Viewpointe Archive Services announced an agreement this week to acquire PaymentsNation to add settlement services with its clearing activities for its image exchange and archive clients.

No terms were announced, and the deal has yet to be finalized, but the ACH settlement feature within Viewpointe would create a major competitive stroke against other imaging competitors—SVPCO, Endpoint Exchange and a host of regional on-we networks—according to analysts. The acquisition builds on a strategic partnership Viewpointe formed in February with Dallas-based PaymentsNation, which was formed in 2007 with the merger of the National Clearing House Association and Payments Resource One. Gaining PaymentsNation also installs Viewpointe as a voting member within Nacha, the electronics payments association and ACH rule-making body.

“The transaction with PaymentsNation is a logical step for Viewpointe, enabling convergence of clearing and settlement functions that are essential to the payments process for institutions of all sizes,” says Viewpointe CEO Lou Buglioli.

“Depending on how far they take this, if they actually start doing some of the processing as opposed to doing just the settlement, they could present a challenge to, say, a Pariter Solutions,” says Andy Schmidt, a research director in global payments with TowerGroup. “It effectively creates a huge number of FIs who could do on-we settling at much lower prices.”

Pariter is the forthcoming ACH processing joint venture between Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and one which has garnered some debate on whether the diversion of the two banks’ ACH volume means higher processing costs for smaller institutions using the Federal Reserve or the Electronic Payment Network unit of The Clearing House Payments Co.  

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