Western Payments Alliance has elected Janet B. Nugent, senior vice president of Sanwa Bank California, as chairman for 1998.

Western Payments Alliance, known as Wespay, is the automated clearing house association representing 1,200 financial institutions in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Guam.

In other elections:

Peter Cowger was chosen as vice chairman. He is senior vice president of World Savings and Loan Association.

Daniel Hoke, senior vice president, Wells Fargo & Co., was elected secretary.

Dennis Toda, product manager for Western Corporate Federal Credit Union, was elected treasurer.

Peter Yeatrakas will remain president and chief executive officer.

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