Western Union Opens 200,000th Agent LocationDate: Tuesday, August 31, 2004
ATHENS, Greece -- Western Union Financial Services
Inc. together with its subsidiary Orlandi Valuta today announced the opening
of its 200,000th global agent location with a ceremony in Athens, Greece. A
wholly owned subsidiary of First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), Western Union
celebrated this business milestone by hosting two Olympic medal winning Greek
athletes, Hrysopiyi Devetzi and Ilias Iliadis. Devetzi took a silver medal in
the triple jump and set a national record in the early rounds of competition.
Iliadis captured the gold in judo, the first Greek in history to do so.
Together Western Union and its subsidiary Orlandi Valuta make up one of the
world's largest money transfer networks, with Agent locations in more than 195
countries and territories -- more than four times the total number of
McDonald's, Starbucks and Carrefour locations combined.
Devetzi and Iliadis joined Western Union President Christina Gold at the
new Agent location on Omonia Square. This location is one of seven opened
simultaneously in Athens by Christopher C. Varvias & Associates S.A., which
operates a network of nearly 600 Western Union Agent locations throughout
"Western Union is dedicated to serving its customers in the communities
where they live and work. Reaching 200,000 Agent locations is a significant
milestone not only for us, but we are yet another step closer to making it
even more convenient for our customers to find us where they need us," said
Gold. "What better way to commemorate this significant business
accomplishment than by joining with these athletes to celebrate their
"I am thrilled to be here to celebrate the tremendous achievements of
Greek athletics and Western Union," said Devetzi. "With its significant
presence here in Greece and around the world, Western Union is meeting an
important need for the millions of people who are supporting their families
The expansion of the Western Union Agent network demonstrates the
continued international growth of this First Data business. The Payments
Services division of First Data, which includes Western Union, contributes
nearly 40 percent of the company's revenues. It also reinforces First Data's
leadership in seamlessly and securely moving money around the world. As a
global company, First Data anticipates that approximately one-third of its
total revenues will be derived from international operations by 2007.
"Nestled in the heart of Southeastern Europe, Greece is an important
marketplace for both Western Union and First Data," said Constantine Varvias,
managing director-Christopher C. Varvias & Associates S.A., one of the major
Western Union Agents in Greece. "We are delighted that here in Athens where
the Olympic spirit was born and traveled throughout the world, that Western
Union celebrates the opening of its 200,000th Agent location. This is
symbolic of the company's commitment to growing the business here and beyond
the Greek borders by continuing to meet the needs of a very diverse consumer
This announcement underscores First Data's commitment to the international
marketplace, specifically Southeastern Europe. In July 2004, it completed the
acquisition of Delta Singular Outsourcing Services, an Athens based company
that provides payment-processing services throughout Greece, the Middle East
and the Balkans. The acquisition marked one of the largest foreign
investments in the Greek marketplace in the past three years, which added 900
employees to the First Data family and two offices in Greece.
According to the United Nations, more than 175 million people live outside
their country of birth. First Data and Western Union recognize that the
ability to send money home to friends and loved ones quickly, reliably and
conveniently is an essential need to be met. First Data addresses this need
by providing fast, secure and reliable payment solutions to millions of
businesses and consumers worldwide. Western Union completed 81 million
consumer-to-consumer money transfers transactions in 2003.
About Western Union Financial Services, Inc. and First Data
Western Union Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of First Data Corp.
(NYSE: FDC), is an international leader in consumer money transfer services.
Consumers can quickly and reliably pay bills and transfer money around the
globe using the company's proprietary money transfer network. Western Union
and its subsidiary, Orlandi Valuta, together make up one of the world's
largest money transfer networks with approximately 200,000 Agent locations in
more than 195 countries and territories. Famous for its pioneering telegraph
service, the original Western Union dates back to 1851 and introduced
electronic money transfer service in 1871. For more information, please visit
the company's Web site at .
First Data Corp., with global headquarters in Denver, helps power the
global economy. Serving approximately 3.5 million merchant locations, 1,400
card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easy, fast and
secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually
any form of payment: credit, debit, private-label smart card, stored-value
card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money transfer.
For more information, please visit the company's Web site at
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