & others. Many Vendor leads avail. Gen. Equip.and Auto Shop Equip. Strong Commish. & Support. Adam at APetty@lvcm.com
Sales: National: 7 offices Medical & IT/ plus. Seeking professionals w/solid book of business & high ethics. Exceptional support & commissions. Expenses paid. 616-459-6800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org "UAEL"
John Kruse has Left Capital Stream
As of January 1, 2003, I resigned my position at CapitalStream (fka
System 1 Software). I wanted to take this opportunity to say goodbye to
some of the wonderful folks that have made the last 8 years very
memorable for me.
Many within the industry may or may not know that System 1 was started
in March of 1995, the same month my wife, Janet, of 5 years passed away.
That was a very challenging time for me personally.
Ironically, I am ending my stint at CapitalStream with the recent birth of Elizabeth and
my first child, Lucca William, which seems to bring everything full
circle. My work in starting System 1 in those early days helped me
through that tough period and, as we progressed, helped create some of
the most lasting business and personal relationships imaginable.
I want to thank all of you who had a part in making System 1 and CapitalStream
successful. I have enjoyed every minute of it. I would also like to
personally thank those of you who have made a tremendous impact on me
personally as well being a strong advocate of our company's direction.
For the System 1 staff in those early days which consisted of Cliff
Monlux, Jim Buckles, Randy Anderson, and Kevin Considine. I have never
been involved with a group of individuals that placed more emphasis on
the customer's satisfaction than this group.
Guys, thanks for showing
me how to build a great foundation for a business.
For our early 'pioneer' customers of Jim McCommon, Brent Hall, Hal and
Kathy Hayden, Jim Brady, Bob Baker and Al Vionnet (to name only a few).
You made us aware of an opportunity and helped create a great platform
to build on while becoming close, personal, friends along the way.
For some of our key alliance partners who were also instrumental in our
early success which include Jeff 'Danger' Werlwas, Russ Hallberg, Randy
Haug, Cameron Krueger, Latimer Asch and all the folks at Fair,Isaac.
Not only has this group been wonderful to work with but they are living
proof that all work and no play makes Jack (in this case John), a very
Thanks for all the good times and good luck to you all.
For Bette Kerhoulas, Bob Fisher, Chuck Brazier, George Davis and
Pete/Suzan Stommel. It has been a pleasure sharing experiences on the
golf course, the ski mountain, and the UAEL Board. Thanks for the
great lessons and good times.
And last but not least, for Peter Mellon, Steve LeBarron, Mike Donnary,
Hans Zahrback, Brian Bjella and Bob Rodi. This group could only be
defined as having the 'X' factor, which is a very good thing.
I would also like to wish all of the folks at CapitalStream good luck.
It has been a great place to hang my hat for the last 8 years and I
thank all of you who made it a wonderful place to work.
Kit, thank you for giving me the opportunity to utilize your publication for this
message. Keep up the good work.
For me, I have no plans for now so I am going to unplug for a brief bit
and see what opportunities lay ahead.
Regards to all,
Gov't Drops Monthly Mass Layoff Report
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration has dropped the government's monthly report on mass layoffs, which also had been eliminated when President Bush (news - web sites)'s father was in office.
The report by the Labor Department (news - web sites)'s Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded layoffs of 50 or more workers regardless of duration.
It was started in 1984 but was dropped for lack of funding during the last recession in 1992, when the first President Bush was in office. Lack of funding was cited this time, too. The program had been revived in 1995 under President Clinton (news - web sites).
The last report was issued on Christmas Eve with November's figures showing that U.S. companies laid off more than 240,000 workers in 2,150 mass layoffs.
A Labor Department spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
ABS volume growth seen slowing in '03, positive for spreads
A banner year for asset-backed supply, combined with a deluge of negative headlines has researchers mixed on the supply outlook for 2003. All agree, however, that current spread levels will contract in most sectors during the first half of the year. As was the case heading into 2002, the wild card is the home equity and mortgage-related sectors of the ABS market, which accounted for a greater-than-expected $150 billion in 2002.
The market proved that it is no longer bulletproof, as the failure of NextBank N.A. early in the year and the blowup at National Century Financial Corp. nine months later illustrated the new world of risk investors must now factor into the valuation process. Conseco Inc.'s bankruptcy re-affirmed the growing awareness that a servicing transfer is not always a simple process.
Though coming off the third consecutive year of double-digit growth - 17% in 2002 according to Salomon Smith Barney - for the first time in the history of the market, some expect new issue supply to slow or even decrease amid the persisting economic uncertainty. Although the ABS market remains attractive for issuers and fixed-income investors alike, rising rates and leveling off home prices should slow origination growth going forward, particularly for mortgage-related ABS.
JPMorgan Securities pens in its 2003 outlook that home equity ABS may actually decrease this year, as interest rates rise and housing prices stabilize. "We expect the home equity sector to account for the bulk of the contraction as mortgage rates drift higher, the refinancing wave subsides, and home price appreciation slows."
Merrill Lynch & Co. agrees to some extent, but is less bearish than JPMorgan. "The primary drivers of record HEL supply in 2002 will continue in 2003 but should cool off somewhat," note Merrill researchers. "While relatively low rates should persist, we are already seeing some burnout of refinancing, and originators are being forced to lower margins to maintain production levels. Slower home price growth should also reduce cash-out refinancing incentives."
While predicting a 10% across the board increase, Salomon believes issuance will slow - despite the lofty expectations of many mortgage lenders. The slowdown, however, is not anticipated until mid-year. "Loan production," the researchers add, "will likely run into economic headwinds around the middle of 2003." In the first half, business should remain brisk, as the pipeline of newly originated loans remains full.
Banc One Capital Markets agrees with Salomon, adding, "we anticipate only about $110 billion [of HEL supply] coming to market, representing about a 20% decline in volume. "We think much of the collateral backing
2003 deals will be overhang from 2002, and we expect first half supply to be heavier than later in the year."
Much like early last year, analysts recommend investors take advantage of the current cheap prices in some sectors of the ABS market, but to be cautious in name selection, as spread tiering among issuers is becoming more pronounced. This selective widening, it was noted, can be a positive for careful investors.
"[Headline risk] is not going away," said BOCM researchers. "Its impact on valuations will continue for the foreseeable future. Still, headline risk often creates opportunities too. We expect investors to have plenty of these opportunities in the coming year."
Auto loan and credit card supply, said Banc One researchers, should stay flat to slightly higher this year, while a major increase in student loan ABS is expected. The manufactured housing sector, plagued by floundering issuers and overcapacity, will dry up at most, with most estimating approximately $3 billion in 2003. The "other" category, including equipment lease ABS will likely decline in volume, although issuance of foreign - Australian and U.K. - MBS should remain strong and account for the bulk of this asset class.
The auto and credit card sectors will be dominated by the current market leaders, such as captive finance companies leading the way for autos, while de-linked issuance trusts will continue leading the way in cards. While the spread differential between securitized and unsecured funding has narrowed, major players are still leaning heavily on ABS for funding.
The de-linked issuance vehicles adopted since fall of 2000, which currently account for almost 20% of outstanding credit card supply, allows issuers the flexibility to take advantage of investor demand.
"There is perhaps a lack of natural buyers for seven-year and longer maturities, particularly for subordinate tranches," notes Credit Suisse First Boston. "Perhaps the de-linked structure used by the many of the majors will allow a more tailored approach to take advantage of the issuance opportunity available in seven- and ten-year tenors."
A decrease in bankruptcies and stabilization of losses should help the credit card sector. Supply estimates for this year range from the mid-$60 billion to mid-$70 billion range, in line with the roughly $70 billion seen last year.
As Banc One points out, there is no direct link between new auto sales and auto ABS volume. "Although new sales are likely to slow, we believe the captives will probably issue at least as much public ABS as this past year, and probably more."
With unsecured debt markets drying up amid ratings pressure for both auto manufacturers and independent finance companies, securitization will make up the bulk of the funding for auto lenders in 2003. Most researchers theorize the auto sector will see anywhere from $90 billion to $100 billion this year, up from the $85 billion seen in 2002. – KD
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Comerica biz index fell in November but up 5.3% in 2002
By Michael Strong
Comerica Bank’s Michigan Business Activity Index fell 9 points in November to 108, largely because of a slowdown in auto sales.
The November figure is down from 115 a year ago. But for the first 11 months of 2002, the index is up 5.3 percent over 2001.
David Littmann, Comerica’s chief economist, said a decline in incentives by automakers was the reason for the sales drop. He pointed to stronger incentives that began in December as reasons to expect 2002 to finish strongly.
“The reason I think December will be kind of a rebound is because of the incentives,” Littmann said. “The poor performance in November was due to auto sales. In fact, that was the only weak aspect” of the economy.
Littmann expects the economy to continue to be strong well into the first quarter of this year. He said the incentives on cars and trucks will continue during the quarter and said that “will be the driver.”
“What we’ve seen is that we continue to build strength in the first quarter, then it plateaus into the middle of the year,” he said.
New United Association of Equipment Leasing Address:
Office Address: UAEL
78-120 Calle Estado
La Quinta, CA 92253
Phone: (760) 564-2227
Fax: (760) 564-2206
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E-Mail re: Doug Pierce
from Ron Lear
Doug Pierce, Pierce Capital Corp, San Luis Osbispo, is fighting brain cancer. He has had experimental surgery in Cleveland, Ohio.
Doug is expected to be home later this month, approximately 1/20, to celebtate his 70 birthday.
He is doing OK and his spirit is good, but could always use a lift.
It would be great if all Doug's friends in the industry would drop him a card for a fast recovery and/or a birthday wish to his home at:
219 Albert Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Thanks for anything you can do.
April 3-6 Eastern Association of Equipment Lessor Spring Conference
We are so excited about our spring conference we want people to mark their calendars now! April 3 to the 6th,2003, EAEL will have its inaugural spring conference in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Grand.
Although we cannot guarantee the cherry blossoms will be in bloom, it is the last weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival. We have a terrific program, which includes a panel at our General Session, of signers of the EAEL Declaration of Independence. Workshops cover funding, tax issues, different state legal issues and attributes of successful salespeople and leasing companies.
We are introducing our "Meet and Greet" the funder, and we will have Cokie Roberts as our Keynote Speaker, and Anthony Galie--the hypnotist as our entertainment Saturday evening. Our brochures will be out in January, but if you need additional information, contact the EAEL office at 914 381 5830. Happy Holidays, and see you in DC!
Captive/Vendor Leasing Expert Joins The Alta Group
GLENBROOK, NV,--The Alta Group today announced the addition of Jack
Asinger as an associate. In joining The Alta Group, Asinger brings that organization proven expertise in captive/vendor sales consulting and advisory services, primarily in equipment sales.
“We are delighted to have a person of Jack’s skills and experience join The Alta Group,” said John C. Deane, founding principal of The Alta Group. “Jack’s expertise significantly enhances our service offerings in the captive/vendor sales and leasing arena. Jack will provide an immediate benefit to our clients seeking advice and assistance in these areas,” Deane added.
Asinger sees his role with The Alta Group as helping train client sales organizations to better understand finance and the acquisition process. “In today’s competitive business environment, it is essential that an organization’s sales team understand acquisition alternatives, especially leasing, and how to effectively use them to grow their business,” Asinger says. In addition, Asinger will be bringing The Alta Group a significant amount of teaching material that he has been developing and
using over the past decade.
Asinger joins The Alta Group after a distinguished career as a financial consultant. Most recently, he served as president of Computer Acquisition Strategies (CAS), a consulting and financial education business he founded in 1989. Through CAS, Asinger advised clients throughout the world on
strategies to optimize their investment in information technology. Asinger also taught CAS client personnel about the variety of acquisition alternatives and how their specific situation might be best
suited to a particular acquisition strategy.
Prior to CAS, Asinger enjoyed a long and successful career with the IBM Corporation, where he held a number of managerial and executive positions in marketing and finance. Specifically, he served IBM as marketing manager, district manager of marketing, chief financial and planning manager for the
Pacific Northwest operation, assistant controller for the data processing division, and manager of plans and controls for the marketing group.
In these roles, Asinger created and managed IBM’s financial offerings organization, which was responsible for implementing IBM Credit Corporation’s leasing programs with IBM’s largest customers. Asinger also managed IBM’s U.S. financial marketing support groups. Asinger holds a bachelor of science degree from Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, and a master of business administration from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
About The Alta Group
The Alta Group (www.thealtagroup.com) is based in Glenbrook, Nevada, and is a leading source of corporate consulting and advisory services, education, and training to the global equipment leasing and finance industry. It is composed of 16 professionals ,former CEOs, company founders, and industry organization leaders who collectively have more than 200 years of experience. The company was founded in 1992 by Norm Chapman, John Deane, John Giddens, and Bill Montgomery.
McCue Systems Offers Entry-Level LeasePak Edition
BURLINGAME, CA, -- McCue Systems Inc. announces the release of LeasePak Bronze Edition, the latest addition to a range of enterprise lease and loan management packages scaled to meet the requirements of lease operations of virtually all sizes.
"We saw a gap in the marketplace for leasing technology," said John McCue, CEO and founder of McCue Systems. "We saw no other vendor providing an affordable, entry-point system that is part of a unified product line that can grow as the complexity and transaction volume of a lessors' operations grow, yet never require migration to a new application, database, or business workflow".
LeasePak Bronze Edition joins LeasePak Silver Edition and LeasePak Gold Edition to complete the range of system offerings from McCue Systems.
"By harnessing the most advanced technology - including the Linux operating system - McCue Systems can now offer the right package for almost any shop," says VP of Development Doug Jones. "We've got the right system for HP, SUN, or Linux shops, as well as for Oracle and Sybase users."
"With LeasePak Bronze Edition, McCue Systems can now offer 5-user LeasePak license starting at $35K," states VP of Global Sales, Bruce Harrison. "Now there's a solution for those lessors who've outgrown their present system and need the power of a full enterprise lease and loan management system with a manageable investment. LeasePak Bronze Edition offers affordability with unlimited scalability."
LeasePak Bronze, LeasePak Silver, and LeasePak Gold are available immediately.
About McCue Systems
With over 30 years experience in developing business solutions for the leasing industry, McCue Systems Inc. is the leading provider of lease/ loan portfolio management software for banks, leasing companies, and manufacturers. Its flagship product, LeasePak, simplifies lease/loan administration and asset management by accurately tracking leases, loans, and equipment from origination through end-of-term and disposition.
McCue Systems leads the leasing technology industry in the development of Web-enabled and Web-based tools to deliver superior customer service, reduce operating costs, streamline lease management, and collaborate with sales channel and asset partners.
The leasing experts at McCue Systems work closely with lessors to put the company's leasing expertise to work to streamline lease operations and enhance customer retention at every stage of the lease lifecycle.
Clients include Cisco, HP, BankOne, M&C Leasing, Ford Motor Credit, Bank of Hawaii, Volkswagen Credit, Bank of Tokyo/ Mitsubishi, Cisco Systems, ORIX /Australia and KeyBank.
LeasePak runs on HP/UX-based and SUN/Solaris systems, as well as with Linux-based Intel systems. The Sybase relational database is fully supported. LeasePak will be available for use with Oracle 9i in Q2 2003.
See www.mccue.com for more information about the LeasePak lease management system and the company's comprehensive range of consulting and technology services. Email email@example.com or contact Andrew Lea, Director of Corporate Communications, at 650-348-0650, Ext 1171.
Synovus Makes FORTUNE '100 Best Companies To Work For' in America
For Sixth Straight Year
COLUMBUS, Ga.----Synovus (NYSE:SNV) has been named No. 9 on FORTUNE magazine's sixth annual listing of "The 100 Best Companies To Work For."
This year's survey will appear in FORTUNE magazine's January 20th issue. Synovus was No. 11 on the "Best Companies" list in 1998, No. 1 in 1999, No. 5 in 2000, No. 8 in 2001 and ranked No. 5 in 2002. This is the fifth straight year Synovus has been in the top ten.
"It's an honor to be named one of this country's best companies to work for," said James H. Blanchard, chairman and CEO of Synovus. "This achievement with FORTUNE Magazine is a great milestone for our company, but it is not our finish line. We are doing a lot of things right, but we know we must remain focused on getting better and valuing each individual. We work hard every day to assure that the Synovus experience continues to be fulfilling and enriching for our team members, customers and the communities we serve."
Synovus (NYSE:SNV) is a diverse financial services holding company with more than $18 billion in assets based in Columbus, Ga. Synovus provides integrated financial services including banking, financial management, insurance, mortgage and leasing services through 38 affiliate banks and other Synovus offices in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee; and electronic payment processing through an 81.1-percent stake in TSYS (NYSE:TSS), the world's largest third-party processor of international payments. See Synovus on the Web at www.synovus.com.
WSJ: The Year in Numbers
By MICHAEL BROADHURST
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
Online sales strong for holiday in otherwise mediocre shopping season
By Anne D'innocenzio
NEW YORK – Online holiday sales, helped by free shipping offers, are turning out to be robust, according to several preliminary reports released Monday, providing a bright spot in an otherwise mediocre shopping season.
The double-digit percentage increases at online retailers far outstripped the slim increases estimated for sales in stores. After a better-than expected surge after Thanksgiving, sales at stores were disappointing throughout the season, despite aggressive discounting.
"Compared to an anemic holiday season (at stores,) this was a terrific holiday season for online retailers," said Ken Cassar, senior analyst at Jupiter Research.
But Cassar warned that given that free shipping was an important driver of online sales, he is worried about companies' profits. He added that it will be hard for online retailers to wean themselves away from free shipping and handling, and consequently, they may have to increase prices as an alternative.
"Retailers that want to offer free shipping will have to make a difficult choice between increases in sales and in profit margins."
Jupiter Research announced Monday that e-commerce sales will exceed its original forecast of $13.1 billion, which would represent growth of more than 17 percent from the year-ago period, based on early reports from online retailers.
Now, Jupiter Research anticipates a 20 percent to 24 percent gain for the holiday 2002 season, which was from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. It is expected to release final numbers in March.
A separate report from Nielsen/NetRatings, Goldman Sachs and Harris Interactive said that online spending jumped more than 24 percent to $13.7 billion, from Nov. 2 through Dec. 27, up from $11 billion in the year-ago period. That was in line with projections for sales increases in the low 20 percent range.
The company based its data on surveys with a total of 9,000 online shoppers during the holiday period.
ComScore Networks Inc., which captures buying activity from a cross section of 1.5 million Internet users, said that online sales were up 20 percent to anywhere from $19.7 billion to $19.8 billion during the Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 period, according to preliminary reports.
According to BizRate.com's final holiday revenue tally, which was released late last month, online sales were up 23 percent to $7.92 billion from Nov. 25 through Dec. 25, compared with the comparable year-ago period. The shopping comparison site, which also tracks consumer spending across 2,000 Web sites, had forecast a 24 percent gain.
All holiday sales figures exclude the travel category.
This holiday season, 140 retailers offered free shipping deals, about 30 percent more than last year, according to BizRate.com.
BizRate.com also found that 39 percent of holiday online purchases were influenced by free shipping deals.
Michael P. Niemira, vice president of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd., expects that sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, will be up only 1.5 percent for the November and December period. That would be the weakest increase since the same-store index started tracking the figures in 1970.
Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailer's health.
The bulk of brick and mortar retailers will be reporting their December sales on Thursday.
In the online world, analysts are closely monitoring Amazon.com, the bellwether of online retailing, to see whether its aggressive free shipping and discounting will affect gross profit margins in the fourth quarter.
The online seller of books, apparel, DVDs and other items has projected net sales in the period to be between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, a 19 to 28 percent growth from the year ago period. The company expects a pro forma operating profit of between $70 million and $95 million.
Amazon.com is slated to report fourth-quarter results on Jan. 23.
Meanwhile, Bluenile.com, a privately held online jewelry site, said that it expects fourth-quarter sales to be up 78 percent, well exceeding its projections for growth in the 40 percent to 50 percent range.
"This was a breakout year for online jewelry," said John Baird, a company spokesman.
Not everyone was pleased with results.
Online company 1-800 Flowers.com said Monday that it anticipates achieving earnings of 11 cents per share in its fiscal second quarter, which includes the holiday period and ended Dec. 29. That's below analysts' projections for a 15 cents per share.
The company also expects to generate sales of $197 million, below the anticipated $203 million. However, Jim McCann, the company's chief executive, said that profit margins improved to 45 percent from 43 percent in the year-ago period.
McCann acknowledged that 1-800 Flowers should have done more aggressive marketing, including more advertising, particularly with its business clients, to increase sales.
"On a relative basis, we did very well, but we would have liked to have done better," said McCann.
Publicly traded retailer Bluefly.com, which sells discounted designer apparel, expects fourth-quarter sales to be in line with the more than 20 percent growth expected, but Pat Barry, chief financial officer, said that the company's goal of close to breaking even for the period will be "a challenge."
While sales at Bluefly.com in November and December were strong, revenues were slow in October, stymied by new technology installed on its Web site, Barry said.
Amtrak reducing some fares in effort to boost revenue
By Siobhan Mcdonough, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) Citing a slight dip in the number of its passengers the last year, Amtrak plans to cut coach fares as much as 25 percent on many of its routes nationwide in an effort to boost revenue.
''With this rollback in fares, we hope to not only stimulate interest in rail travel, but also to provide a draw for the travel industry as a whole,'' Barbara J. Richardson, Amtrak's vice president of marketing and sales, said Monday.
Ridership was down last year 23.4 million passengers traveled aboard Amtrak trains in fiscal year 2002 compared to 23.5 million the year before, according to Amtrak spokeswoman Karina Van Veen.
''Everyone in the travel industry has experienced a decline,'' Van Veen said. ''That's due to the economy, people losing jobs, which makes leisure travel something they aren't doing.''
The Senate has voted to give Amtrak $1.2 billion for the current budget year, but the House Appropriations Committee approved only $762 million. With no resolution imminent, the railroad's board of directors approved a $3.4 billion budget that assumes the $1.2 billion in federal support.
Amtrak also launched its winter promotion on Monday, allowing companions to travel for free and a 25 percent discount for those traveling alone. The promotion may be combined with the new fare rollback.
The deals are available for sale Jan. 7 through Feb. 15 for travel Jan. 10 through Aug. 28.
The fare reduction is available for coach travel on most of Amtrak's long distance routes but does not apply to travel between cities in the Northeast corridor.
For example, the fare for those traveling between Seattle and St. Paul usually is $134. The new rollback fare is $101. The solo traveler fare is $75.75, and the free companion fare is $50.50 per person based on two passengers traveling together.
The fare from Washington to Chicago is normally $87, but with the special deal, the fare is $66; for the solo traveler it's $49.50 or $33 per person for the companion fare based on two passengers traveling together.
Long-distance trains are the top target of some lawmakers because they are among the system's biggest money-losers.
Amtrak President David Gunn has said that cutting the long-distance routes would save less money, less quickly than people imagine.
On the Net:
West Coast dockworkers vote on contract
SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. West Coast dockworkers began voting on Monday on a tentative contract deal reached after a bitter labor dispute that led to a 10-day shutdown of ports handling $300 billion of cargo each year.
A caucus of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union last month recommended that the 10,500 rank and file members approve the six-year deal that boosts wages and benefits but will lead to some job losses due to new technology.
The union will announce the result of the vote on Jan. 22, said ILWU spokesman Steve Stallone. If approved, the tentative deal brokered by a federal mediator takes immediate effect.
A key aspect of the deal agreed to in November is a proposal that will lead to new labor-saving technology -- such as computerized cargo handling machinery -- that shippers say is needed to make the 29 ports stretching from San Diego to Seattle more efficient.
The agreement allows employers to implement new technology, which will lead to an estimated 400 to 500 job losses, but gives the union control over remaining positions and any new ones created via technology.
It also ended a bitter dispute that led to a 10-day port shutdown and accusations that union members were using deliberate work slowdowns -- a charge dockworkers denied -- to gain leverage in the negotiations.
A management lockout in September and October paralyzed billions of dollars worth of U.S. trade, and forced the Bush administration to invoke the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act to get the ports back in operation.
Top Stories of the year 2002
Leasecomm Goes Down---CEO Sells $500,000 Stock Before the News
--- Brokers, Vendors,Lessees Left Holding the Bag---Again!!!
by Christopher “Kit” Menkin
Brian E. Boyle, Director and Beneficial Owner of more than 10% of a Class of Security, sold 3,000 more shares on October 7. Michrofinancial plans an investor call on October 23. He has sold over $500,000 shares recently and over a $1 million since the first of the year, according to Smartmoney.com
What goes around, comes around.
Father Guido Sarducci
Leasecomm, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MicroFinancial, Inc., a publicly-traded company on the NYSE, has called it quits, laying off a reported 90 employees, not funding deals in house, honoring approvals given, and cutting off all communications with broker. The company has written over 500,000 leases, funded more that $750,000,000, specializing in the micro ticket marketplace, they state on their website (they were one of two or three leasing companies that
went as low as $1,000 for a lease—Marlin Leasing is then left as the major
player in this micro ticket marketplace.). Microfinaical states on their website they have 300 employees, so this would be almost 1/3 their employees let go (without
November, 2000, Leasecomm launched LeasecommDirect 3.0, the latest version of its proprietary, internet based leasing technology." The online technology provided full service leasing, allowing its dealer base to submit lease applications, obtain credit decisions within minutes, and print completed lease agreements. It also provides reporting and analysis tools, personalization based on the user's position in that company and an enhanced user interface. Built upon a year of investment and development efforts, LeasecommDirect 3.0 is available exclusively to vendors using Leasecomm leasing programs. " the press release said.
"Leasecomm is committed to the continued development of e-business solutions that improves the speed, ease of use and overall productivity of our leasing services" said Elaine Shuttleworth, Director of Internet Development. "Prior to the new release, nearly two-thirds of our 20,000 monthly applications were fully processed automatically on-line, so we have already had significant experience and success in the on-line world" said Peter Bleyleben, President. "LeasecommDirect 3.0 will continue to strengthen our technology leadership position in the leasing arena by providing increased efficiency and functionality for our customers" Mr. Bleyleben added.
They were looking to the internet and automation of the process to not only
bring them more business, but cut processing costs.
Their website promised:
“Leasecomm Direct is the full service online leasing programs that lets you:
• Submit lease applications 24/7;
• Obtain credit decisions within minutes;
• Print completed lease agreements;
• Review online status reports;
• Make a tax inquiry;
• ...and much more!
Leasecomm Direct is available exclusively to dealers and vendors using Leasecomm leasing programs.
Leasecomm-approved dealers: please signup for Leasecomm Direct membership.
Not a Leasecomm-approved dealer yet? Apply now to become one! “
The company in November signed an agreement to acquire a major portion of the assets of Resource Leasing Corporation, Herndon, Virginia.
Insiders evidently knew something was going wrong.
About two weeks ago, insiders evidently knew something was
wrong with the company. September 25, 2002, Leasing News reported:
“Microfinancial/Leasecomm Stock Continues Dive/Insiders Sell Their Shares”
Microfinancial insider Chief Executive Officer Brian E. Boyle (and controller of
other accounts )sold over $500,000 in market value of his stock in September,
according to Smartmoney.com, and over a $1 million since the first of the year.
By late Friday, October 11, their stock had dropped 34%, after they announced
the closing of their subsidiary Leasecomm.
Leasing News has been writing for over a year about the many complaints about Leasecomm’s business practices, which an internet search can bring up http://www.copernic.com,), with this one perhaps the best example fromLauren Stephens of LaurenStephens.com.
who claims she was “...was ripped off by LeaseComm for over $1,900!”
Copy of Class Action Suit filed against Microfinancial/Leasecomm
The parent company. Micro Financial, set off a internet audio and written press release, trying to put the “spin”, but the main complaint appears to be the
manner of the closing. Leasing news has copies of the memo's to brokers, dealers, but first, from the street, the reaction from some of the fifty e-mails Leasing News received (thank you for sending to us, and letting us know what was happening. editor):
“Leasecomm went out today. Nothing will fund, not even deals that "verbaled"
within the last 2 business days. No approvals will be honored. The reason
given was that ‘credit and funding has been laid off, there is no one who can
“OUCH! Naturally, we have purchase orders out all over the place.
“This business is turning out to be a lot of fun.
Bison Commercial Leasing
“Not good news for LeaseComm. They aren't answering any questions about
transactions at all. Some approvals with delivered equipment are at risk
here so I have to wonder why no one is answering any calls or voice mails.
When you call their main numbers you get 15-20 minute hold. I haven't stayed
on any longer yet. Thanks for any information you can rustle up.”
Equipment Leasing Options
“Just wanted to let you know - Leasecomm Corp in Mass- just closed their
doors- not funding any transactions at this time. Leaving a lot of us in
“You probably have already heard this, but word out on
the street is that Leasecomm is finito. This is terrible,
especially in the manner they are closing down.”
“Just got word from one of my superbrokers that Leasecomm is out of
money and has pulled the plug! They are also not honoring any approvals or
fundings. Awesome since I have a deal there ready for funding!
Have you heard anything?”
It appears that Leasecomm was not a member of any leasing association ( EAEL
was the only one we could not verify ). It is interesting to note, none of the
35 brokers who sent us an e-mail asked Joe Bonnano’s Question: “Is
the company a member of NAELB?”
The legal counsel for the National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers
for years has “warned” members that they should do business with funding
members of their association, where they pool reports, poor information,
and have abilities to assist in many situations.
An overwhelming number who sent information to Leasing News, are members
of the NAELB, but obviously did not ask “Joe Bonanno’s Question.”
To my knowledge, NAELB is the only leasing association that has an active
standards and ethics committee, takes quick and positive action, and does
not look at it as a “body count,” but solving disputes, and most important,
protecting members. In various articles and investigations, NAELB’s
advocacy of broker members is excellent.
Letter to Brokers/Dealers:
Dear Leasecomm Dealer, As you likely know, the current
lending environment has been very unfavorable and this economic trend has
caused our core Microticket financing business to become unattractive and
economically unfeasible. Therefore, it is with much regret that I must
inform you that effective today, Leasecomm has indefinitely suspended all
new loan originations.
Our intent is to re-enter the Microticket marketplace
and focus on a better credit quality lessee once appropriate financing
becomes available. Although I cannot say with certainty what the timeframe
will be, I am hopeful that new financing can be in place in the near future.
I recognize this decision may present you and our other valued dealers and
their families with challenges in the days, weeks and months ahead. With
that in mind, I assure you this decision was made as a last resort.
Leasecomm tirelessly pursued and evaluated all avenues of opportunity to
continue our Microticket financing as recently as today. We will be
contacting you with any and all new developments as soon as they become
available. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to us at 1-800-229-5327
with all inquiries, as opposed to contacting your dealer representative.
I also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your dedicated
service and commitment to our Leasecomm and I certainly speak for everyone
at our company in saying we hope to be working with you again soon.
Richard Latour President