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MADISON, Wis. – CUNA Network Services is making a serious dent in its goal of attaining $5 million worth of investments from outside organizations. Austin, Texas-based IT firm SchlumbergerSema announced that it was partnering with CNS and investing $400,000 in the company. SchlumbergerSema specializes in payment and security-related smart card-based solutions. It will assist CNS in bringing smart-card solutions to credit unions, one of CNS’ stated goals. “The initial interest we’re getting is based on security aspects,” said CNS SVP of Business Development Doug Benzine. Benzine said smart cards would be used to give CU employees access to buildings and CU networks. On the member side, they can be used for securing access to online transactional systems such as Internet banking. After the events of Sept. 11, smart card proponents said now more than ever smart cards should play a role in securing facilities and confirming identities. CNS has already gone through one smart card pilot. Benzine said SchlumbergerSema will help it solve one of the main frustrations pilot participants had – difficulty installing the smart card readers. With participants running different operating systems, install problems flourished. SchlumbergerSema’s new e-gate technology is basically a smart card and reader in one. It enables a smart card to be plugged directly into a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port that most of today’s PCs come configured with. No card reader, separate power supply, or driver software is needed, said Benzine. Benzine is well aware of the problems in smart card adoption, but said in surveying CUs CNS discovered that they are interested in using them as secure access devices. This is the second major IT partner already this month for CNS. EDS partnered with CNS for online banking and future online solutions, such as online lending. EDS invested $750,000 in CNS. Shortly thereafter two credit union leagues invested in CNS. The California League invested $250,000 and the Colorado league $50,000. That gives CNS $1.45 million in investments in about a month. CNS’ goal is $5 million. For SchlumbergerSema (www.slb.com), this was as an opportunity to get in on the burgeoning credit union market. “We looked at the industry, it is growing. There’s a lot of momentum in the space,” said Jeremy Drzal, market manager for SchlumbergerSema, e-payments solutions. SchlumbergerSema is a business segment of the venerable Schlumberger Limited, a 70-year old global company with more than 30,000 employees in 130 countries. It specializes in oil and gas production, telecommunications, utilities, finance and transport. It is served by Schlumberger Employees’ CU in Sugar Land, Texas. CNS was formed in July through the combination of Sunstar IP Communications and the e-com assets of CUNA Strategic Services, Inc., which owns 38% of CNS. Credit union leagues own 49% of CSSI. [email protected]

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