Community financial institutions build better communities

Vibrant communities, whether located in small towns, suburbia or big-city neighborhoods, inspire our story. Community financial institutions strengthen and improve the local community. They’re the foundation of the American dream with ideals of opportunity, equality and independence for success and prosperity.

How it all started

Our story began in 1975 when a group of Midwest community banks realized their future was threatened by large, regional savings and loans. The community banks needed to find a way to access the same technology as the big banks and control an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) system.

In response, the Iowa Bankers Association created an EFT task force to develop a solution. This enabled a group of minds to come together and formulate much more than an EFT network; the foundation of SHAZAM was created.

At the center of this task force was Dale Dooley. Dale was a craftsman, by trade a bricklayer and carpenter, who later worked as a computer programmer. Dale had a passion for the banking industry and a strong vision for the payments system.

The task force understood the ins and outs of how transactions were handled, along with the ability to join the technical aspects with consumer behavior. The collaboration led to new thinking and new solutions.

In 1976, the task force began development of the first shared EFT network in the nation and revolutionized the industry in the process with a single-message system. The functional and design specifications of the single-message system were freely shared among national and international industry players and is still the industry model today.

Shaping the industry and advocating tirelessly

In 1981, SHAZAM became the first in the world to implement and operate an integrated point-of-sale (POS) pilot program.

Our trend of industry leadership continued in 1986 with the introduction of fuel pump terminals that allowed cardholders to purchase fuel with their ATM cards. Three years later, SHAZAM partnered with the state of Iowa and piloted the first Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program in the country to successfully integrate with a public-sector EFT system.

In the late 90’s, a national card association increased participation fees. In response, SHAZAM formed ITS Bank and serves as a principal member of the association, saving our participants millions of dollars every year.

The decade that followed offered an explosion of technology, a shift in consumer behavior and new waves of industry regulations. SHAZAM continues to stay at the forefront by providing digital solutions, advocacy, proactive fraud prevention and security services, marketing support and a core solution.

Dale’s character lives in each of us

Dale Dooley remained SHAZAM president / CEO for over 25 years. Our founder’s family members continue to work within the walls of our organization today.

SHAZAM remains member-owned, independent and doing what’s right for our participants and not for shareholder profits. Our nonprofit culture means we work to save our members money and reinvest in a future that nurtures their success.

Today, we deliver a portfolio of products and services that pave the way for community financial institutions to lend, serve, employ and prosper. Access to cost-effective, top-notch technology provides our participants a level playing field with the big institutions.

We’ve dedicated top resources to government relations, advocacy efforts and strategic association partnerships. SHAZAM continues to expand and invest in the network coast-to-coast, maintaining a commitment of flexibility.

Prepared for a bright future

We’re on course with an unprecedented investment into innovation, research and development to deliver solutions that protect the future of community financial institutions. We’re preparing for the next generation of consumers, ensuring our participants have the products and services they demand and expect, in a cost effective way.