Report from NACHA: Faster Payments get Banking Moving

Karen Redwood

Karen Redwood is the Head of Payments Strategy & Partnerships at WePay. With over 20 years in payments experience, her prior role was managing Payments for North & South America at PayPal. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the University of Texas MBA program.

I recently attended the Payments 2019 conference for the first time in 4 years. NACHA is the organization that sets rules and standards for financial messaging and administers the ACH network. Payments has always been my favorite conference because it meets the intended purpose with good educational content, has excellent speakers and a true sense of the industry dynamics is shared. The primary participants at the conference are financial institutions big and small, corporate customers and all the processing partners that move money along bank rails.

Six years ago at the conference, I sat in a session of Q&A with the Federal Reserve as they were soliciting feedback on the Same Day ACH initiative. Big banks were really concerned about losing revenue and about changing architecture on legacy systems. Small banks were also worried. And corporate customers really wanted the banks to improve.

Fast forward to 2019 where several phases of Same Day ACH have been launched and there were multiple sessions showcasing how a variety of customers have really used this enhancement to their advantage. And while the Federal Reserve is also looking at Faster Payments, they are continuing to focus on Same Day ACH by decreasing the hours between origination and settlement, increasing the number of windows available in a day and increasing the size of transactions. Of course, all of this takes time but it’s really exciting to see how the banks and processing entities are driving forward to the goals of increasing the speed of payments and payment security.

One Faster Payments initiative I’m very excited about is Real Time Payments through The Clearing House. We’re working hard to get this tee’d up for our customers as soon as we can. The ability to send our merchants their funds in a real time way is super exciting. We know they need it and we’re going to deliver with the power of JPMorgan Chase.

After Zelle won the award for Excellence in Payments, I was reminded of my coffee addiction. With the rise of Starbucks in your local neighborhood, everyone thought that the small mom/pop coffee shops would be put out of business. But that hasn’t happened. Everyone just drinks more coffee!  So whether it’s your local specialty store, or Starbucks, the increase in coffee sales has been amazing. Ditto Zelle. It’s been a phenomenal year for Zelle, but also for other P2P methods such as Venmo. P2P transactions have just increased astronomically and I’m betting that consumers are using multiple methods at the same time.

Two speakers that really grabbed my attention at the conference were JP Nichols who spoke about innovation, strategy and leadership. “Innovation is about creating value. Innovation is an act of leadership.”  He reminded the audience of how important it is to understand what your customers want and think beyond what you do today.

Second was Shabnam Mogharabi of Soul Pancake. I was not aware of Soul Pancake but I certainly am now. She shared a truly inspiring speech about the content that Soul Pancake serves and people like Kid President who are sending a positive and uplifting message to all. It reminded me and the audience about the value of humanity. And definitely took us out of the world of payments for 30 minutes!