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CGI BECOMES FIRST NON-FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TO OFFER INTERAC TRANSACTION SUPPORT TO CLIENTS

Montreal, Quebec, September 16, 1997 -  

The CGI Group announced today that it is the first non-financial institution member of Canada's Interac electronic payment system with the ability to provide InteracTM services to its clients. Yesterday, CGI became the first non-financial Interac member to process transactions and the first such member to offer Interac Direct Payment (IDP) services through point-of-sale devices and Interac Shared Cash Dispensing using automated banking machines (ABMs).

"We're very excited about this development which opens up an entirely new dimension in our service offering," said Jean Brassard, CGI's President and COO. "As of yesterday, CGI began providing Interac services to the Canadian affiliate of Republic National Bank of New York, and we are currently holding discussions with a number of potential clients who have expressed interest in our Interac services," he added.

CGI is one of several organizations that have become members of Interac over the past few months. CGI yesterday became the first such member to introduce its services. Since 1985, CGI has been involved in Interac as an agent and data services provider on behalf of the Credit Union Central of Canada and all of its more than 400 credit union affiliated members.

"We have been running Credit Union Central of Canada's Interac-related applications for years," said Brassard. "We have now taken a significant step by setting up our own stand-alone Interac environment to provide for Interac Shared Cash Dispensing and Interac Direct Payment."

Brassard added that the market for Interac Direct Payment through point-of-sale devices is experiencing average annual growth of 50% in Canada and that this demand is expected to continue unabated in coming years, as a result of growing consumer acceptance. In the first seven months of 1997, according to Interac data, some 524.9 million IDP transactions were completed representing a total value of $22.7 billion. "In 1996, meanwhile, automated banking machine withdrawals totalled $1 billion in Canada, and this figure keeps growing," he said. "Interestingly, there is strong customer demand for Interac services provided by a non-financial institution such as CGI."

CGI's role as non-financial service provider will position the company strongly in view of upcoming industry developments such as the introduction of smart card-based electronic payment technology. "The so-called chip cards incorporating integrated circuits are being pilot-tested and are expected to enter the market soon and will join other electronic payment systems in gradually replacing cash transactions," he said. "CGI has the expertise and resources to play a major role in this emerging market."

CGI's Interac environment includes BASE24 software from Applied Communications Canada Inc. (ACCI). "ACCI is very pleased to be CGI's provider of choice for its Interac electronic payment software," said Janice Moyer, President and CEO of ACCI. "We have worked in partnership with CGI over the past year to design a highly functional, reliable system for its Interac customers." ACCI, a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects Inc. (NASDAQ: TSAI), provides solutions to the majority of Canadian financial institutions that make up Interac, and has been actively involved with Interac since the late 1980s.

Following its April 1997 merger with CDSL Holdings, CGI gained a solid foothold in the retail banking systems and electronic commerce and switching services industry. CGI currently delivers information technology solutions and services to over 300 financial institutions with more than two million customers and supports in excess of 850 ABMs.

CGI is the largest Canadian-owned independent information technology consulting firm with 2,900 professionals and a revenue-run rate of $300 million. The company's backlog is currently valued at over $1 billion. It provides end-to-end IT services and business solutions to more than 1,800 clients throughout Canada and elsewhere in the world. CGI's shares are listed on the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges under the GIB.A symbol.

For more information:

Ronald White
Public Affairs
The CGI Group
(514) 841-3200