North Fork to Issue NYCE's Online 'Card'

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. - North Fork Bank of Melville, N.Y. has agreed to issue SafeDebit, the online payment option developed by NYCE Corp.North Fork is the second bank to adopt the product - a cardlike CD-ROM that functions much like an automated teller machine card.

NYCE, the prominent electronic funds transfer network, introduced SafeDebit in December as a more secure alternative to credit cards, the dominant form of Internet payment.

SafeDebit slips into the CD-ROM drive of a personal computer and is activated by a personal identification number. Michigan National Bank was the first financial institution to commit, and CVS and Wallgreens were the first online merchants. Hoping to foster widespread adoption, NYCE has licensed the product to Star Systems Inc., the largest EFT network.

North Fork views SafeDebit "as a secure means to provide our customers with an Internet payment option while at the same time affording us a viable revenue opportunity," said Donna Harrison, the bank's vice president for electronic banking.

- Helen Stock

MasterCard Follows Visa on Zero Liability

PURCHASE, N.Y. - MasterCard International's U.S. board of directors approved a measure to set a zero-dollar liability limit on unauthorized credit and debit card use, regardless of when a cardholder reports the loss or theft. Visa U.S.A. has a similar policy.Under MasterCard's previous policy, consumers had no liability in most cases, but only if the fraud, theft, or unauthorized use was reported within 24 hours of discovery. Otherwise, cardholders could be held liable for up to $50 of the fraudulent charges.

The new rule eliminates the 24-hour reporting requirement for all MasterCard consumer cards issued by U.S. issuers, and includes Internet transactions.

Anchor Mortgage Calls Off Talks on Sale

CHICAGO - Anchor Mortgage Corp. said it had called off negotiations to be acquired by Finantra Capital Inc. of Plantation, Fla.Finantra issued a press release on April 26 saying it had signed a letter of intent to acquire Anchor for an undisclosed sum. But Anchor said two days later that the letter was not legally binding and that Anchor had instructed Finantra not to issue any press release "until major transaction terms had been negotiated."

Finantra declined to comment.

Rise in Factory Orders Stronger than Expected

WASHINGTON - U.S. factory orders rose more than expected in March, buoyed by demand for goods ranging from paper and petroleum to aircraft and electronic equipment.Orders increased 2.2% to $383.2 billion, according to the Commerce Department said. Orders were unchanged in February, the Commerce Department said, revising its earlier report that orders declined 0.8% in February.

"Everything from manufacturing to construction to services is running at a torrid pace with very little sign of moderation," said Richard Yamarone, senior economist at Argus Research Corp. in New York. "There is absolutely no sign of a slowing economy."

Goldman Hires Morgan Exec for Top Trust Post

NEW YORK - Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Wednesday that it has hired Daniel M. FitzPatrick from J.P. Morgan & Co. to build a personal trust business.At Morgan Mr. Fitzpatrick was responsible for trust and estate administration and related activities worldwide. He is one of a handful of recent hires by the investment banking firm, which is trying to boost its high-net-worth practice. Personal trust is a business dominated by commercial banks.

A spokeswoman said Goldman would not begin offering personal trust services for several months.

- Cheryl Winokur

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