Just 11 months after signing the agreement to process Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s 64 million private-label card portfolio, Total System Services, Inc has successfully completed the third and final phase, converting the Sears card portfolio from its in-house system to TS2(R), TSYS’ state-of-the-art, Year 2000-compliant card processing system.
TSYS completed the conversion during the week of April 17, converting the remaining 32 million accounts after previously converting the first two phases of 7.2 million accounts and 24.8 million accounts in October 1998 and March 1999, respectively. All phases combined represent the largest conversion in the credit card industry, making Sears TSYS’ largest client.
“Our partnership with TSYS allows Sears to build on our strategy of developing and leveraging our customer relationships, treating each customer individually,” said Alan Lacy, president, Sears Credit. “TSYS clearly understands Sears unique processing needs, making them an exceptional partner.”
“We are delighted with the successful conversion of the Sears portfolio. We knew that successfully converting Sears would be one of our greatest challenges. Sears is one of the preeminent card issuers and best-known companies in the world, and the confidence they have placed in us is a source of great pride for our entire team. While our TS2 system is the finest in the industry, the people who support TS2 and all of our systems are our greatest competitive advantage,” said TSYS President Philip W. Tomlinson.
“We are honored that Sears chose us as their retail processor of choice. This partnership will help us to further strengthen our retail initiatives.” He continued, “TSYS has experienced extraordinary growth in the retail arena in recent years. While we have processed retail cards for the past 10 years, TSYS has acquired the expertise that makes retail a strategic business initiative that we are aggressively pursuing. We’ve equipped our team members with the tools and resources to better understand just how unique the needs of retailers are,” said Tomlinson.
“We are very impressed with the ‘can-do’ spirit of the TSYS team. In 11 months, TSYS assembled a dedicated support team who completed all development supporting the Sears legacy system, completed all phases of the conversion on schedule and were a pleasure to work with,” said Kevin Phalen, Sears director, portfolio conversion.
To accommodate TSYS’ aggressive growth which includes converting 78 million accounts in 1999, TSYS constructed a data center to house the latest technology and equipment needed. The center, called a ‘showcase accomplishment’ by IBM, was constructed in less than 120 days. Sears acknowledges that its construction played a major role in cementing the deal between the two companies.
Phalen continued, “Throughout the conversion process, TSYS went to great lengths to understand not only the unique processing needs of the retail industry but of Sears, in particular. They never suggested that we take any short cuts or alter our business requirements for their convenience. Throughout the conversion, the TSYS team exhibited a willingness to learn and understand our business. Because of this, Sears now has the flexibility to provide various products to our customers as well as improve service support of Sears multiple retail formats and operations.”
“TS2 enables us to accomplish large-scale conversions quickly and efficiently,” said Richard M. Cogar, TSYS Transition Manager for Sears. “Our team members’ dedication and expertise enabled us to exceed Sears expectations and to form some incredible relationships with their team.”
“The conversion of Sears 64 million accounts speaks so well of TS2’s ability to handle diverse portfolios from retailers as well as financial institutions,” said TSYS Vice President and Sears Account Manager Roddy Hunter. “We utilized best practices during the conversion process, and now it is time for us to demonstrate these practices in all facets of our relationship so that we can help Sears leverage the system to meet their business objectives and get on with the business at hand.”
The Sears credit portfolio is by far the largest in the retail industry — bigger than the next 10 combined. In 1998, more than 32 million Sears accounts were active, and the portfolio’s average managed receivables were nearly $28 billion. Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenues of more than $41 billion. For more information, visit Sears Web site at .
TSYS is one of the world’s leading information technology processors of data, transactions and payments for domestic and international issuers of credit, debit, commercial and private-label cards. TSYS’ sophisticated systems offer online accounting, data processing, electronic commerce services, portfolio management, account acquisition, credit evaluation, risk management and customer service. Through our family of companies, TSYS services the entire lifecycle of card accounts making it possible for more than 188 million cardholders to use their cards at the point of sale or over the Internet. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., TSYS, is an 80.8% owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. named the Best Company to Work for in America by FORTUNE magazine.
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