First Data installs VisionPlus at Banco Mais; inks new PNC deal

Source: First Data

First Data today announced the achievement of a major milestone in the roll-out of its European card processing strategy with processing of the first transactions on its European VisionPLUS platform for Banco Mais in Portugal.

Banco Mais, recently named by Exame Magazine as the best Portuguese medium or small bank, is one of Portugal's leading consumer credit players, focused mainly in auto finance. First Data will process card transactions and manage accounts for Banco Mais' new credit card and unsecured loan products. First Data's VisionPLUS platform gives Banco Mais the ability to offer a suite of financial services products, the flexibility to cross-sell to the company's existing customer base and attract new customers.

Already processing 400 million card and loan accounts for hundreds of issuing banks around the world, First Data's VisionPLUS platform is a reliable and highly flexible end-to-end solution to assist banks in improving customer management, operational efficiency, risk management and customer profitability. All new First Data processing clients across Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be supported on the VisionPLUS platform, which is based in Basildon, UK. System development and customisations will be handled at a new VisionPLUS development centre, based in Athens, Greece.

Commenting on the launch, Vitor Nunes, Board Member of Banco Mais, said: "We sincerely congratulate First Data on its professionalism in achieving the scheduled date for bringing us live on VisionPLUS. The implementation has been a real success and demonstrates First Data's commitment to its clients, regardless of size or potential risk. We look forward to benefiting from the platform’s flexibility and rich functionality as we move forward and develop our new card and loans business."

David Yates, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, First Data International, commented: "Launching any new card issuer's portfolio is a complex challenge but this successful implementation demonstrates both the commitment and collective ability of our organisation and the adaptability of VisionPLUS.

"The platform offers our current and future clients the very best functionality, service and support that the processing industry has to offer. This includes the benefits of a major global platform, supported by a dedicated and highly experienced development team in Orlando, Fla, with processing centres around the world and staff committed to ensuring that the platform meets the individual needs of clients across this region. It is this mix of global and local resource, capability and commitment that differentiates VisionPLUS from all other processing platforms."

Separately, the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC) and First Data Corp. (NYSE:FDC) today announced the five-year extension of their PNC Merchant Services alliance agreement that began in 1996.

The new agreement includes PNC's purchase of 20 percent of the merchant alliance, increasing its ownership to 60 percent, with First Data owning 40 percent upon the closing of the transaction.

Consideration will include cash and contributed merchant contracts. No additional terms of the deal were disclosed and the agreement is subject to regulatory approvals. First Data expects to record a gain from the transaction. Upon closing of the transaction, PNC will consolidate the merchant alliance for financial statement purposes.

The contribution of a recently acquired PNC merchant portfolio also expands the market footprint and reach of PNC Merchant Services. In addition, the two owners plan to re-engineer the sales model to more effectively deliver a unique value proposition that best leverages the strengths of each partner.

"PNC's continued alliance with First Data enables us to provide a variety of payment solutions as well as access to developing technology and innovation," said Joseph C. Guyaux, president, PNC. "The restructured agreement will allow PNC to integrate our cash management and card acceptance solutions to help our customers grow their business in a more secure and efficient environment."

"The unique strengths of this alliance and PNC's commitment to the marketplace and their market vision makes this the optimal approach to the merchant industry and ensures a successful partnership." said Scott Betts, president, First Data Enterprise Payments. "The continued commitment to our relationship reflects the durability and flexibility of our alliance program and our ability to meet the unique needs of our partners."

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