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NOVA Purchases Alliance & Leicester's Merchant Acquiring Business

NOVA's euroConex Affiliate to Manage Processing Services

ATLANTA & DUBLIN, Ireland & LEICESTER, U.K.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 30, 2004--NOVA Information Systems (NOVA) and Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank (ALCB), a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliance & Leicester plc, today announced that the companies have signed a definitive agreement for the sale of Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank's merchant acquiring business to a UK-based affiliate of NOVA. EuroConex Technologies Ltd, another affiliate of NOVA, will manage the processing services for all new and existing Alliance & Leicester merchant customers. Merchant processing services will continue to be marketed under the Alliance & Leicester brand. Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank currently provides processing services to over 27,000 merchants in the UK.

In addition to debit and credit card processing services, euroConex supports EMV Chip and PIN, multi-currency and Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), delivering a scalable and flexible model for cross-border acquiring. Over the last three years euroConex has achieved strong growth in Ireland and the UK and has established a significant presence in France, Spain, the Netherlands and Poland.

"EuroConex is a true partner to financial institutions," said Billy Saunderson, chief executive officer, euroConex. "We can seamlessly manage the transition of a merchant processing portfolio. Alliance & Leicester's merchant customers will continue to benefit from advanced processing services, and will have access to a full portfolio of solutions fitting the needs of a variety of vertical markets."

"This transaction underscores NOVA's commitment to aggressive growth strategies across Europe, through our euroConex affiliate," said Edward Grzedzinski, chief executive officer, NOVA and chairman, euroConex. "Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank is a well respected player in the UK payments market with a very impressive merchant portfolio. The strength of their existing business and excellent reputation, combined with the full range of euroConex value-added services, will go a long way toward establishing euroConex as a top provider of these services across Europe."

Richard Banks, Managing Director of Wholesale Banking at Alliance & Leicester, said: "The alliance with NOVA means that we can continue to provide customers of Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank with innovative, cost-effective merchant services. The merchant acquisition market is becoming increasingly dominated by global providers. As a UK bank focused on serving UK customers, our strategy is to provide our customers with a range of services, with core products being manufactured in house, while working in alliance with a range of world class organizations in order to provide others."

Today's announcement marks NOVA's third acquisition in a week. Last Friday it purchased Polish card processor CardPoint from Bank Zachodni WBK, a subsidiary of AIB Group. On Wednesday, it announced the purchase of Union Bank of California's merchant processing portfolio. NOVA also announced this week that it was purchasing the remaining 50% shareholding in euroConex from Bank of Ireland, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of NOVA. The European acquisitions will firmly position euroConex as a major European payment processor.

About Alliance & Leicester

Alliance & Leicester is one of the UK's major financial services groups. It offers a broad range of financial services to personal, commercial and small business customers. Alliance & Leicester has been a member of the FTSE 100 index of leading shares on the London stock exchange since converting from its original mutual building society status in 1997. Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank provides services for commercial customers focusing on cash handling, cash sales to financial institutions, commercial lending, asset finance and business banking, as well as bill payments, merchant acquisition, and international payments. For more information visit www.alliance-leicester-group.co.uk.

About euroConex

EuroConex Technologies, Ltd, is an affiliate of NOVA Information Systems. The company provides an integrated payments processing service to financial institutions and merchants in Ireland, the UK and in selected European markets using a multi-currency platform. In addition to Point of Sale, International Point of Sale and eCommerce solutions, euroConex also provides a range of specialist multi-currency products including Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) . For more information visit www.euroconex.com

About NOVA

NOVA Information Systems, a leader in the payment processing industry, is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB - News). NOVA partners with financial institutions, independent sales organizations, associations, government agencies and community banks to offer integrated payment processing services to their merchants and retailers. NOVA's products include credit and debit card processing services, software applications, electronic check conversion, gift card solutions and other value-added services to more than 650,000 merchant locations in the United States and Europe. For more information visit www.novainfo.com.

     U.S. Contact:
     NOVA Information Systems
     Michelle Graff, 678-731-5064
     E.U. Contacts:
     Willie Byrne, + 353 1 2390 299
     Alliance & Leicester
     Ginny Broad, +44(0) 116 200 3355

Source: NOVA Information Systems
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