Business Profile February 11, 2001
Location: 949 E. 36th Ave., Anchorage
Major focus of services: Alaska Option Services Corp. provides shared electronic funds transfer services for automated teller machines and point of sale transactions around the state.
History of the company: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union and seven other financial institutions pooled their resources to form Alaska Option in an effort to build a statewide network of ATM machines. In 1986 Alaska Option, National Bank of Alaska and Carrs Quality Centers developed one of the first regional point of sale programs, which allowed customers to buy groceries using electronic funds transfer services. Later that year NBA joined Alaska Option after the financial institutions had previously been competing against one another.
In 1997 Alaska Option worked with the state of Alaska to act as a designated agent for electronic distribution of social service benefits via a card.
The company has continued to grow during its tenure.
Today Alaska Option employs a full-time staff of 15 and is governed by a seven-member board of directors. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union holds 51 percent ownership in Alaska Option, and other shareholders include Credit Union 1, Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, Fort Wainwright Federal Credit Union, Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union and NBA.
In 2000 the Alaska Option network processed 19.2 million transactions. Across Alaska 362 ATMs participate in the Alaska Option network.
Top accomplishment of the company: "Our biggest accomplishment has been the ability to maintain large participation and to continue to grow," said John Shipe, Alaska Option president and chief executive.
Major player: John Shipe, president and chief executive, Alaska Option Services Corp.
Shipe’s new employer, NBA, transferred him to Alaska in 1979. He started as a project leader at the bank and was promoted several times, eventually serving as executive vice president and head of the information technology department 18 years later. Since 1996 Shipe has served as president and chief executive for Alaska Option.
-- Nancy Pounds