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Letter from the MAG Board Chair (MAG Quarterly- Volume Four, Issue Two)

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By John Drechny, MAG Board Chairman & Senior Director of Payments Services, Walmart


June 2, 2016

MAG Members,

As most of you heard at our 2016 Mid-Year conference, I had the great honor of being elected Chair of the Merchant Advisory Group by the hardest working board in the payment industry.  For those of you whom I have not had the opportunity to meet, let me give you a brief background:  18 years at Walmart with 12 of those in various payment roles, 4 year board member of the Merchant Advisory Group, Chair of the EMV Migration Steering committee and Steering committee member of the Federal Reserve Faster Payment Task Force.  My goal as Chair of the Merchant Advisory group is to serve you, our members, by listening to industry issues and using the voice of the Merchant Advisory Group to effect positive change. 

We have a lot to be proud of over the last several years, as we have continued to grow our membership base as well as expanding our staff.  Our educational programs, conference attendance and member ratings have increased significantly.  Members frequently express that the MAG is the one place they count on to receive accurate information that is clearly focused from a merchant’s perspective.

This progress has been made possible by a great leadership team at the MAG and, most importantly, you.  Countless members freely volunteer their precious time to make our industry better.  I believe we are in a transformational time in payments.  Now is the time for merchants to get involved and make sure the industry includes all stakeholders as part of the decision making process.  It is important that each of us find a way to contribute to ensure our voices are as loud as possible during this change.  I would be happy to talk with any member who is looking for a way to contribute and help them get plugged in to the initiative they have the greatest passion in supporting. 

Together we can change the way our industry works and make it better for our mutual customers.   Through my participation in various industry forums, I have noticed a significant change in how merchants are perceived.  It’s our collective job to take this moment and make the most of it.  I envision an ecosystem that creates change through collaboration and consideration of all involved.

Let me give you one quick example of how this looks when it is done right.  At the start of EMV, the MAG was a leader at making sure merchants received equal representation in the discussion around how debit would be implemented in the U.S.  Through this effort, the Common AID was developed which enabled merchants to reach all networks on the debit card without requiring 13 different implementations.  This has allowed merchants to maintain their debit routing choices as the networks required merchants to implement new hardware and software.  It was not an easy battle but hopefully you are receiving the rewards of having networks compete for your debit business because the merchant’s voice is being heard. 

 We can and will make a difference and I look forward to shaping the future with you.

Happy to serve,

John Drechny
John.drechny@walmart.com
479-277-2528