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Issue 04:08:01
News

Industry Update

SVS Acquires Minority Stake in ProfitPoint

Extra! Extra! Get Your "RetailBusiness" Here

Features

Industry Leader: Mary Dees Making Contributions of Many Colors: An Eclectic Role in Payments

Scrip Under Scrutiny

By Ann All, Senior Editor, ATMmarketplace.com

Book Review:
The Game What Are You Waiting For? You've Got 90 Days

GS Advisory Board:
Equipment Sales Under Pressure? GS Advisory Board to the Rescue

AgenTalkSM:
Balancing Family Time With the Pursuit of Residual Income

by Matthew Swinnerton

Views

Don't Be Bashful About Security at the POS

By Rob Regan

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Blueprint for MLS Success: Part I

By Ed Freedman

Time to Review Your Merchant Agreement?

By David H. Press

Reach Your Customers Directly With Direct Mail

By Nancy Drexler

New Products

New Hand-over Terminal Sails Into U.S. Waters

GO Software Announces New and Improved PCCharge

One Contactless Solution With Many Benefits for All

Company Profiles

ATM Industry Association (ATMIA)

Inspiration

Managing Workplace Interruptions

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

More Than 26 Years in Payment Processing and a Lifetime of Achievement
Paul Green's Speech at the Midwest Acquirers' Convention

Editor's Note: On July 29, 2004, Paul H. Green was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Midwest Acquirers' Association at its Second Annual Conference in Chicago.

The award "honors the outstanding individual who has made significant contributions throughout a career of service to the merchant bankcard and electronic payments industry. The award is a unique tribute given only to the individual who is worthy of 'Hall of Fame' status." This is the text of Paul's speech.

"I am honored to be recognized with this award. Of course, I would actually like to argue that I'm too young to receive a 'lifetime achievement' award.

"I want to thank the founders of the MWAA, Jim McCormick, Caroline Marino and Mark Dunn, the MWAA Board of Directors and all of you who voted to award me this honor.

"Last year a very good friend of mine, Bob Carr, who is Founder, CEO and Chairman of Heartland Payment Systems, received the first Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Midwest Acquirers' Association (MWAA). I was not available to publicly congratulate Bob at that time and would like to take this opportunity now.

"I have now worked in the 'payments' business 26 years; I appeared in The Wall Street Journal for the first time at age 30 as President of Telecredit Check Services, just as we expanded our business from checks to credit cards by purchasing a small credit card processing business in central Florida. (My dream was to run a public company; however, this was not as much fun at age 30 as I thought it would be.)

"That was truly another era, as it was not until 1979 that the first bank in this country contracted with a marketing organization to sell bankcard services to retailers. That, of course, was my company, Unlimited Marketing Services Association (UMSA), and by 1983 draft capture was a reality; I then founded American Marketing Corporation (AMCOR), the nation's first ISO.

"With AMCOR, my vision was to build independent sales offices throughout the United States. With the signing of our five-year exclusive contract with Citicorp Bank, we began to do just that-by selling $1.5 billion (with a "b") of new bankcard business our first year.

"While working first to build AMCOR and then for the next 18 years to build CrossCheck, Inc., my other job was always The Green Sheet. People inside the businesses, as well as industry people whom I met on the road, would always say, "It seems like you are always writing." This was my life for more than a decade, writing every word that The Green Sheet published.

"The important thing is that The Green Sheet has never been a business to me; it has always been a mission, and that mission is to help the sales individuals on the street know what they need to know to make a livable wage. For this reason, for more than half of The Green Sheet's life, the publication had no advertising and was financed by my other business ventures.

"Given a large and growing national sales force, all made up of independent companies and salespeople, AMCOR needed a way to communicate regularly with the "feet on the street." With this realization, The Green Sheet was born.

"The first issues bore a hand-drawn banner head that I thought gave it an Old World feel; in fact, the very first newsletters weren't green. But with the adoption of the green paper and a four-page format (produced in Microsoft Word and printed at a local copying business), The Green Sheet began to take shape. "The first issues of The Green Sheet were only four pages and about 1,600 words each. In October 1986, we moved to a slightly more professional look. The first issue printed on green paper (October 31, 1986) announced that AMCOR had received approval from MasterCard and Visa for the use of bankcard logos on AMCOR business cards. Downstream independent sales offices were also permitted logo use.

"In the March 6, 1987 issue, we introduced our first industry cartoon, which has been a staple ever since. The April 7, 1989 issue announced the first Visa/MasterCard ISO regulations and restrictions in the industry and suggested that this was the result of a certain player in the industry. Following this story, Peachtree Bankcard sued The Green Sheet, the beginning of several suits against me and the publication, for a variety of reasons.

"The April 23, 1993 issue was the first to grow to six pages, and it later became a tri-fold layout for the July 25, 1994 issue. In January 1995, The Green Sheet became an independent corporation for the first time. After 11 years of publication and support by UMSA, AMCOR and CrossCheck, The Green Sheet published its first issue without a co-logo.

"Also in January 1995, we created the recurring feature "Resource Guide," with a three-quarter-page layout and 11 categories. With Green Sheet independence, the publication launched its Web site in July 1995. Modest as the site was, it began to pave the way for our adoption of more robust computer systems for managing the 11 years of previously published text and the readership database. In 1995 alone, The Green Sheet published more than 75,000 words with a staff of three, including the Webmaster.

"We did not move from our tri-fold, six-page, 3,200-word formats from April 1993 to March 1997. The current magazine format began with 10 pages in 1997 and has grown to as many as 104 pages, from 4,800 words to 28,000 words per issue. The Green Sheet now has more to say in three issues than it said in an entire year in 1995.

"With the growth of the initial publication and its online alter ego, The Green Sheet also launched in 1997 its GSQ full-color magazine, a supplement to The Green Sheet, publishing four issues per year both in print and online.

"I am pleased to say that today The Green Sheet is a household name in the industry, and with continuing praise from our readers, we regularly find new opportunities such as the GS Online's MLS Forum, Registered ISO Network and our new monthly online poll "You Tell Us" to improve our overall offering.

"While I am proud of the fact that we have received 14 Awards for Publication Excellence (APEX) for The Green Sheet, GSQ and GS Online printed and online publications, what pleases me most are your comments that we have remained on target and relevant to the needs of the merchant level salesperson (MLS) in this industry.

"Through the years, we have taken on many issues and some players. We regularly lambasted the earlier stages of the Bankcard Services Association (BSA), charging that its focus was too narrow and that the direction was too exclusionary. We never let up until the BSA became the ETA (Electronic Transactions Association) and we still have been outspoken about things we thought the association should address.

"We didn't like that ETA never discussed the changes in equipment distribution from ISO and bank to retail locations such as Costco, and we thought that ETA should be the advocate for the industry when the Federal Trade Commission went after Certified Merchant Services (CMS).

"We made no friends when we first published bankcard interchange and later received very hostile comments from the equipment manufacturers when we first published equipment pricing.

"Our ongoing efforts to share the results of salespeople losing bankcard business to Discover reps with whom they worked eventually led to the Discover ISO program and to American Express finding interest in ISOs. From the changes in check processing to the opportunities in ATM and private-label cards, I have used The Green Sheet to educate, inform and lobby.

"Currently The Green Sheet is co-sponsoring all of the regional training events across the country; both the events sponsored by the regional acquirers' associations and the ETA Expo Network meetings.

"I realize that there is a controversial 'turf-war' currently underway between these trade associations; however, I steadfastly insist that The Green Sheet remain the 'Switzerland' of our industry. We support any and all initiatives that I personally believe will benefit the individual sales person.

"I will continue to actively support the MLS through print and online publications and books and by sponsoring industry events and trade associations. I believe that sales is the most honorable of professions, and I will support this industry through The Green Sheet, as long as someone is still interested in what we have to say.

"Thank you again for this Lifetime Achievement Award. I pray that you are all blessed with the joy and success that I have been graced with in this industry.

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