FirstBank Opens Gift Card Division in Franklin; Community Bank Products Issues VISA Gift Cards Nationwide
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(www.AllPayNews.com)--Sept. 21, 2006--FirstBank has launched a new gift card division, Community Bank Products, which makes it one of the only community banks in the nation issuing pre-paid VISA gift cards to community banks across the country.
The new division is located at 210 Gothic Court, Suite 200, in Franklin. Through Community Bank Products and partnerships with processors Fidelity National Information Services, Inc., and Metavante Inc., FirstBank sells pre-paid, non-reloadable VISA gift cards to more than 100 community banks nationwide, which in turn sell the cards directly to consumers.
"Who better to market and help community banks with gift cards than a community bank like FirstBank that understands the resource challenges of our peers?" said Doug Cruickshanks, president of FirstBank. "We feel fortunate to be able to give banks, that otherwise might not have the chance, the opportunity to be involved in the Community Bank Products program and the gift card market."
Since the gift card program launched last November, FirstBank has issued more than 46,000 VISA gift cards, and the reseller network has loaded more than $2 million in card value. FirstBank plans to expand its reseller network to more than 1,000 community banks and expand to additional pre-paid debit products in the next year.
"We're constantly looking for new ways to expand our product offerings," said Tip Evans, FirstBank senior vice president and head of Community Bank Products. "The national VISA gift card program gives reseller banks the opportunity to offer their customers a valuable product - it's a positive for all parties involved."
Evans joined FirstBank in 2003 as senior vice president of treasury management sales. Prior to working at FirstBank, he was senior vice president at AmSouth Bank, where he managed treasury management sales, international banking and merchant card services, and executive vice president and group manager for First American National Bank.
Joining Evans are Andrew Woodard and Amy Sedar, both of whom serve as Community Bank Products' operations support. They are responsible for performing customer service and administrative functions, maintaining reports and conducting special projects. Woodard received a bachelor of arts degree from Cumberland University, and Sedar holds a bachelor of arts degree in mass communication from the University of Delaware.
FirstBank markets the VISA gift cards through the Community Bank Products name to community banks nationwide. Community banks that agree to a reseller relationship with FirstBank sell the VISA gift cards directly to their customers over the counter. Cards can be loaded for various amounts between $25 and $500 and used anywhere VISA cards are accepted, except for hotel charges, rental cars, and pay-at-the-pump gas.
Gift cards have traditionally been sold in closed systems, where retailers issue cards redeemable only at certain outlets. FirstBank's VISA gift cards are accepted at most VISA merchant locations with fewer restrictions, which Evans says gives consumers more flexibility and convenience when shopping and provides a secure outlet for transactions.
The Community Bank Products program brings FirstBank and other community banks into the gift card market, estimated at greater than $200 billion annually. As part of a promotional campaign, Community Bank Products will rebate the initial card fee to reseller banks for cards sold from October 1 through December 31.
FirstBank is one of the largest independently owned banks in Tennessee, with 36 locations and $1.5 billion in assets.
As the leader among Tennessee's community banks, FirstBank offers its customers a broad line of financial products and services, and actively promotes initiatives that improve the quality of life for Tennesseans, with an emphasis on education in the communities it serves. Jim Ayers is owner and chairman of FirstBank and founder of the Ayers Foundation.
To read more about FirstBank, a wholly owned subsidiary of First South Bancorp, Inc., visit its Web site at www.firstbankonline.com.