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Diebold rejects unsolicited takeover bid

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio (3/4/08)--The board of directors of ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc. has unanimously rejected an unsolicited takeover proposal from United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Diebold announced Monday. The board is recommending that shareholders take no action related to the proposal. UTC, an electronic security business provider specializing in aerospace and building services, including Otis elevators, is based in Hartford, Conn. It first approached Diebold two years ago. The company said Sunday the bid was for $3 billion, which amounts to $40 a share in cash or a 66% premium over Diebold's closing price of $24.12 on Friday, according to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (March 3). Diebold, a CUNA Strategic Services provider, is the maker of Opteva and other ATMs used by many credit unions. In a press release, Diebold said the board recently completed a review of the company and its prospects. It met at least three times in the past month to discuss the proposal. Diebold said it has not filed financial statements since the company's 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2007, which was reported previously, and that it is working to become current in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Its board "believes that now is not the right time--and that it would not be in the best interests of the corporation or its shareholders--to pursue discussions with UTC." John N. Lauer, non-executive chairman of the board at Diebold, said, "The board strongly believes that UTC's proposal significantly undervalues the company and fails to reflect Diebold's strengths and significant upside potential." He called the proposal "an opportunistic attempt to buy Diebold at a time when shareholders do not have sufficient data to evaluate the offer" and noted it would be "irresponsible to engage in discussions with UTC at this time." Last week, Diebold said it would cut 800 jobs--roughly 5% of its work force--in anticipation of a slowing demand for ATMs. After the takeover bid was announced, Diebold shares soared more than 60% at the opening of trade Monday.

CUNARBS Lynk alliance offers CU-branded gift cards

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MADISON, Wis. (3/4/08)--Credit unions can offer prepaid gift cards to display the credit union brand to their members through a new alliance between CUNA Strategic Services and RBS Lynk, an electronic payment services provider. The cards are accepted worldwide, come embossed with the America’s Credit Unions logo, and can be instantly loaded with denominations ranging from $10 up to $500. The new program is quick and easy to implement, with free marketing materials available. There are no up-front costs for credit unions; the cards are paid for when they are sold to credit union members. Also, each credit union has the ability to set its own retail price for the cards to its members. Credit unions are not responsible for liability or fraud associated with cardholder activity. “As we searched for a gift card provider, we were impressed with how easy it was for credit unions to roll out and deliver this program to their members,” said Wes Millar, senior vice president of CUNA Strategic Services. “Credit unions also can take advantage of RBS Lynk’s free training information and dedicated account managers, who are available to help with every aspect of this program.” “RBS Lynk and CUNA have common values focused on community, innovation, and personalized customer service, as well as expertise and capabilities,” said Asif Ramji, RBS Lynk senior vice president of prepaid and loyalty sales. “We look forward to providing a wide range of prepaid products, backed by personalized service for credit unions.”

CU 24 FSCC shared branch network join forces

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TALLAHASSEE and SAN DIMAS, Calif. (3/4/08)--Credit Union 24 and Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC) Monday announced an alliance to explore ways to help credit unions maximize services and service delivery. Credit Union 24 is a national credit union-owned point-of-sale (POS) network based in Tallahassee. It was one of the first deposit-taking credit union ATM networks in the nation and is the only national POS network owned and controlled by credit unions. FSCC is a pioneer in shared branch and operates the nation's largest credit union shared branch network. Both organizations are credit union-owned service cooperatives. "Our two organizations are remarkably similar," said Credit Union 24 President/CEO James Park. "Both Credit Union 24 and FSCC are member-owned cooperatives and have a history of innovation to empower credit unions. We share the common goal of helping credit unions face the challenges of an increasingly competitive environment, and we'll explore opportunities to share our technologies and partners to strengthen the credit union community. "Most important, this alliance is about bringing together our respective strengths to focus on the needs of credit unions, not on growing our own organizations," Park said. "None of us can do this alone," said Sarah Canepa Bank, president/CEO of FSCC, "and in fact, when we work together, we achieve things that even the largest companies couldn’t imagine. It's a little harder, and it requires long-term thinking, but it's definitely worth it. CU 24 has technology we can use and vice versa. Without spending shareholder dollars to own it, we can take advantage of each other's expertise for the benefit of everyone."