The automated corporate payments world is too vast to be dominated by a single bank, and for U.S. Bank that means a strategy of collaboration and standardization is the best way to grab share. "We can go to market alone and get a bigger piece of a smaller pie. But we want a smaller piece of a larger pie globally," says Rob Abele, svp and president of corporate payments services for U.S. Bank. "No one bank is ever going to own the [corporate] payments space. It's $67 trillion in payables globally and $17 trillion in the U.S."

To capture its pie, U.S. Bank has partnered with Visa to create Syncada, a joint venture to provide a global financial supply chain network that combines U.S. Bank's electronic payment technology and Visa's global relationships. The new venture aims to build what the two firms hope will be an international network of institutions that offer standardized e-payments. It's a challenging task - automated payments is a competitive game prone to proprietary systems.

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