Network Branded Prepaid Card Association Enters its Third Membership Year

MONTVALE, N.J. - (AllPayNews) The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA), a non-profit trade organization that works to enhance the environment for the success of network branded prepaid cards, is now entering its third membership year. Founded in 2005 by industry veteran Anil D. Aggarwal with an initial three-year business plan to drive a positive regulatory and business climate for network branded prepaid cards, the Association has grown to include more than 35 members, a Board of Directors comprised of top industry leaders and two fully-functioning working groups addressing government and media/consumer issues.

“The NBPCA was established as a collaborative forum to promote a positive environment for the emerging network branded prepaid card industry,” said Anil D. Aggarwal, NBPCA Founder and Chairman of the Board, who is also Chairman and CEO of TxVia. “We pledged to be precise and accountable in our objectives, bringing value to our diverse members and making a measurable difference in how prepaid cards are perceived by lawmakers, regulators, law enforcement, and consumers. While we continue to raise the bar on what we consider a success, I can confidently say that the NBPCA has become a driving force advancing a positive environment for network branded prepaid cards.”

“Participating in the NBPCA has proven to be a very effective way to reach regulators, law enforcement and other government officials with accurate prepaid industry information while allowing us to stay focused on our business. The studies and research done by the Government Relations and Media & Consumer Education Working Groups are a great source of information for us, too. The NBPCA is a dedicated resource providing exceptional value for less than the cost of one FTE,” said Brad Hanson, President, Meta Payment Systems and member of the NBPCA Board of Directors.

In accordance with the Association’s three-year business plan, the NBPCA established measurable objectives for each membership year. Education and outreach programs are conducted through two working groups, the Government Relations Working Group and the Media & Consumer Education Working Group.

Government Relations

The Government Relations Working Group, chaired by Judith Rinearson, a Partner at Bryan Cave LLP, and co-chaired by Cherie Hamblin, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at iKobo, educates NBPCA members on government relations topics and supports the information needs of government, regulators and law enforcement.

In coordination with industry leaders, the Government Relations Working Group completed "Recommended Practices for Anti-Money Laundering Compliance for U.S.-based Prepaid Card Programs", much-heralded by industry, law enforcement and regulators as a valuable AML compliance blueprint for prepaid card programs. The group is currently working on industry leading practices related to consumer disclosures and a white paper on abandoned property laws.

Broad and deep engagement and dialogue with government and law enforcement personnel to promote the network branded prepaid card industry agenda is a key priority of the Government Relations Working Group. Judith Rinearson was recently appointed as the NBPCA representative to US Treasury's Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (BSAAG) as a plenary member. Various Government Relations Working Group members are also serving on BSAAG sub-committees. The group also co-chairs a newly-formed BSAAG sub-committee on stored value issues with the Federal Reserve.

Government Update provides members with a comprehensive resource for information on legislative action that may have an impact on the industry.

Working group sessions are held on a monthly basis, providing a forum for ongoing dialogue and education. Presenting members over the past year have included representatives from banks, program managers, law firms, payment networks and processors; topics have ranged from feedback and analysis of pending or passed regulation, regulatory and compliance implementation issues, trends in fraudulent activity, and 'perspectives from the field', to provide other members an inside look into their program counterparts. In addition, speakers from all levels of government have attended meetings during the past year.

Media & Consumer Education

The Media & Consumer Education Working Group, chaired by industry veteran Gary L. Palmer, conducts consumer-oriented campaigns and research to generate positive awareness about network branded prepaid cards. NBPCA news and commentary has generated more than 300 million media impressions and almost 1,000 news placements over the past year on topics ranging from gift card tips, how to use prepaid cards for household budgeting and how the cards in your wallet stack up – a comparison of debit, credit and prepaid cards.

A cornerstone of the Media & Consumer Education Working Group effort has been the generation of primary research on consumer attitudes about network branded prepaid cards. Four primary research studies on gift cards, health care cards and general purpose reloadable cards have become sought after sources of information for media, legislators, government officials and analysts. The unique nature of the research has been a strong driver of media outreach campaigns.

Through relationship building efforts, media now know they can find research, expert spokespeople and background information from the NBPCA website and press kit. This has helped drive a positive tenor of media coverage in the general marketplace. Media also know that the Media & Consumer Education Working Group works on behalf of the industry to correct published reports that contain incorrect information.

The Media & Consumer Education Working Group has named two new Co-Chairs beginning with membership year three. Talbott Roche, Senior Vice President, Blackhawk Network and a Member of the NBPCA Board of Directors and Juli Spottiswood, President and Chief Executive Officer, Parago Inc. and a Member of the NBPCA Board of Directors began serving their appointments on September 10, 2008.

“As Co-Chair of the Media & Consumer Education Working Group, I look forward to supporting consumer education around prepaid’s unique benefits and the best practices our industry can adopt to ensure the best consumer experience,” said Talbott Roche, NBPCA Media & Consumer Education Working Group, Co-Chair.

“NBPCA members recognize their responsibility to educate consumers about the options, features and functionality provided by network branded prepaid cards and I am committed to furthering this awareness through the efforts of the Media & Consumer Education Working Group,” said Juli Spottiswood, NBPCA Media & Consumer Education Working Group Co-Chair.

NBPCA Membership Year Three Business Plan and Search for New President and Executive Director

On July 1, 2008 the NBPCA entered into its third membership year which is the final year of the initial three-year NBPCA business plan. Building upon learning’s in the first two membership years, during the third year, the Association will evolve its strategy and direction to continue to drive a positive environment for network branded prepaid cards. The NBPCA recently launched a search for a permanent President and Executive Director with the experiences and leadership to help the Association achieve its potential in the years to come. The search is being conducted by a search committee appointed by the Board of Directors.

“Over the past two years the NBPCA has been a strong driver promoting an advantageous network branded prepaid card marketplace,” said Aggarwal. “Productive organizations must consistently examine their approach and direction to ensure the most effective path is being followed. The NBPCA has commenced a process to examine our future direction and we expect to announce several exciting changes and developments over the next few months.”

Anil D. Aggarwal’s three-year Chairmanship will conclude at the end of the current membership year on June 30, 2009 and Gary L. Palmer has been appointed Chairman-elect. He will assume the role of Chairman of the Board on July 1, 2009. After stepping down as Chairman next year, Aggarwal will remain actively involved as Founder and Chairman Emeritus.

“Gary Palmer is an esteemed industry veteran who had the foresight to understand the value and potential for network branded prepaid cards at their infancy. His experience, leadership and coalition building skills will be an enormous asset to the NBPCA when he takes over as Chairman of the Board on July 1, 2009,” said Aggarwal.

“The NBPCA has grown into an important actor in the prepaid card landscape, well positioned to continue to improve the regulatory and business climate for network branded prepaid cards for years to come. I am honored to usher in this new era as Chairman-elect of the NBPCA Board of Directors and look forward to working the with Associations’ talented staff and members to accomplish our increasingly lofty goals,” said Gary L. Palmer, NBPCA Chairman-elect.

About the NBPCA

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) is a nonprofit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth and success of network branded prepaid cards and represents the common interests of the many players in this new and rapidly growing payment category. The NBPCA’s members include financial institutions, card organizations, processors, program managers, marketing and incentive companies, card distributors and law firms. The NBPCA’s Working Groups drive the activities of the Association for its more than 35 members. For additional information, visit www.NBPCA.com.

Network Branded Prepaid Card Association
Jennifer Tramontana, 303-929-9636
Director of Communications
jennifer@nbpca.com