SHAZAM's 45th anniversary highlights the importance of membership

posted by Paul Waltz on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in SHAZAM Blog

As president and CEO of SHAZAM, I’m proud to share with you that we’re celebrating our 45th year in the financial services industry. What began as a small company with just a few employees in 1976, has grown into a well-respected team of more than 500 professionals.

We’re grateful to our clients who continue to trust in our people, products and services. Personal, long-term relationships are in our DNA, and our mission has always been to strengthen community financial institutions.

Membership is the heart of SHAZAM. Let’s start with the bottom line: SHAZAM’s the only nationwide independent, member-owned debit network, processor and core provider supporting community financial institutions. Since we don’t answer to shareholders, we can reinvest profits in technologies our clients need as they serve the next generation of consumers.

When we say we’re an independent debit network, what we’re really saying is we aren’t publicly or privately owned and controlled. We’re owned by our members.

This gives us a high degree of independence when it comes to setting priorities and making decisions about how we invest our profits back to our clients through products and services.

Membership has its advantages
Since 1976, SHAZAM has served community financial institutions with products and services to help them compete. Because we’re member owned and controlled, our board of directors are people who use our products. Imagine if you were able to sit on the board of directors of one of your favorite retailers, directing every aspect of how prices are set and what merchandise and services are offered. That’s how it works at SHAZAM. We’re focused entirely on serving the needs of our members.

This focus has allowed us to concentrate our resources on innovation — from developing the single-message system that continues to be the standard for networks today to implementing the first integrated point-of-sale pilot program. Our mission is strengthening community financial institutions and every member of our team is committed to finding ways to exceed member expectations.

Every member financial institution has an equal voice in the work we do and each member — no matter the size of the institution — gets one vote within SHAZAM. The member-selected board of directors determines our direction, our focus and how we’ll support our members.

This type of structure is indeed our biggest competitive advantage, and it’s why we’re celebrating 45 years. We’re not conflicted by the demands of shareholders to create a profit; we concentrate on our members and their needs.

Support through advocacy
SHAZAM makes it our business to be a vocal advocate for community financial institutions. We represent you in the payments industry, on Capitol Hill, at regulatory agencies like the FTC and the Fed, on national payments boards, and through other committees where it’s important your voice is heard. Community financial institutions must have a voice in the future of the nation’s payments system.

As we continue to fight for standards in payments that drive innovation and competition, we applaud the development of technology that opens choices for consumers when they pay. We won’t accept technology that limits choice and raises expenses. What’s paramount is giving community financial institutions the choice and flexibility in selecting the best services for their operations.

In the absence of standards in payments, community institutions will lose choice and innovation will be hampered. We speak for our members when we advocate for a payments system that operates for the benefit of all financial institutions, regardless of size or scope.

SHAZAM. We’re a nonprofit, member-owned and controlled financial services provider, supporting community financial institutions and seeking fairness and equity in the marketplace for you. We look forward to helping you succeed for the next 45 years ... and beyond.


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SHAZAM, Inc. and ITS, Inc. provide this blog for general informational purposes only. Our blog may be shared by a direct link wherein the content remains as originally presented and has not been altered. SHAZAM, Inc. and ITS, Inc. assume no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the blog. By using this blog, reader agrees that the information published does not constitute nor is a substitute for legal advice which should only be sought from a qualified, licensed attorney. 


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