for a shake-up if industry veteran Michael R. Shutters gets his way. Mr. Shutters has cast himself and his newly formed company, U.S. Processing Inc., as a contemporary David taking on Goliaths like Deluxe Data Systems, Electronic Data Systems, and Mellon Network Services. "I believe there's a void in bringing good, responsive customer service and good state-of-the-art technology to small and midsize banks," said Mr. Shutters, president and chief executive of the new concern. "That's the niche we'll be filling." Unlike the biblical David who battled his giant without any help, U.S. Processing has aligned itself with Transaction Systems Architects Inc., the parent company of Applied Communications Inc. and U.S. Software Inc., two well-known suppliers to the banking community. Under terms of a recently signed agreement, the two companies will exchange technical, strategic, and market development information. Transaction Systems also has the option to acquire increasing percentages of U.S. Processing's privately owned stock for the next five years. "It is our intent, by the end of the fifth year, to become a full TSA subsidiary," said Mr. Shutters. Mr. Shutters is familiar with Transaction Systems, having worked for its U.S. Software subsidiary from February 1994 until June 1995, when he left to form U.S. Processing. Mr. Shutters is best known in EFT circles for his long tenure with Deluxe Data Systems, one of the companies against which he now plans to compete. Mr. Shutters has attracted quite a few experienced electronic funds transfer professionals to his team at U.S. Processing, including former Deluxe colleagues Calvin W. Rose, who is vice president of operations, and Scott M. Kennison, vice president in charge of customer support and client services. Both have more than 25 years of industry experience. "Our employees are older than those in other organizations, because I felt that depth of experience was needed to fulfill the goal of world-class customer service," said Mr. Shutters, who plans to expand his staff of 25 to 120 in five years. Much of the U.S. Processing long-term strategic plan is predicated on the idea that market share for electronic funds transfer processing is highly fragmented, with no single player attracting more than 7% of the business. Mr. Shutters believes the lack of any one major player opens the door for his company's emphasis on customer service. "While I think EFT processing is an area that's ripe for business opportunities, most of the current competitors have technology that's very reliable and pricing that's very attractive," said Andrew F. Mayer, senior manager in the financial services industry consulting group at Ernst & Young. Mr. Shutters says that his company's pricing will be "very competitive" and that it has already signed its first bank contract. The company will begin driving and processing transactions for the unidentified $1.5 billion-asset bank's 35 ATMs later this month. The company expects to announce several additional contracts within weeks.
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