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Monte Titoli established an electronic link with The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation; JCB Company won the operational contract for the KANSAI THRU PASS, a contactless IC chip transportation/charge card; The Cheshire Building Society converts its mortgage service to the i-Wealthview platform from Fincentric Corporation.

In a move designed to improve the clearance and settlement of U.S. stocks traded in Italy, Monte Titoli, the central securities depository of Italy, has opened an electronic link with The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation's (DTCC) depository in the United States

The link, which went live on May 2, will initially allow investors in Italy to settle shares trades in 67 U.S. stocks traded on various Italian trading systems, but all reported to Monte Titoli for clearance and settlement.

The settlement of the securities traded between Monte Titoli's participants will occur in euros, on a net basis for transactions carried out on Italian trading systems and on a gross basis for OTC transactions cleared through Express, Monte Titoli's DVP/RTGS system. Entitlements (e.g., dividends, interest, etc.) will be paid in U.S. dollars.

"This new link will allow us to lower the costs for Italians who wish to buy or sell U.S. stocks, which we believe will make for a more active Italian market in those shares as well as will enable our participants to transfer U.S. securities from/to the United States in real time," said Giovanni Sabatini, CEO of Monte Titoli. "It will allow Monte Titoli to assume a broader role in the global market and enhance our position as a global central securities depository, as we play a larger role in both Europe and the world."

The link is the fifteenth for DTCC's depository with other central securities depositories worldwide, and the eleventh for Monte Titoli. The links allow electronic movement of securities rather than requiring movement of physical certificates, and in some cases can handle full delivery versus payment settlement.

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JCB Company, a Tokyo-based credit card company, won the operational contract for the KANSAI THRU PASS, a contactless IC chip transportation card that will be installed by Surutto KANSAI Association in 2002.

In addition to all usual credit card functionality, the card will provide fast, touch-and-go fare payment for passengers using bus, subway, and train routes operated by 39 major transport companies in Kansai, Japan's second-largest metropolitan area encompassing Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.

The new cards contain an IC chip that allows cardholders to pass it over sensors installed in ticket barriers. The cards clock the amount used for traveling and charges it to the same credit card. The new card's capability for the post-payment of transportation fees added to the convenience of credit card shopping is a first for Japan.

Over the next five years JCB anticipates issuing five million KANSAI THRU PASS cards and cultivating a merchant base with some 10,000 POS terminalcard-accepting locations for retail transactions along associated transport company routes.

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The Cheshire Building Society, United Kingdom, has converted its mortgage service to the i-Wealthview platform produced by Fincentric Corporation, a provider of enterprise wealth management and core banking software.

The conversion of over 65,000 mortgages to i-Wealthview follows an initial launch of a flexible mortgage loan at the beginning of 2001. The Cheshire will shortly convert its savings and investments on to the i-Wealthview platform.

Fincentric's software, which was selected from a group of ten market-leading systems, automates all aspects of the Cheshire's core financial services and integrates additional service delivery channels including a call center and interactive mortgage application system via the Internet.

The Cheshire selected Fincentric's i-Wealthview for its capabilities as a Microsoft Windows 2000-based solution, with scalability, Internet and multi-channel delivery, and customer relationship management features. Furthermore, with i-Wealthview Designer(tm), the Cheshire is able to quickly produce and immediately launch innovative new products throughout all branches and customer delivery channels.

"Customer demands and expectations in financial services have expanded beyond the traditional methods," said Colin Whittle, chief executive officer of the Cheshire Building Society. "Our conversion to i-Wealthview clearly signifies the Cheshire's dedication to modernize our systems and provide our customers with all the tools they need for traditional and Internet-based financial services. The key to continued success is combining this technology with conventional measures of exceptional customer attention and satisfaction, which is exactly what i-Wealthview allows us to do."

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