Magazine article American Banker

With New Name, TSYS Unit Eyes Foreign Markets

Magazine article American Banker

With New Name, TSYS Unit Eyes Foreign Markets

Article excerpt

Vital Processing Services, the merchant acquiring unit of Total System Services Inc. of Columbus, Ga., has changed its name in preparation for expanding beyond the United States.

The new name, announced Monday, is TSYS Acquiring Solutions.

Beverly Wells, the Tempe, Ariz., unit's president and chief executive, said in an interview that using the name of its parent would make it easier to market itself abroad.

"We very much want to take our acquiring company worldwide, and we have no brand recognition" outside the United States, she said.

Vital Processing was originally a joint venture between TSYS and Visa U.S.A., but TSYS bought Visa's half of the venture in March of last year.

Ms. Wells said being half-owned by Visa's U.S. unit had restricted the venture to operating only in this country, but the buyout opened the door to taking it elsewhere. The unit has spent the past year studying the international market, and is now ready to venture abroad, she said.

Though TSYS Acquiring Solutions has no foreign customers now, "we have a lot of activity going on, in and out of this country," she said, and she hopes to announce an international deal soon.

She said that her unit has identified several foreign markets "where we have a lot of interest" -- Europe (especially the United Kingdom), China, and Brazil.

This strategy matches that of its parent, which is also expanding abroad. TSYS already has operations in Europe, and in December it announced that it had purchased a 34% stake in China's top transaction processor, China UnionPay Data Co. Ltd.

TSYS did not want to create an acquiring company for international customers, Ms. Wells said. "We want to be the acquiring arm of the international division."

Robert J. Dodd, an analyst for Regions Financial Corp.'s Morgan Keegan & Co. …

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