Slideshow As the U.S. Speeds Up Payments, Keep Your Eyes on These People

Published
  • July 30 2015, 7:30am EDT
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The nation's Federal Reserve Banks have kicked off a multi-year process aimed at speeding up our often painfully slow payment system. Earlier this month, a Fed task force on the issue elected a steering committee that will play a key role in defining a path forward. The 19 members on the steering committee represent various parts of the payments ecosystem, including banking giants, corporations like Walmart that are large users of the payment system, and payment innovators like Dwolla and Ripple Labs. Here's a look at 13 of them.

Wanda Chambers, Suncoast Credit Union

Chambers is senior vice president of payments services at Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union in Tampa, Fla. Suncoast is seen as a leader in innovation, being one of the first to implement image exchange for check clearing and to develop and deploy envelope-free deposits at its ATMs. Chambers has been involved with the Fed task force since 2013. She also has a seat on the board of regional payments association EastPay.

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Mitch Christensen, Wells Fargo

Mitch Christensen is an executive vice president of payments strategy at Wells Fargo. The megabank was an early adopter of the enterprise approach — in which a bank makes it the whole company's business to innovate, not just one team's — in payments. Previously, he was executive vice president for the commercial services group, which includes automated clearing house, disbursement operations, remittance processing and wire transfer operations. He has been with the company for more than 35 years.

John Drechny, Wal-Mart

Drechny is responsible for network and acquiring relationships and core processing for electronic transactions at Walmart. He has been with the company since 1998, having held various positions across marketing, financial services and treasury. Drechny is chairman of the EMV Migration Forum steering committee and vice chairman of the merchant advisory group, a member of Visa's executive risk forum, MasterCard's point of interaction group and Discover's merchant advisory council.

Janet Estep, NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association

Jan Estep is president and CEO of NACHA, the Washington-based trade group that writes the rules for the ACH Network. NACHA moves $39 trillion in electronic payments on a yearly basis. Previously, she was executive vice president of U.S. Bank's transaction services division. Estep was one of PaymentsSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments in 2013 and 2014.

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Peter Gordon, FIS

Peter Gordon is senior vice president of payment network solutions at payments technology provider FIS. The company's businesses include payment processors New York Currency Exchange, Armed Forces Financial Network and PayNet, among others. Gordon was previously a partner at mobile banking and payments strategy company eCom Advisors, which FIS acquired in 2010.

Mark Keeling, The Bankers Bank

Mark Keeling is chief operating officer of The Bankers Bank, where he has worked since 1988. He has been on the boards of the ABA, The Independent Community Bankers of America and Oklahoma Bankers Association and worked with other industry groups including NACHA, the Federal Reserve and Electronic Check Clearing House Organization.

Jordan Lampe, Dwolla

Lampe is the communications director for mobile and online payments network Dwolla, but in his five years there he has worked on many payments initiatives like Dwolla FiSync, a real-time payments platform for integration with banks. "A tech approach is going to be the best way to marry the existing stakeholders to the market expectations of faster payments," Lampe said in an interview last month. "Among all the traditional technology players, emerging tech is going to play a pivotal role."

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Steve Ledford, The Clearing House

Ledford is a senior vice president of product and strategy at The Clearing House. Previously he was a partner at financial services consulting firm Novantas. Before that he helped lead McKinsey's global payments practice, and he was president of consulting firm Global Concepts, which specializes in payments and cash management strategies. He has advised banks and the financial services industry on payments for more than 30 years.

Bob Steen, Bridge Community Bank

Steen is the CEO of Bridge Community Bank in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he has worked for more than 30 years, and was a vocal proponent of speeding up banks transfers well before the idea caught on widely among banks. "I think it's already happening that people are migrating to options outside the banking system," he told American Banker this year. "We know for sure there's an important segment that's making payments without us, and we can't just acquiesce to that."

Christina Tetreault, Consumers Union

Christina Tetreault is a staff attorney on the Financial Services Program team at Consumers Union, a nonprofit organization focused on consumer protection laws. Her expertise is in payments with a particular interest in emerging payments like virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. Tetreault previously worked in corporate sales for a major retailer.

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Thomas Rea, U.S. Bank

Thomas Rea is executive vice president and manager of U.S. Bancorp's transaction processing services division. He is also vice chairman of the TCH Payments Co. board.

Susan Weinstock, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Susan Weinstock is director of consumer banking at Pew Charitable Trusts. Her team is dedicated to improving the safety and security of consumer banking problems and informing public policy on the matter. She was previously the financial reform campaign director at the Consumer Federation of America and before that held a number of different positions at AARP working on campaigns to save consumers billions on utility bills.

Ryan Zagone, Ripple Labs

Ryan Zagone is head of research at Ripple Labs, the developer of the Ripple protocol for decentralized, cross-border value transfer (a system that resembles one of the hypothetical scenarios described in the Fed's white paper). He previously developed retail bank and payments strategy at Deloitte and began his career doing regulatory and economics research at the American Bankers Association.