Industry veteran Emmet Seibels started with what he considered to be a proven template for success when he founded FrontStream Payments Inc. in 2007. He had a versatile skill set and wanted to create a company that combined the most innovative, reliable and secure payment solutions with an unparalleled level of service.
Today Seibels, who graduated from the Honors College at the University of Mississippi and received his MBA degree from Harvard University, is Chairman of the Board of FrontStream Payments. He believes his experience gave him the practical knowledge to establish the company he had envisioned, with support services for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) that are difficult for competing companies to match.
"FrontStream Payments offers one of the most supportive processing environments available today for sales agents and ISOs," Seibels said. "We've invested heavily in technology, so our in-house systems and services provide instant access to boarding and account management resources. Plus, we have a payment gateway that helps agents and ISOs get access to new markets via software integration opportunities."
When formerly employed at Verus Financial Management Inc., Seibels was in charge of acquisitions and business development. In this role, he helped Verus acquire seven companies using $45 million in equity capital. While at Verus, Seibels also created a strategy for purchasing agent residuals while securing contractual commitments for new business from agents. This plan created 20 percent of Verus' earnings the year before its 2006 sale to Sage Group PLC for $325 million. Before the sale, Seibels had acquisition or portfolio-purchase discussions with over 100 ISOs and MLSs and executed over 20 portfolio purchases (residual purchases) from MLSs.
Nina Vellayan, Chief Executive Officer and President of FrontStream, oversees all day-to-day operations, strategic planning and business development. Before joining FrontStream, Vellayan was the CEO and Executive Vice President at Tier Technologies Inc., a provider of electronic payment solutions in the biller-direct market. Prior to that, Vellayan was President of Business Office Solutions, a division of Sallie Mae Inc. Vellayan is a Certified Treasury Professional and member of the National Automated Clearing House Association. She earned an MBA degree in financial management and a BS degree in economics from the University of Maryland.
FrontStream provides payment processing services to merchants in the United States and Canada. It has operations centers in the Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Nashville, Tenn. and Seattle areas. "The business strengths of the company include many years of legacy experience, a personalized front-facing approach, and leading edge technologies that are joined by fail safe, back-end redundancy for underwriting, risk, PCI support, technical support and customer service," said Aaron Slominski, Senior Vice President of ISO Channels. "We have fast, 100 percent secure and compliant product offerings and the best economics that the payment processing industry offers."
Faster transactions via high-speed connections and full-service software integration have helped FrontStream establish strategic relationships, many with globally known merchant brands. Through these strategic relationships, FrontStream has assisted its partners in serving clients through 10,000-plus participating merchants, resulting in a volume of $2.3 billion processed annually.
Slominski said that because many of its executives have worked as ISOs or MLSs, the company has a very "ISO centric mentality." He added that FrontStream has services available to its ISOs and MLSs that the management team had only dreamed about when they were working as the feet on the street themselves. Most of the company's services are available in-house, keeping FrontStream Payments' costs low, while making marketing and technology assistance easily accessible to its ISOs and agents, he noted.
"FrontStream Payments is an extremely reliable partner for sales offices who want to grow their business without the typical headaches associated with our industry," said Michael A. DeFilippo, Vice President, Operations for Ladera Business Solutions. "The entire organization treats their partners with respect and has the knowledge to resolve issues in a timely manner. ... Their knowledge, honesty and professionalism are top notch."
FrontStream reported that its offerings for ISOs and MLSs include competitive merchant account boarding in all business sectors, unique automated boarding tools, proprietary and state-of-the-art gateway technology, hosted electronic payment technologies for card-not-present transactions, in-house software integration services and in-house Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance and customer service teams.
The company's back-office functions include risk management, equipment deployment, file builds and PIN encryption. In addition, ISOs and MLSs have the ability to offer merchants chain reporting and online reporting for transaction viewing and monthly statements.
A sales hotline is available for customer support, and technical support teams are also available if an ISO or MLS has a question about gateway integration, terminal downloads, or desires additional information about products and services. Also, merchants can be offered next-day settlement on any of FrontStream's First Data Corp. platforms, which include First Data-Nashville, First Data-Omaha, First Data-North and First Data-Bypass. Other processing platforms include those offered by Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC and Total System Services Inc.
FrontStream developed its proprietary gateway and back-end office technologies in-house and has PCI-compliant solutions that are patent pending. The company has expertise in both card-present and card-not-present transactions, something it considers a rare blend for the majority of acquirers.
In addition, FrontStream's Fast Transact management team is available for help with closing a deal or troubleshooting situations that require immediate resolution. For fast approval, Fast Transact accepts low- to moderately high-risk businesses, as well as placement for most high-risk accounts. Most accounts are approved within 24 hours of submission with the required documentation.
"We have processing relationships on multiple payment platforms; therefore we're one of the most diverse and nimble mid-market ISOs in the payments market today," Slominski said. "These partnerships enable us to expertly offer competitively priced and attractively packaged merchant boarding solutions to everyone from niche industry sectors to single-merchant customers."
"FrontStream Payments provides real opportunities for highly ethical, motivated ISO/agents who are interested in expanding their career as a reputable representative of the bank card industry," Slominski said.
FrontStream Payments is aware of the importance of providing an attractive package for ISOs and MLSs in this competitive market. Slominski believes FrontStream's package comes with impressive income potential and cutting-edge tools, products and support.
Compensation includes competitive pricing and rates, a lifetime residual program and revenue-sharing programs, Slominski pointed out. FrontStream also offers merchant portfolio reporting, as well as the possibility of in-house lead generation, referral opportunities and the chance to attend the FrontStream Payments' ISO/Agents University training program.
FrontStream's management team knows that conscientious salespeople in the payments industry want to be up to date on activities associated with their merchant accounts. That's why it developed FrontStream Payments' Suntari solution. FrontStream designed Suntari to be fast and easy to allow ISOs and MLSs more time to build quality relationships with their clients and prospects.
With Suntari, ISOs and agents have instant, real-time access to their entire merchant database from the date of entry, throughout the life cycle of the relationship. ISOs and MLSs also have instant email notification when a note is made on the merchant record or if an account is pending, placed on underwriting hold, approved or declined, and so forth.
A dashboard keeps stats on ISO and MLS monthly volume, deals, residuals and other important data. Online residual reporting takes place in multiple formats in a paperless tracking environment, with a repository of useful forms and tools, including an intuitive interface for uploading along with relevant tools, documents and consolidated monthly merchant billing, FrontStream noted.
The company is committed to advancing its offerings while maintaining its focus on service to ISOs, MLSs and merchants. Its current growth is happening via strategic acquisitions and internal initiatives. The company has attained significant capital resources and is actively seeking partnerships with select ISOs and top-performing sales professionals. "We are dedicated to making smart resource investments to ensure our merchants receive the most innovative payment solutions in the marketplace," Slominski said.
FrontStream's seasoned leadership team members are committed to the company's longevity and growth. They believe FrontStream delivers innovative, secure payment processing solutions that will continue to make it an attractive partner for affiliates, distribution partners and merchants. They also believe FrontStream Payments is well-positioned to pursue and support an expanded merchant portfolio. Thus, the company is actively recruiting sales talent and is ready to work with motivated individuals who are eager to set the pace for the next generation of payment processing.
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