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NAOPP Continues to Make Progress

You may have forgotten about the National Association of Payment Professionals, but we are still here and ready to give you an update. For quite some time, the MLS/ISO community has been debating whether there's a place for an association that represents the "feet on the street."

There are hundreds of reasons for starting this association, but the common goal is to provide education, support and representation to sales reps. The growing demand for this association reached a climax a little less than a year ago, and NAOPP was born.

NAOPP President Steve Norell of US Merchant Services and several supporters conducted the kickoff meeting in February 2003 in Tampa, Fla. Those who attended came only with high expectations and nothing else. Their common interest was to focus on creating an association of Merchant Level Salespeople, ISOs, vendors and banks. An interim board of directors and officers was nominated and voted on.

The name of the association was suggested by Gary Martin, an MLS and industry professional, and was approved by the interim board. Amazing progress was made as ideas were formulated and timetables established. The momentum was high as the attendees departed. It was time to let the industry know that the National Association of Payment Professionals was filled with energy.

The first few months of the NAOPP's existence have been filled with discussion, formalities and preparation but, most important, progress. The bulk of the directors and board members gathered in Atlanta to finalize several key aspects of the NAOPP.

Greg Cohen generously arranged the time and meeting facilities at Global Payment Systems for this event. Andy Pitts of Alpha Processing, the Chairman of the Bylaws Committee, came fully prepared with ratified bylaws, which were presented for finalization.

During the Atlanta meeting, the NAOPP board completed and voted on the bylaws, Web site and membership information - overall, a major chapter in the organization's development.

As we close in on the next gathering of NAOPP members, following the October 8-10, 2003 meeting of the Southeast Acquirers Association in Orlando, Fla., several more elements have been accomplished.

Henry Helgeson of Merchant Warehouse has completed the first phase to the official NAOPP Web site and created marketing materials that were handed out at the Midwest Acquirers Association meeting in July in Chicago.

Raymond Leonardi of Bridgeview Bank has established a merchant account, post office box and tax identification number for NAOPP in preparation for accepting membership applications. The Midwest Acquirers convention was the first public announcement of the progress and direction of the NAOPP since our first Tampa meeting.

The NAOPP directors and board members continue to exchange e-mails and phone calls with the intention of improving our industry and continuing to establish the organization.

The majority of the ISOs and MLSs have been struggling without any real representation, support or education in the payment processing industry. Despite what some may say, the ISOs and MLSs have a powerful voice and the NAOPP has heard it.

The coming months will bring further announcements, including membership opportunities and the next association meetings. For further NAOPP details and membership information, please visit

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.
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